This summer, about two dozen scholars from across the country assembled at the Northeastern campus to participate in a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute exploring “Space, Place, and the Humanities.” The NEH awarded the Northeastern Humanities Center this unique opportunity to host the event through its Summer Seminars and Institutes grant program.
“As a central address for interdisciplinary and collaborative faculty research, the Northeastern Humanities Center was honored to sponsor our first NEH Summer Institute, which gathered faculty from across disciplines and from around the country for a seminar on Space and Place,” said Ruderman Professor of Jewish Studies Lori Lefkovitz, the director of the Northeastern Humanities Center and a professor of English. “Our Northeastern University faculty leaders brought expertise in the subject area and in digital, public, experiential, and traditional humanistic theory and methodology and recruited distinguished visiting scholars to provide participants with a deep, enriching learning experience.”
“Participants valued the high level of discussion, the experiential learning that characterizes Northeastern, the gracious hospitality of our institution, especially from our accommodating and effective Humanities Center staff, and expressed satisfaction with how much they learned that will enhance their own teaching and research.”
– Lori Lefkovitz, Director of the Northeastern Humanities Center
The three-week institute was co- directed by Northeastern Professor of English Elizabeth Dillon and Trinity College Professor of American Studies Tim Cresswell (Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs), with Northeastern Associate Professor of Art + Design Sarah Kanouse as the institute’s associate director. The program focused on the newly-emerging, interdisciplinary field of geohumanities and the role that analytic methods take at the intersection of geography, history, literature, social justice, and the creative arts. The curriculum blended class sessions, films, workshops, and field trips around Boston, including a geohumanist tour of the Museum of Fine Arts, a public art exhibit at Government Center, and an exploration of the Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library.
At the Black Heritage Trail with @NEHgov Summer Institute @Northeastern on #spaceandplace17 pic.twitter.com/qDpDdJBydf
— Erich Hatala Matthes (@ehatmat) July 25, 2017
Women as allegorical figures of arts and sciences just not actual artists and scientists#spaceandplace17 #publicart pic.twitter.com/fAE2mCT0zk
— Annie Dell’Aria (@annerD23) July 30, 2017
Thinking through landscapes at the Boston #MuseumOfFineArts and it’s alternatives #spaceandplace17 pic.twitter.com/I17urlbUNS
— Genevieve Carpio (@gwen1013) July 28, 2017
“By using the city of Boston as classroom, this Institute introduces college and university faculty across the country to the experiential, place-based learning that is distinctively Northeastern,” explained Kanouse, who is also CAMD’s Interdisciplinary Arts MFA Coordinator. “Faculty in CAMD and CSSH are deeply engaged in research and creative work informed by the dynamic body of interdisciplinary scholarship on space and place. That such an accomplished group of scholars from across the country are here to learn to incorporate space and place in their research affirms Northeastern’s commitment to interdisciplinary and leadership in spatial thinking.”
By the end of the institute, all participants had a greater understanding of spatial thinking that they can now bring back into their classrooms and their research agendas.
“Participants valued the high level of discussion, the experiential learning that characterizes Northeastern, the gracious hospitality of our institution, especially from our accommodating and effective Humanities Center staff, and expressed satisfaction with how much they learned that will enhance their own teaching and research,” said Lefkovitz.
Thank you, #spaceandplace17 for an intense, but wonderful NEH Summer Institute. A fitting view just before departure. #deerisland @NEHgov pic.twitter.com/61ZSt88oua
— Anika Walke (@Anika_Walke) August 12, 2017
A photo album from the institute is available here.