1. On Tuesday, February 9, National Humanities Center president and director Robert Newman joined Lloyd Kramer from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Victoria Gallagher from North Carolina State University to discuss the humanities’ future as part of a town hall meeting. The event, held at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC, and moderated by retired philosophy professor Clay Stalnaker, drew an engaged crowd who challenged the participants about the role of the humanities in an environment that has become increasingly concerned with financial outcomes from academic activities, technologically-focused, and oriented toward the concerns of the individual rather than the common good. Drawing on examples from the writings of Thucydides, the sermons of Martin Luther King, Jr., the plays of Samuel Beckett and many, many others, Newman, Kramer, and Gallagher insisted on the humanities importance for addressing the complex challenges of the twenty-first century, for preparing students for life regardless of their academic interests and professional aspirations, and especially for leaders and citizens in a democratic society.

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  2. On Tuesday, February 9, National Humanities Center president and director Robert Newman joined Lloyd Kramer from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Victoria Gallagher from North Carolina State University to discuss the humanities’ future as part of a town hall meeting. The event, held at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC, and moderated by retired philosophy professor Clay Stalnaker, drew an engaged crowd who challenged the participants about the role of the humanities in an environment that has become increasingly concerned with financial outcomes from academic activities, technologically-focused, and oriented toward the concerns of the individual rather than the common good. Drawing on examples from the writings of Thucydides, the sermons of Martin Luther King, Jr., the plays of Samuel Beckett and many, many others, Newman, Kramer, and Gallagher insisted on the humanities importance for addressing the complex challenges of the twenty-first century, for preparing students for life regardless of their academic interests and professional aspirations, and especially for leaders and citizens in a democratic society.

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  3. In the early nineties, a certain cohort of dissident, non-conforming girls turned to self-publishing to express their deep dissatisfaction with conservative reaffirmations of normative femininity. Calling themselves “Riot Grrrls” after several influential all-girl punk bands, they crafted handmade publications known as “zines” in order to voice their disaffection and to think through alternative ways of being in the world. Despite their own fairly small numbers and the fact that they reproduced their zines in limited fashion, these young women quickly caught the attention of the mainstream media, cultural commentators, and a range of academics and librarians alike. Within ten years, at least three major collections of girl zines had been collected at places like Smith College, Barnard College, and Duke University. This lecture explores the significance of girls’ self-publishing efforts, the complex reasons for their zines’ quick assimilation into legitimate cultural institutions, and the political benefits and drawbacks to this kind of memorialization.

    Janice Radway is the Walter Dill Scott Professor of Communication Studies and a professor of American Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northwestern University. She is also Professor Emerita of Literature at Duke University. Radway is widely known for her scholarship on readers, reading, books, and the history of middlebrow culture. Among her books on these topics are "Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Popular Literature" (1984, 1991), and "A Feeling for Books: The Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle Class Desire" (1999). In 2011 she received the Carl Bode-Norman Holmes Pearson Prize for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to American Studies. As the 2015–16 Founders’ Fellow at the National Humanities Center, she is working on a book project, "Girls and Their Zines in Motion: Selfhood and Sociality in the 1990s".

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  4. The soldier monuments that began to proliferate across northern and southern communities during the 1860s differed sharply from antebellum American commemorations. The emergence of this cultural form partly reflected patterns of recruitment and death in the Civil War. Local memorial initiatives also expressed competing ideas about the legacies of the war and the extent to which military service constituted a model of citizenship.

    Thomas Brown is professor of history at the University of South Carolina, where his research focuses on the Civil War and Reconstruction period in American history and memory. He is the author of "Civil War Canon: Sites of Confederate Memory in South Carolina" (2015) and "Dorothea Dix, New England Reformer" (1998). He has also edited several books, including most recently "Remixing the Civil War: Meditations on the Sesquicentennial" (2011). As a 2015–16 Delta Delta Delta Fellow at the National Humanities Center, he is working on "The Reconstruction of American Memory: Civic Monuments of the Civil War".

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  5. China has a distinguished modern history of supporting its national heritage of traditional medical knowledge. In recent years, research has focused on traditional medicine of the minority nationalities of China. This “multicultural” process expresses particular features of Chinese state power as it engages and manages local variation. And it reveals many forms of life that escape nation-state projects. This discussion considers the relations in practice between grassroots medical institution-building and the healing powers that both inform it and evade it.

    Judith Farquhar is Max Palevsky Professor of Anthropology Emerita at the University of Chicago where her research has focused on traditional medicine, popular culture, and everyday life in contemporary China. Her books on these topics include "Ten Thousand Things: Nurturing Life in Contemporary Beijing," coauthored with Qicheng Zhang (2012); "Appetites: Food and Sex in Post-Socialist China" (2002); and "Knowing Practice: The Clinical Encounter of Chinese Medicine" (1994). As a 2015–16 Fellow at the National Humanities Center, she is working on "Gathering Medicine in the Mountains: Nation, Body, and Knowledge in China’s Ethnic South" with Peking University anthropologist Lili Lai.

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