About

Mission

The mission of the Center for the Humanities is to recognize and support the humanities at Western Michigan University. As a gathering place for dialogue, the center acts as an incubator for the exchange of ideas among faculty, emeriti, alumni, undergraduate and graduate students, and people in the wider community. Through the understanding of diverse cultural, professional, political and intellectual landscapes, we nurture engaged and vital academic life.

About the humanities

The humanities provide fundamental intellectual resources for exploring the issues of our day. Rooted in diverse perspectives, the humanities comprise the classics, languages, literature, philosophy, ethics, history, jurisprudence, religion, archaeology and cultural studies, as well as the social sciences, such as cultural anthropology, economics, geography, political science and sociology. They also have close links to the study of visual and performing arts, the sciences, engineering, business and health sciences. Moreover, the humanities cross disciplinary boundaries, taking up questions about the meaning of human existence that transcend the thinking of any single field of study. 

The deep wellsprings of humanities scholarship have long been honored in higher education, but are too often neglected, taken for granted, or regarded as the self-sufficient domains of academic specialists. Within the culture of the University, we all stand to gain from successful measures to encourage, encounter, and learn from the many forms of humanities scholarship that, as a learning community, we are able to share. A university culture that opens such pathways of appreciative understanding will both nurture diverse particular strands of scholarship in the humanities and enhance formation of connections across the university, with our students, and in our wider community.

Advisory board

  • Peter Bickle, Department of World Languages and Literatures
  • Sandra Borden, Department of Communications
  • James Cousins, Department of History
  • Lofton Durham, Department of Theatre
  • Paul Farber, Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies
  • Tyler Gibb, Medical Ethics, Humanities and Law, Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine
  • Lynne Heasley, Departments of History and Environmental and Sustainability Studies
  • Katherine Joslin, Department of English
  • Carla Koretsky, Lee Honors College
  • Mary Lagerway, Bronson School of Nursing
  • Timothy Light, Professor Emeritus, Department of Comparative Religion
  • Deborah Lindstrom, Department of Occupational Therapy
  • Dini Metro-Roland, Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies
  • Ann Miles, Department of Sociology
  • Natalio Ohanna, Department of Spanish
  • Alisa Perkins, Department of Comparative Religion
  • Kathy Purnell, Office of the Vice President for Research
  • David Rudge, Department of Biological Sciences
  • Cynthia Running-Johnson, Department of World Languages and Literatures
  • Mary-Louise Totton, Frostic School of Art
  • Mercedes Tubino-Blanco, Department of Spanish
  • Brian Wilson, Department of Comparative Religion
  • Kristina Wirtz, Department of Anthropology