Humanities Fair 2013

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Thursday, November 14, 2013


Ida Waldron Auditorium and Brewer-Hegeman Conference Center


University of Central Arkansas’ Humanities and World Cultures Institute announces the Fall 2013 Humanities Fair to be held on Thursday, November 14 (National Humanities Month) at Brewer-Hegeman Conference Center at UCA from 9:45 am (registration), with programs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

The Humanities Fair, supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, is open to high school students and their teachers.  It will enable students to experience a typical day attending university humanities courses.  Students will have their choice of attending sessions conducted by UCA professors in Philosophy, Religious Studies, History, English, Anthropology, African and African American Studies, World Languages, and Gender Studies.  UCA faculty will make presentations exploring the chosen theme of “A More Perfect Union."

Dr. Jacob M. Held (Philosophy) will discuss the philosophical and political foundations to the claim that our liberal, representative democracy is always in a process of becoming more perfect through the continuing dialogue between and respect for competing, reasonable conceptions of the good.  Dr. James Dietrick (Religion) explores how religious diversity helps shape who we are as Americans. He also explores how studying the religions of the world helps us learn about one another and ourselves, and thus contributes to our ongoing efforts to create “a more perfect union.”  Dr. Buck T. Foster (History) will examine the reasons why men fought in American Civil War—to end the Union or preserve it.  Dr. Wayne Stengel (English) will discuss with students Steven Spielberg’s much praised Lincoln in terms of its screenplay and screenwriter, Tony Kushner.  In this presentation he will analyze the trajectory of Kushner’s radical politics as it has been set by early and recent work. Dr. Dustin Knepp (World Languages and Cultures) will critically examine the impact of Arizona’s House Bill 2281, passed in 2010.  Dr. Michael Yoder (Geography) provides an overview of the characteristics of New Urbanism as well as commentary on where the movement needs to head to be more affordable to lower and lower-middle income Americans. Dr. Kimberly Little (History) will analyze each progressive step toward a more perfect union and full suffrage in which Americans faced not only a difficult political landscape but also physical struggles, including death.  She will focus on the violent struggles of each expansion (working-class men, women, African-Americans, and young adults) in democracy.  Dr. Julia Winden Fay (Philosophy and Religion) will explore some of the many ways “marriage” (and family structures) have been constructed by Christians throughout U.S. history, and will ask how each construction has or could contribute to the development of a more perfect personal or collective union.  Dr. Nicholas S. Brasovan (Philosophy and Religion) introduces students to the fundamental Confucian values of establishing productive and communicative relationships within the family and society as a model for a more perfect union.  Dr. Conrad Schumaker (English) describes how Frederick Douglass uses his abilities as a speaker and writer to highlight the gap between the American ideal of a “more perfect union” and the reality in ways that remain relevant for us.  Dr. Mike Schaefer (English) maintains that while Lincoln was always in favor of abolition during his political career, he began by accepting his culture's general belief that African Americans were intellectually and socially inferior to whites, and he responded angrily to his opponents’ charges that he was personal friends with various African Americans. However, he will demonstrate that several meetings with Frederick Douglass convinced him that he was wrong, as is evident in several of his late speeches.  Dr. Jesse Butler (Philosophy) will explore several diverse perspectives on issues of self-identity within a social context, leaving students to ponder the perennial philosophical question: “What am I?”  Dr. Lori Leavell (English) examines William Lloyd Garrison’s Thoughts on African Colonization (1832), a white-authored abolitionist text that compiles arguments from an array of print sources to assert African American citizenship.  Chad Terrell (M.A. English) uses various landmark American films, from The Birth of a Nation to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, to examine the tensions between audience expectations of democracy and the artistic desires of filmmakers.

Upon request, UCA faculty will visit classrooms of teachers who plan to attend and encourage students to develop their own creative works of poetry, short story, essay or multi-media to be submitted, judged, and awarded prizes.  Books within the existing high school curricula will complement the theme and encourage students to produce their own creative projects, but this is not required, and will not affect judging decisions.

Although it is not required, students are encouraged to submit original humanities projects to the Fair’s competition.  Awards will be presented to highlight excellence and creativity in the areas of Poetry, Short Story, Essay, or Multimedia Presentation.  Student projects based on the theme are welcome, as are projects on other topics.  See the Student Project Entry Form for more details about submitting student works.

For more information, see registration and guideline attachments, and/or contact:

Dr. Nicholas S. Brasovan


2013 Humanities Fair Flyer

2013 Humanities Fair PROGRAM

2013 Humanities Fair Registration Form

2013 Humanities Fair Student Submission Guidelines

2013 Humanities Fair Student Submission Guidelines

2013 Humanities Fair Student Project Entry Form