HOW WE KNOW/WHAT WE KNOW: Humanities Common Knowledge

HOW WE KNOW/WHAT WE KNOW: Humanities Common Knowledge
A series of events highlighting the work of our humanities faculty, Fall 2017

How is it that some stories and modes of story-telling gain traction, while others seem to dissipate with little public effect? How do we know what is true? What forms of knowing, and what forms of truth do we desire, produce, and circulate? These are currently viewed as political and social questions — questions for journalists to debate and citizen groups to form coalitions around — but they are in fact properly humanistic questions. The fundamental questions of how we go about making and unmaking knowledge, and what comprises the knowable, are common across the study of Literature, Religion, History, Philosophy, and Classics.

This is the broad context for HOW WE KNOW/WHAT WE KNOW: Humanities Common Knowledge, a series of loosely organized programming which will explore humanities knowledge formation in research and teaching. The goals of the programming include:

  1. Exploring the diversity of methods and of objects of knowledge across the humanities
  2. Understanding how the depth and breadth of humanities engagement with information — including texts, contexts, databases, archives — yields a more complex and meaningful (because meaning-making) account of fact and truth
  3. Emphasizing how interpretation, story-telling, and even bias are part and parcel of making meaning and forming knowledge
  4. Prioritizing the humanities as the proper home and resource for the ethical and political business of being human in the world, especially as we engage our students in a liberal arts academic context

The Humanities Institute invites faculty to propose guest speakers, academic panels, faculty-student collaborations, and symposia on the topic of humanities common knowledge, resulting in a series of events and forums throughout the Fall of 2017. The Humanities Institute will fund, promote, and help organize (as necessary) events which showcase or advance the academic humanities. There are no special, new funding lines for this series, and all regular HI funding and programming will remain in place throughout the year. We hope to shine a spotlight on the good work we are already doing, and reflect on our common practices as humanists at Wake Forest.

For a full list of Humanities Institute funding resources, please visit the Institute website and click on the “programming” link on the left hand column.