Humanities Center

Humanities Center

Welcome to The Syracuse University Humanities Center. Founded in 2008, we are located on the third floor of the historic William P. Tolley Humanities Building at Syracuse University.

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Approaching our 5th anniversary this coming June, the SU Humanities Center has hosted well over two hundred conferences, public lectures, performance and exhibits at Syracuse University and in the CNY region through its major annual programs Syracuse Symposium ™ and the Central New York Humanities Corridor. We have also sponsored multi-year research programs such as "Images? Precisely!" in conjunction with the SU School of Architecture, as well as the major international initiative the Perpetual Peace Project, now entering its second phase with the "Eat Together for Peace" campaign in Syracuse this past fall that was followed by the visit of his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet in October to participate in the two day program "Common Ground."

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Next fall the project will travel again to the Netherlands to participate in a series of exhibitions and public events in commemoration of the Treaty of Utrecht in partnership with the Centre for the Humanities at Utrecht University.

ListeningLogo_Center.jpgSirens, traffic, beeping, whirring, pinging, blaring TV: these are the noises that assault our ears every day. Perhaps we blank out so much of our soundscape because it consists overwhelmingly of gratingly mechanical and technological noise. The sounds of nature, in contrast, seem to draw our attention more readily to the complex interplay between sound and silence; to the way that silence frames sound, and vice versa. Noise pollution drowns out murmurs, music, the sound of the breeze, or of our own breath. The incessant din can deaden our capacity to hear the roar of the ocean or the rumble of thunder. This year’s Syracuse Symposium™ topic, proposed by the School of Education, addresses both sound and silence and uncovers some important distinctions between hearing and listening: hearing is passive while listening is a mode of cognition, one that demands a conscious act of attention. When we listen, our minds are engaged as much as our senses. We hear noise all the time; we rarely listen. The Symposium offers us the opportunity to do just that: to listen.

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Humanities_Corridor_2011_color_sm.jpgOriginally established in 2006 by an initial award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and administered by the SU Humanities Center since 2008, the CNY Humanities Corridor has facilitated collaborative research between faculty at Syracuse University, Cornell University, and University of Rochester. Beginning in 2012, the Humanities Corridor received an additional million dollar award from the Mellon Foundation to support a second phase of activities and has expanded to encompass many of the liberal arts colleges and universities in the Central New York region. More detailed information on the history and range of collaborative range of research projects supported by CNY Humanities Corridor project is available at syracusehumanities.org/mellon

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In addition to these major annual programs, including the Humanities Center Dissertation Research Fellowships and Faculty Fellowships generously funded by The College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School, in the past year we initiated the Syracuse Symposium Seminars in which faculty from across the University will offer new courses that address that year's Syracuse Symposium theme at both graduate and undergraduate levels. During the spring semester each year the Center's Fellows also organize The HC Fellow Spring Symposia as part of their residence in the Humanities Center and in conjunction with their area of research, bringing national and international scholars to campus to engage in conversation around their area of research. 

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Finally, as in past years, the HC will continue the HC Mini-Seminars, the Watson Visiting Distinguished Professorship, and Visiting Collaborator programs to bring national and international scholars and artists to campus to interact with faculty and graduate students. A key objective of the SU Humanities Center is to create a dialogue about the public possibilities of humanistic inquiry, as they pertain to innovative thinking and real-life problems. For more information on upcoming programs, or If you would like to participate in any of the SU Humanities Center's public programs or donate to our ongoing initiatives, please do not hesitate to contact the Center at 315.443.7192, or through the contact form.

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Gregg Lambert
Dean’s Professor of Humanities
Founding Director

February 2013