In-Depth Discussion: "Does Humanistic Education have a Future?"

Featured Stanford Seminar Speaker: Andrew Delbanco, Columbia University

Friday, March 1, 2024 @ 12:30pm. Richter Library, First Floor, Flex B. (Lunch Provided.) / Open to University of Miami Faculty and Graduate Students.
Please RSVP by Wednesday, February 28 (end of day, so we can confirm number of lunches and prepare for the seminar set-up).
 to register for this seminar.

Andrew Delbanco will lead an informal, broad-ranging conversation with attendees around the central question he will pose in his Stanford Talk: In an age dominated by technology, ideology, and rancor, how can we ensure that humanistic education has a future?

Andrew Delbanco, winner of the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates, is the author of College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be (2012), Melville: His World and Work (2005), The Death of Satan (1995), Required Reading: Why Our American Classics Matter Now (1997), The Real American Dream (1999), and The Puritan Ordeal (1989), among other books.  His work has been translated into several languages, including German, Spanish, Korean, Russian, and Chinese.

Professor Delbanco's essays appear regularly in The New York Review of Books and other journals, on topics ranging from American literary and religious history to contemporary issues in higher education. In 2001, he was named by Time Magazine as "America's Best Social Critic" and elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also an elected member of the American Philosophical Society, a trustee of the Teagle Foundation, the Library of America, and trustee emeritus of the National Humanities Center.

In February 2012, President Barack Obama presented Professor Delbanco with the National Humanities Medal for his writings on higher education and the place classic authors hold in history and contemporary life.

"How Democracies Die: Where Are We Now?"

Featured Stanford Seminar Speaker: Steven Levitsky, Harvard University

Monday, January 29, 12:30 – 2:00pm, Richter Library, First Floor, Flex B. (Lunch Provided.) / Open to University of Miami Faculty and Graduate Students.
Please RSVP by Thursday, January 25 (end of day, so we can confirm number of lunches and prepare for the seminar set-up).
 to register for this seminar.

Steven Levitsky will lead a lively informal discussion, taking as his jumping-off point the main arguments of How Democracies Die(Crown, 2018), the bestselling, award-winning book he wrote with Daniel Ziblatt. Levitsky will briefly highlight the main symptoms of the erosion of democratic norms as they’ve revealed themselves historically and in the present, in the US and elsewhere. He’ll then update us on trends over the last five years up to the publication of his new book (also with Daniel Ziblatt), The Tyranny of the Minority: Why American Democracy Reached the Breaking Point (Crown, 2023). Please join us for an intimate conversation that will be the perfect prelude to Levitsky’s evening talk.

Steven Levitsky is David Rockefeller Professor of Latin American Studies and Professor of Government at Harvard University. He is also Director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard. His research focuses on democratization and authoritarianism, political parties, and weak and informal institutions, with a focus on in Latin America. He is co-author (with Daniel Ziblatt) of How Democracies Die (Crown, 2018), which was a New York Times Best-Seller and was published in 25 languages. He has written or edited 11 other books, including Transforming Labor-Based Parties in Latin America: Argentine Peronism in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press 2003), Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War (with Lucan Way) (Cambridge University Press, 2010), and Revolution and Dictatorship: The Violent Origins of Durable Authoritarianism (with Lucan Way) (Princeton University Press, 2022). He and Daniel Ziblatt are currently working on a book on the rise of (and reaction against) multiracial democracy in the United States.


FALL 2023


Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan

"Propaganda: How it Works and How to Combat It"

Featured Stanford Seminar Speaker: Ruth Ben-Ghiat, New York University

Friday, September 22, 12:30 – 2:00pm, Richter Library, First Floor, Flex B. (Lunch Provided.) / Open to University of Miami Faculty and Graduate Students.
Please RSVP by Wednesday, September 20 (end of day, so we can confirm number of lunches and prepare for the seminar set-up).
 to register for this seminar.

Dr. Ruth Ben-Ghiat will contend that disinformation has become the largest driver of the threat to democracy. The aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, she will argue, shows that authoritarian political figures no longer need to create a one-party state to pull off mass deception on a grand scale. The seminar will look at how propaganda works, paying attention to the dissemination of noise as well as the cultivation of silence and self-censorship. Dr. Ben-Ghiat will examine how information warfare techniques are being used to discredit and attack democracy in the US, including talking points on anti-science, homophobia, and other topics that echo those of illiberal states around the world. 

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University. She is an MSNBC Opinion Columnist and commentator on CNN, MSNBC, and other media outlets about authoritarianism, Fascism, and threats to democracy around the world.

Her latest book, Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present (W.W. Norton & Company) examines how illiberal leaders use corruption, violence, propaganda, and machismo to stay in power, and how resistance to them has unfolded over a century.

 for information on the Stanford Lecture by Ruth Ben-Ghiat on Thursday, September 21, 2023 @ 7:00pm, Kislak Center at the University of Miami Libraries. 



"The Civil Rights Movement: Long, Wide, Deep?"

Featured Stanford Seminar Speaker: Professor Kevin Kruse, Princeton University

Friday, January 27, 12:30 – 2:00pm, Richter Library, First Floor, Flex B. (Lunch Provided.)

to register. Please RSVP by Wednesday, January 25 (end of day, so we can confirm number of lunches).

In recent years, historians have debated the proper perspective on the civil rights movement. Rejecting the “classical” understanding of the civil rights struggle — the “Montgomery to Memphis” narrative that largely followed the work of Martin Luther King, Jr., in the late 1950s and early 1960s — different groups of scholars have proposed alternate frameworks. Some have proposed a “long” civil rights movement, marked by continuities and a chronological sweep that runs from Reconstruction through the present day. Others have called for a “wide” framing which moves beyond the traditional southern setting to encompass the entire United States. Still more have called for a “deep” perspective that focuses not just on the well-known protests but smaller changes at the grassroots as well. In this seminar we'll consider the strengths and weaknesses of these various perspectives.

Kevin M. Kruse is Professor of History and the Director of the Center for Collaborative History at Princeton University. He studies the political, social, and urban/suburban history of 20th-century America. Focused on conflicts over race, rights, and religion, he has particular interests in segregation and the civil rights movement, the rise of religious nationalism, and the making of modern conservatism.

for information on the Stanford Lecture by Kevin Kruse on Thursday, January 26, 2023 @ 7:00pm, Kislak Center at the University of Miami Libraries. 

"Contested Grounds - The Spatial Politics of Memorials and Monuments"

Featured Stanford Seminar Speaker: Professor Mabel O. Wilson, Columbia University

Friday, March 31, 12:30 – 2:00pm, Richter Library, First Floor, Flex B. (Lunch Provided.)


to register. Please RSVP by Wednesday, March 29 (end of day, so we can confirm number of lunches).   

The recent removals of monuments like the Theodore Roosevelt Monument on the steps of New York City’s American Museum of Natural History require that we understand how discourses, representations, and practices of memory, history, and politics impact the social production of space and the making of the built environment. Critical for this seminar will be for us to sort out the difference between the formalization of the past through history and monumental architecture and art works, and the informal experience of the past through memory, its various incarnations of collective, individual, and cultural. Rather than position history/memory as binaries, this seminar examines the different ways that time and space are correlated toward political ends.

Mabel O. Wilson is the Nancy and George E Rupp Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and a Professor in African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University, where she also serves as the director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies. With her practice Studio, she was a member of the design team that recently completed the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia. Wilson has authored Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture (2016), Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums (2012), and co-edited the volume Race and Modern Architecture: From the Enlightenment to Today (2020). She is a founding member of Who Builds Your Architecture? (WBYA?)—an advocacy project to educate the architectural profession about the problems of globalization and labor. She is the co-host of the podcast Black Lives in the Era of COVID 19, a close look at the impact of the virus on New York City communities. For the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, she was co-curator of the exhibition Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America (2021). 

for information on the Stanford Lecture by Mabel O. Wilson on Thursday, March 30, 2023 @ 7:00pm, Kislak Center at the University of Miami Libraries. 

FALL 2022



"The Text and the Archive: A Workshop on the Recent History of the Historical Method"

Friday, October 21, 2022, 12:30 - 2:00pm, Richter Library, First Floor, Flex B. (Lunch Provided.)

Featured Speakers: John Jeffries Martin (Duke University) and Guido Ruggiero (University of Miami)

Register Here. Please RSVP by Wednesday, October 19 (end of day, so we can confirm number of lunches).

Click here for information on the Stanford Lecture by John Jeffries Martin on Thursday, October 20, 2022 @ 7:00pm, Jay I. Kislak Center, University of Miami Libraries. 

Historical knowledge is based on a wide range of sources, but in the twentieth century archival documents tended to gain pre-eminence over other forms of evidence. Recently, however, historians and others, especially students of literature, have begun to rethink the way in which our strategies of reading and interpretation change as we move from archival documents to published texts, whether literary, religious, or philosophical. And this shift is altering the ways current scholars working across disciplines relate to the text and the archive. Indeed, these new ways of seeing texts have also led to debates about how the widely shared ideal of interdisciplinarity might work as historians engage a wider range of texts available in the attempt to garner their full value for our understanding of the past.

This workshop, then, is intended as a conversation across the disciplines. Historians John Martin and Guido Ruggiero will get the ball rolling by briefly outlining what they each see as the most promising methodological innovations in considering texts in Renaissance and early modern studies over their long careers, with particular attention to their own work on the cultural turn, quantitative history, microhistory, global history, the history of gender and sex, and various forms of literary analysis. Participants are invited to join the discussion and share their own perspectives about methods they have found most promising for exploring texts in their many different forms.

John Jeffries Martin, professor and former chair of history at Duke, is a historian of early modern Europe. He is the author of Venice’s Hidden Enemies: Italian Heretics in a Renaissance City (1993), Myths of Renaissance Individualism (2004), and editor or co-editor of several volumes, including Venice Reconsidered: The History and Civilization of an Italian City State (2002), as well of the series Vices & Virtues for Yale University Press. His most recent book, A Beautiful Ending: The Apocalyptic Imagination and the Making of the Modern World, places its emphasis on the role of faith – not only within Christianity but also within Judaism and in Islam – in animating individual and collective actions in the early modern world. Indeed, faith did much to shape agency, and played a role in fostering new political, religious, and scientific visions of a more hopeful future. At the same time, many horrors – from civil wars to colonialism -- also stemmed from the “apocalyptic imagination.”

Guido Ruggieris Professor of History and Cooper Fellow of the College of Arts and Sciences. He was born in Danbury, Connecticut and grew up in Webster, New York, a small rural town along the old shore line of Lake Ontario. After earning a B.A. with a heavy focus on ancient history and philosophy at the University of Colorado, he went on to UCLA where as a University of CaliforniaRegent's Intern Fellow he earned an M.A. (1967) and a Ph.D. (1972). As a Regent's Fellow he began his long love affair with Venice and the Venetian Archives in 1970 and has been returning there for his research ever since.  He makes his home in Treviso, Italy, when he is not teaching at UM.



"Fake News and Fabricated History: Ned Christie as the Symbol of the Wild West"

Friday, November 4, 2022, 12:30 - 2:00pm, Richter Library, First Floor, Flex B. (Lunch Provided.)

Featured Speaker: Devon Mihesuah

Register Here. Please RSVP by Wednesday, November 2 (end of day, so we can confirm number of lunches).

Click here for information on the Stanford Lecture by Devon Mihesuah on Thursday, November 3, 2022 @ 7:00pm, Newman Alumni Center, University of Miami Libraries. 

In 1887, the respected Cherokee National Councilman Ned Christie was accused of murdering U.S. Deputy Marshall Dan Maples in Tahlequah, Indian Territory. Christie was hounded by posses until determined lawmen blew up his home with dynamite in 1892 and shot him as he emerged from the burning cabin. Despite there being no evidence that Christie killed Maples, hundreds of “fake news” stories about the "killer" Ned were printed in newspapers around the country. Fabricated stories about Christie and his family continued into the twentieth century and shaped Christie's image into the iconic symbol of Wild West violence and Native savagery. What happened to Ned Christie is a cautionary tale about how the press can create history, influence public opinion, and be used for political purposes.

Devon Mihesuah, an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is the Cora Lee Beers Price Professor in the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas and is the former editor of the American Indian Quarterly and the University Nebraska Press book series, “Contemporary Indigenous Issues.” A historian by training, she is the author of numerous award-winning books on Indigenous history and current issues, including Recovering Our Ancestors’ Gardens: Indigenous Recipes and Guide to Diet and Fitness, that was recently named the Best Indigenous Book in the World by Gourmand International; American Indigenous Women: Decolonization, Empowerment, Activism; Ned Christie: The Creation of an Outlaw and Cherokee Hero; Choctaw Crime and Punishment: 1884-1907 and American Indians: Stereotypes and Realities, as well as seven novels, most recently Dance of the Returned that was published in September 2022. She oversees the American Indian Health and Diet Project at and the Facebook page, Indigenous Eating. See her blog at: 



In-person Seminar with Professor Stephanie Burt: “Poems, Portraits, Characters"

Friday, April 8, 2022, 12:30 - 2:00 pm, Richter Library, First Floor, Learning Commons Flex Space B

Registration required. Please register here.

Registration is reserved for University of Miami faculty and students, but all are welcome to attend Professor Burt's Stanford Lecture on Thursday, April 7 @ 7:00pm at Lakeside Pavilion, Coral Gables Campus.

How do you get to know a person-- imagined or real-- through a poem? What choices do poets make when depicting historical or imaginary characters, or when giving a life and a personality to a tree, a coin, an eel, a wrench? How can we, if we write poetry ourselves, learn from poems depicting imagined characters, and what resources can those poems bring to us as we read the rest of the world? We'll ask those questions with examples from Anglo-Saxon and from ancient Greek, from Keats and Emily Dickinson and Terrance Hayes and Louise Gluck and Carter Revard, and from other contemporary examples. We may end up with a poetry-writing exercise of our own.


Stephanie Burt is a professor of English at Harvard University with interests in 20th and 21st century poetry; science fiction; literature and geography; contemporary writing; comics and graphic novels; literature; and other arts. Burt received a BA from Harvard University in 1994 and a PhD in English from Yale University in 2000. An accomplished writer, the following is a selection of her work: Advice from the Lights (2017); The Poem Is You: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them (2016); Belmont Poems (2013); Close Calls With Nonsense: Reading New Poetry (2008); The Forms of Youth: Adolescence and 20th-Century Poetry (2007); Parallel Play (2006); editor, Randall Jarrell on W. H. Auden (2005); “‘September 1, 1939 Revisited’ or, Poetry, Politics, and the Idea of the Public” (2003); Randall Jarrell and His Age (2002); and Popular Music (1999).


Virtual Stanford Seminar with Daphne Brooks: “'Twice Militant' Friendships: Nina Simone, Lorraine Hansberry & James Baldwin"

Friday, February 4, 2022, 12:30 - 2:00 pm

Join us for a seminar session with Daphne Brooks, Professor of African American Studies and Theater Studies at Yale University. This seminar invites participants to engage in a conversation about the intersectional, radically progressive lives, performances, and literary and intellectual work of three genius African American artists who were aligned with each other in Black freedom struggle aspirations and intellectual, aesthetic, and political sensibilities and who cultivated meaningful friendships with one another at the height of the Civil Rights movement. James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, and Nina Simone drew creative inspiration from each other, produced aesthetic work as forms of critical communication with and heartfelt tributes for one another, and together forged a revolution in Black radical cultural politics that shaped an era. The seminar conversation will focus on the centrality of theater and performance as insurgent acts of self-making and social reform in each of their repertoires, and it will pay particular attention to the ways that drama, music, oratory, and public debate were forms that all three artists explored and experimented with as tools of Black resistance.

Registration is reserved for University of Miami faculty and students, but all are welcome to virtually attend the Stanford lecture by Dr. Daphne Brooks on Thursday, February 3, 2022 @ 7:00 pm.

Daphne A. Brooks is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of African American Studies, American Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Music at Yale University. She is the author of Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910 (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2006), winner of The Errol Hill Award for Outstanding Scholarship on African American Performance from ASTR; Jeff Buckley’s Grace (New York: Continuum, 2005) and Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound (Harvard University, February 2021). 

Seminar registration here!

Lecture information and registration here!

In-person Seminar with Professor John McNeill: “Seven Millennia of Caribbean Disease History to 1850"

Friday, March 4, 2022, 12:30 - 2:00 pm, Richter Library, 3rd Floor Conference Room (online option)

Registration is reserved for University of Miami faculty and students, but all are welcome to attend the Stanford lecture by Dr. John McNeill on Thursday, March 3, 2022 @ 7:00 pm at the Kislak Center or online. Registration required.

Recording here!

This seminar offers a long-term look at the disease environment of the Caribbean region since it was first settled roughly 7,000 years ago. It draws on paleogenomics, bio-archeology, and historical sources to explain the apparent insignificance of infectious disease before 1492 (or perhaps 1518) and thereafter its extreme prominence until about 1850. It presents the region's disease history, 1492-1850, as a tale of two "syndemics," a concept borrowed from medical anthropology. Multiple overlapping epidemics combined with social pathologies characteristic first of colonial conquest (ca. 1492-1570) and slave society (ca. 1640-1850) to generate two different disastrous demographic regimes.


John McNeill was born and raised in Chicago and remains passionately devoted to the professional sports teams of the Windy City. He earned, or at any rate was awarded, a B.A. from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. from Duke University. Since 1985 he has cheerfully served as a faculty member of the School of Foreign Service and History Department at Georgetown. From 2003 until 2006 he held the Cinco Hermanos Chair in Environmental and International Affairs, until his appointment as University Professor. He teaches world history, environmental history, and international history at Georgetown; and writes books, and directs Ph.D. students, mainly in environmental history. He has served as president of both the American Society for Environmental History (2011-13) and the American Historical Association (2019), and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academia Europaea.

FALL 2021

Virtual Workshop with William Germano: “Revising the Dissertation, Finishing the Book: a working seminar on scholarly writing”

Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, 12:00 - 2:30pm

This session is primarily designed for postdocs, junior faculty, and other early-career scholars, but it's really about the challenges that all writing scholars face. How do I make what I have on paper appealing to an editor, to a publishing house, to a readership? Each participant is asked to submit in advance a current c.v. and a book proposal (five to ten pages). Each proposal will receive written feedback prior to the first session. Together we will use the occasion to work through issues and concerns emerging from the written feedback as well as from new questions posed by the participants. Those participating are encouraged to come to the Thursday afternoon talk, which will reinforce some of the points we will discuss in our session. Note that our time together will be structured as a class, not as a lecture. Come prepared for some breakout room work.

Time commitment: 2.5 hours in session, plus preparation of materials and review of response. Registration will be limited to fifteen attendants.

William Germano has served as editor in chief at Columbia University Press and vice-president and editorial director at Routledge. Since 2006 he has been professor of English literature at Cooper Union. Among his books are Getting It Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books (3/e 2016) and From Dissertation to Book (2/e 2013), both published by the University of Chicago Press. His most recent book, written with Kit Nicholls, is Syllabus: The Remarkable, Unremarkable Document That Changes Everything (Princeton, 2020). Over the past twenty-five years he has given talks and led workshops on scholarly writing at institutions in North America, Europe, Abu Dhabi, Australia and New Zealand. On Revision: The Only Writing That Counts will be published in October 2021 by the University of Chicago Press.