September 16th saw Hood College hosting its first ever student-led Humanities conference! “Discovering the Humanities” featured undergraduate and graduate students from Hood and other area colleges and universities. According to Dr. Corey Campion, director of Hood’s MA Program in Humanities, “the main goal was to showcase the exciting work students do in the Humanities at the undergrad and grad level at Hood and area schools”. The presentations were varied, and topics ranged from literature, art, and gender, to popular culture, and world and local history. Where else would you find a presentation about “Applying and Comparing Baroque Features in Shakespeare’s The Tempest and TV Show Lost”, followed by “The Re-Imagined, Re-Defined, and Re-Created Roles of Carroll Creek” and “The Avant-Garde: Theory and Nature of Alienation”?
University of Pennsylvania Professor Bethany Wiggin, founder of the Penn Program in the Environmental Humanities, gave the keynote focusing on the Humanities in higher education as well as the importance of working across disciplines as scholars. Hood English Professor Aaron Angello called Wiggin’s talk “rousing.”
The conference emphasized the student presenters themselves. Sarah Holsapple, a Hood Humanities graduate student, explained “There were several students from other schools who also participated, and it was a rare opportunity to talk about our research together and share our ideas with peers”. Her presentation, in the Modern American section of the conference, combined politics, philosophy, music, and culture when critiquing the avant-garde movement in music. Hood student Asmaa Aaouinti-Haris presented in the Popular Culture section about Re-defining Black Masculinities in Beyonce’s Lemonade.” She also commented on the social and communal worth of the conference, saying “it was my first conference and I was excited and grateful to be able to share my research with classmates, professors and people from other universities. I loved the way in which the conference was organized. The atmosphere was perfect!”
Campion hopes this will be the start of a tradition. He looks forward to next year, saying “the presentations were excellent and showed an impressive level of rigor. It was a great event that gave us a chance to celebrate the humanities which are so central to the liberal arts tradition here at Hood. We’re excited about next year’s conference!” The date is already set for September 15, 2018.