THI’s 2021-2022 Theme

The Humanities Institute is dedicating the 2021-2022 academic year to exploring the capacities, limitations, and possibilities of Imagination.

The world has been turned upside down by the ongoing global pandemic, multiple climate catastrophes, and a range of political movements. While periods of dramatic change can be unsettling, they also offer us an opportunity to reconsider long taken-for-granted ideas and reflect on our vision for the future. This year, we are focusing on the theme of Imagination to gather the humanistic insights, skills, and inspiration necessary to navigate our path forward together.

The Humanities engage our imagination in different ways. Literature, History, and Linguistics offer unique approaches to imagine and explore worlds different from our own, often broadening and deepening our understanding of our own worlds in the process. Feminist Studies compels us to reimagine and remake our social, political, and cultural formations, giving us a critical lens on our present. Philosophy encourages us to question the conceptual nature of imagination, to consider how imagination is tied to, and perhaps bounded by, our perception and first-hand experience. Our year of imagination at THI will delve into these subjects and more as we host leading thinkers to present their research, participate in discussions, and explore a range of questions, including:

To what extent is imagination tied to our particular position, culture, and time period? What are some ways to expand our imaginations and when are these approaches limited? And how can imagination help us advance radical social change?

A humanistic inquiry into imagination and its potential could not be more timely as we work to build a more just and equitable society. Join us to visualize and strategize. We look forward to thinking through the rich and varied terrain of imagination with you this year.

THI’s theme is part of our Expanding Humanities Impact and Publics project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.