Humanities Moments

Items in the NHC Fellows Collection

Inspirational Literature
In this video Marlene Daut describes how teaching literature to college students enables them to both understand their lives and history better, as well as be inspired regarding their possible futures.

An Unexpected Insight
At the end of my sophomore year in high school, during the awards ceremony in June, I received my varsity letter for playing football. And then my history teacher, Mr. Harvey, got up and gave three academic awards. To my complete surprise, I received…

Harmonia est discordia concors: A Paean to Choral Singing
According to the ancient Greeks, harmony is discord rendered concordant, a concept that applied not just to music but everything from the order of the cosmos to human relationships. I have always loved this idea for two reasons: it was predicated not…

Resilience, Humility, and Picnics
I like picnics. Picnics take us outside, to share food with people we like. Those are my three favorite things, and picnics offer all three with a minimum of fuss or cost. Every picnic is a special occasion. But one stands out because it showed me…

Visiting the Art Museum
My family always visited art museums when I was a child. I’m not quite sure why, as we never talked about the art, and I wondered, in secret, what exactly we were supposed to be doing there. When I was about eight years old, I read a book that…

Story-Making and the Fault Lines of American Capitalism
Several weeks ago I had occasion to watch the new documentary, Betting on Zero. This fascinating film presents several interlinked stories, all related to the founding and growth of Herbalife, a multi-level-marketing company that sells nutritional…

Solving the “Very Complicated Puzzle” of How Humanity Lives
As a 21-year-old senior in college, Nancy Hirschmann encountered—and was forever changed by—German philosopher Hegel’s notoriously difficult passages in The Phenomenology of Spirit. Suddenly, she “broke through the wall” of the concept of the…

On the Anxiety of Influence
In this account, William Leuchtenburg shares the story of a seemingly routine exchange with literary scholars in the late 1970s which spurred him to new insights about the ways iconic figures from the past influence those who succeed them, whether…

Where Dreams Were Made and Humanistic Visions Forged
Throughout their son’s childhood, Stephen Hall’s parents, both children of sharecroppers, crafted a “deeply humanistic perch” from which he could “view the world.” Though possessing none of the benefits of class or race privilege, they harnessed the…

Finding Freedom from the Familiar
In 1979, at age 16, Hollis Robbins found herself enrolled at John Hopkins University. Though she was there as part of a program for girls who excelled in math, she signed up for a humanities lecture class. In that day’s class, drawing upon the epic…

Sometimes You Just Need to Keep Reading
Growing up in the mid-1960s as a white girl in Tuskegee, Alabama, Mab Segrest attended a segregated private school that her parents had helped found in response to a court order years earlier to integrate public high schools. In the shadows of…

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