The Public Humanist

Our blog publishes the voices of many contributors who use the humanities to explore our world. Reader commentary is encouraged. Consider contributing – complete form. Editor David Morgan.

Death in the Afternoon

The silver Dodge Charger that killed Heather Hayer, allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr. in Charlottesville

The bravado shown by white supremacists in Charlottesville this week is supported by the symbols and images of manly Confederate heroes, the same ones that are memorialized in city landscapes and, soon, on popular television.

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Freedom Is Not Free: Examining the Abolition Process in Zanzibar

Zanzibar's Stone Town was host to one of the world's last open slave markets, now memorialized by this artwork that utilizes original slave chains.

In challenging the notion of abolition as the final chapter in a history of slavery, we illuminate the lives of those on the periphery of history whose stories and experiences often go unnoticed.

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Broadsheets, Live Tweets, and Television: Media in Culture and the World

The Public Humanist invites thoughtful contributions on the subject of media past, present, and future. What can we learn from or about media by basing inquiry in the humanities?

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Chaos is a Ladder: Why The European Union Must Survive

Over the past several years, the European Union’s stability and future have seemed uncertain. But given Europe’s two thousand-year history of cataclysmic war, should the idea of a consensual peace be so quickly discarded?

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Still They Persisted: What a 105 Year Old Strike in Lawrence, MA Can Teach Us About Organization and Social Change

Suggesting that the 1912 strike started in a flash over a wage cut diminishes the contributions of the laborers—mostly women and immigrants—who built unity out of diversity.

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Tu B’Shvat in the Anthropocene: Teshuva with the Earth

An almond tree in blossom near Urueña in Valladolid, Spain, during Tu BiShvat. Photo by Nicolás Pérez.

Is it time to apply the Jewish practice of teshuva to environmentalism?

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A Scientific Sea Change? What the Humanities Offer Environmental Science in the Anthropocene

A sample of plastiglomerate, collected on Kamilo Beach in Hawaii.

How might the sciences and the humanities converge in a geologic era marked by human activity?

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Nature, Culture, and the Art of Breathing Underwater

Still from The Newsroom: Humans can't breathe underwater

It may be too late to prevent the worst effects of climate change, but even that won’t stop humans from being hopeful and resourceful.

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Why is American Theater Afraid of Climate Change?

The 1993 play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes by American playwright Tony Kushner unflinchingly tackled AIDS and homosexuality in America in the 1980s.

I am particularly grateful when a book comes along that illuminates what our culture is really afraid of, those repressed realities that make our arts so docile, so fearful of challenging the status quo. The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable by Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh, sheds light on an embarrassing failure of nerve that […]

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What’s Next for Nature?

Alphabet of the Anthropocene by Brett Bloom and Bonnie Fortune

The Public Humanist seeks humanities-based responses to the Anthropocene, asking how our various disciplines shift in light of this new perspective. After all, the humanities ought to flourish in a time of significant biospheric human influence.

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