Biographies of Speakers and Special Guests

On October 18-19, Wake Forest will host “Movements and Migrations:  A Conference on The Engaged Humanities,” sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  The conference will explore the implications and applications of the academic humanities in public contexts, with special emphasis on migration and population dislocation, including contemporary crises caused by global climate change. The conference builds on and highlights the recent curricular innovations of several Wake Forest humanities faculty, who have taught Mellon funded engaged humanities courses on refugee resettlement in the Triad, interdisciplinary studies of waterways and landscape, narrative and Law, and an experiential course engaging with American indigenous history.

Beyond showcasing innovative and ongoing instances of publically engaged humanities, the conference “Movements and Migrations,” we will query the basic terms organizing our fields and practices, including investigating the purpose and aim of the academic humanities, the politics and ethics of choosing our “public,” and the real challenges for academia and the public alike for being mutually engaged.  In addition, we will explore how various pubic cultures have, in their own way, “engaged” ideas and methods heretofore typically associated with academic humanities.

The conference will feature an opening keynote presentation from Rutgers University Professor of Anthropology and Latino and Caribbean Studies, Dr. Yarimar Bonilla, recently named Carnegie Fellow for work on her second book, Shattered Futures, on the politics of recovery in Puerto Rico; and a closing keynote by Michigan State University Professor of Philosophy and Timnick Chair in the Humanities, Dr. Kyle Powys Whyte, a leading authority on climate policy and its effects on native peoples.  In addition, Michael Pasquire, Jaak Seynaeve Professor of Christian Studies at Louisiana State University will screen and lead a discussion on his documentary film “Water like Stone,” about coastal Louisiana communities responding to the erosion of territory and the destruction of a way of life due to climate change.  The conference will include presentations on Engaged Humanities Teaching and Research by several Wake Forest faculty and their students, including faculty teams whose innovative teaching was made possible by grants from the Mellon Foundation.  In addition, faculty from Winston Salem State University and the University of North Carolina, Greensboro will discuss their research on public identities in political space.

  • Yarimar Bonilla

    Associate Professor of Anthropology & Caribbean Studies
    Rutgers University

  • Sarah Jane Cervenak

    Associate Professor, Women’s & Gender Studies and African American Studies
    University of North Carolina, Greensboro

  • Rebecca Evans

    Assistant Professor, Department of English
    Winston-Salem State University

  • Michael Pasquier

    Associate Professor of Religious Studies & History, Jaak Seynaeve Professor of Christian Studies
    Louisiana State University

  • Kyle Powys Whyte

    Associate Professor of Philosophy & Community Sustainability
    Timnick Chair in the Humanities
    Michigan State University

  • Lisa Blee

    Associate Professor, Department of History
    Wake Forest University

  • Justin Catanoso

    Professor of the Practice, Journalism Program
    Wake Forest University

  • David Phillips

    Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Humanities and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
    Wake Forest University

  • Mark Rabil

    Associate Clinical Professor of Law; Director of Innocence and Justice Clinic
    Wake Forest University School of Law

  • Miles Silman

    Andrew Sabin Family Foundation Professor of Conservation Biology
    Director, Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability
    Wake Forest University

  • Penny Sinanoglou

    Assistant Professor, Department of History
    Wake Forest University

  • Ulrike Wiethaus

    Professor of Religion and American Ethnic Studies
    Wake Forest University