In a boon for intellectual life in Miami, the University of Miami unveils its brand-new Center for the Humanities--the first of its kind in South Florida--this evening at 6 p.m. in the Storer Auditorium in the School of Business Administration (5250 University Drive, Coral Gables).
What is a Center for the Humanities? According to Director Mihoko Suzuki it's a way to bring the public--and other local universities--into a larger discussion about issues that center around art, interpretative social science, pedagogy, and literature. Technically speaking, it's an non-degree-giving entity within a university that sponsors lectures, panels, and other educational events that aren't limited by departmental or even organizational constraints. First founded in the United States a little over 50 years ago, Centers for the Humanities allow universities to host visiting scholars and open their doors to non-affiliated individuals.
Tonight's lecture is a great example. The Center is hosting Marjorie Garber, who is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English and of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. She'll be presenting a talk on "Shakespeare, the Humanities, and Modern Culture"; in other words, how the works of Shakespeare continue to inform modern life and literature. The free lecture is followed by a cocktail reception. (To RSVP, call 305-284-1580.)
Right now, the Center's offices in 123 Ashe are being re-modeled, but the new center hopes to occupy them by the end of the calendar year. And in the future, Dr. Suzuki is hoping to build a free-standing Center, similar to the Hall Center at Kansas University.
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"But right now, we just want people to learn that we're doing these events and to know that they should come," she says.