EVENT Apr 26
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Designing Our Future: Humanities-Centered Teaching, Learning, and Thinking in the 21st Century

Categories: Digital Humanities, Interdisciplinary, Pedagogy, Popular Culture, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy
Event Date: 2024-04-26 Abstract Due: 2024-04-26

Call for Proposals for Special Issue

Interdisciplinary Humanities

Designing Our Future: Humanities-Centered Teaching, Learning, and Thinking in the 21st Century


Katy Hanggi, Chair & Associate Professor, Dept. of Focused Inquiry, Virginia Commonwealth University

Julianna Grabianowski, Assistant Professor of Business, Doane University

Jared List, Associate Professor of Spanish, Doane University

Special Issue Description

What does the future hold for the humanities? Now, perhaps more than ever, the humanities have the opportunity and the urgency to innovate and adapt to the shifting dimensions of the twenty-first century. The humanities provide valuable habits of minds and skills that prepare students for their professional and personal lives. They teach us about the human condition: how we relate to each other; how we understand and work with differing perspectives; how we express ourselves; how we act ethically; and, how we better come to know ourselves. The disciplined university has traditionally organized the humanities within majors, minors, certificates, and general education courses. This structure creates silos where subjects are taught within a particular discipline with an occasional slippage into other disciplines. With the increasing corporatization of the university and the shrinking of higher education, the humanities have become subject to market forces and student demand, positioning academics to continually demonstrate the “value” of their program, degree, or course.

To push against this rigid structure, some colleges and universities are being creative and innovative with the humanities. Some are trying to infuse the humanities in places where traditionally they have been absent, and some are reconceptualizing and repackaging them. For example, how do the humanities give us a roadmap to determine the ethical boundaries of the non-human, cyborgian networks of knowledge generated by artificial intelligence? Or, how does the growing emphasis on incorporating multidisciplinary “real-world” problem-solving in general education courses demonstrate the necessity of humanities thinking? 

Thus, this special issue which aims to highlight the strategies and unique ways in which we are adapting and responding to the shifts in higher education. What we note is rather than a focus on disciplinary content, we see an emerging emphasis on humanities thinking and its “real-world” application. We have obstacles to confront and many possibilities before us. For example, the pandemic has shown that higher education can pivot quickly, and with those changes, many of us are seeing the speed of change continue to increase amidst the challenges colleges and universities face. Do we continue to operate within and make small changes to the siloed structures that have defined the American university? Or can we imagine new configurations and ways of thinking about our disciplines, courses, and pedagogies that empower us to design our futures?  


Accordingly, we invite scholars to contribute essays that engage with the following questions: 

How do we center the humanities in interdisciplinary work through meaningful and productive collaborations?
How do we design humanities courses or programs that generate student interest and demonstrate their value?
How do we survive the shrinking of higher education amidst an unknown future?
In what ways can the humanities be positioned as central to institutions’ strategic priorities?
How can we capitalize on higher education’s emphasis on experiential learning and career preparedness to strengthen our offerings?
How can innovative pedagogies inform new approaches to the humanities?
How can online learning be leveraged to extend the reach of what the humanities tell us how to relate to another?
How does the growth of generative AI impact humanities education in productive, innovative ways?
What are institutions’ creative responses to the obstacles of interdisciplinarity?
How do we prepare graduate students for a higher education landscape that is unlikely to provide them with full-time employment in academia?
How are community colleges drawing connections between the humanities and workforce readiness? 

Proposal Submission Guidelines and Process

Submit essay proposals to futureofthehumanities@gmail.com by Friday, April 26, 2024, including the following information: 

Proposed essay title
Abstract of 250 words 
Name(s) of author(s) and academic affiliation(s)
Brief bio(s) (100 words of less) of author(s)


Essay Guidelines

Essays will meet the following norms:

5,000 to 7,000 words (including notes) 
double spaced, 12-points Times New Roman font, 1” fully-justified margins
adheres to latest version of The Chicago Manual of Style
Endnotes only (notes should show full citations followed by shortened citations for the same sources; single-spaced and 10-points Times New Roman font))
no bibliography
quotes over three lines in length need to be in a free-standing block of text with no quotation marks, indented on the left side of the block, and starting the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented 1/2 inch from the left margin while maintaining double-spacing;
permissions to reprint images and illustrations, if any, are the responsibility of the author and should be arranged for and paid before submitting the article;
sent electronically in MS Word file to editors

Important Dates and Timeline

Essay proposals deadline: Friday, April 26, 2024
Notification of accepted essay proposals: Friday, May 10, 2024
Completed essay deadline: Friday, September 20, 2024
Anticipated publication: Spring/Summer 2025



Essay proposals will be evaluated on relevance to topic, originality, and clarity. Essay drafts will undergo a double-blind peer review process where reviewers will evaluate originality, clarity, and documentation, and scholarly contribution to decide if the essay is suitable for publication, in need of revision, or not publishable.  

About the Journal
We encourage you to take a look at past issues here to familiarize yourself with the journal and the published works. Per HERA’s website, “The Humanities Education and Research Association's Scholarly Journal: Interdisciplinary Humanities is a refereed scholarly journal, published three times a year. The journal accepts articles that deal with ‘any learning activities with content that draws upon human cultural heritage, uses methods that derive from the humanistic disciplines, and has a purpose that is concerned with human values.’ Articles dealing with the interdisciplinary humanities or humanities education at all levels (K-12, college, and adult learning) are welcome, as are creative works of poetry, fiction and non-fiction that reflect the journal's interests and the themes of specific issues.” 


Katy Hanggi, Julianna Grabianowski, Jared List