Think Your Liberal Arts Major Won’t Get You A Job? Humanities Ambassadors Disagree

The concern with not finding jobs after college haunts us starting senior year of high school until we find a decent job. And when we’re majoring in the humanities all those people asking ‘what are you gonna do with that?,’ they overwhelm, offend and confuse most of us.

However, there are a lucky few students who are proud to be humanities majors. Stephanie Lam, a sophomore majoring in English Literature, said she’s “not at all” concerned with what she will do after graduation.

“I knew what I wanted to do since I was thirteen,” she said, “I’m basically going to either be an editor in a publishing company or write for a fashion magazine. And of course all of that will be in conjunction with me being a novelist.”

And when someone asks her the what are you gonna do with that question she’s ready to answer.

“I probably would tell them that I’m passionate about it and that it’s actually quite beneficial to everyone because  you can’t only have the technical people. There are also the people who want to inspire others with words, and those who want to know a little bit of everything.”

But apparently professors are aware that some, unlike Lam, do fear not being able to find a job with a B.A in English.

“Every single professor in the department is actually stressing that point,” she said referring to the usefulness of the major.

Not every arts major is as proud and secure as Stephanie Lam. Mark Alexander is a sophomore majoring in Global Liberal Studies and  History. Mark said he is “always concerned” with what he’s going to do when he graduates.

“Unemployment is a worry of mine, but after I graduate from NYU I’m thinking of going to grad school either for a law degree or for a PhD in History,” he said.

He wants to be an active researcher, to teach History in University level, and maybe work in some form of think tank. He said that if he were only doing Global Liberal Studies he would be even more worried.

The NYU Humanities Ambassadors Club intends to deal with the issue of undergrad’s bewilderment when answering the what are you gonna do with that question. Their objective is to “strengthen the voice and identity of the humanities undergraduate student community, with a special focus on exploring how a humanities education can prepare students for a wide range of successful careers.”

Ravi Persuad, the club’s founder and a senior in CAS, said “I’m a History and classics major but I also want to go to law school. So when I would talk to people and I would say what my majors were, they would look at me like ‘oh…what are you gonna do with that.’ But then I would say that I want to go to law school and they would be like ‘oh oh oh you know what you’re doing something useful with your life.’ And I didn’t like that. I mean I think there are many valid careers I can pursue even if I don’t go to law school. I can be an archivist, I can be a teacher, I can go to business, I can be a paralegal.”

Community Manager of the Club Alex Braverman added “The response to being a humanities major is always sort of negative so part of the thing we wanted to do was like creating awareness that humanities isn’t a poor choice or a dumb choice. It’s just as valid as any other career option.”

This semester is the first one in which the club is up and running. On Wednesday evening they hosted an event that featured four panelists with successful humanities careers.

According to the sign-in sheets, 102 students attended the event.. Some of them out of passion, others out of fear and curiosity about what professionals had to say to calm them down, and most of them out of both. Maybe some attended because of the free food, too. The event was also recorded; unfortunately the refreshments couldn’t translate over the Internet.

The panelists introduced themselves and then sat on different tables with students to answer their questions. Students switched tables every 15 minutes to talk to other panelists. They appeared to be satisfied by having professionals tell them what they could do with their majors.

“We encourage anybody who is an undergraduate and thinks he or she can contribute and benefit from the club to join us,” Alex Taylor, co-president of the club and CAS sophomore, said.

“If there’s that student who’s pre-med or science major but does have a passion for the humanities that they’re not able to explore in their classes, this can be an outlet for them,” Carly Krakow, Gallatin sophomore and the club’s vice-president, said.

They are planning on moving forward to define the club by more than only events.

“We’re in talks about what we’re going to do next and we have a lot of exciting ideas. It’ll be a mixture of events of sort of collaborative projects, maybe a publication,” Taylor said.

So if you’re worried about your major and your career options, or if your parents and friends are asking you what are you gonna do with that, maybe joining this club will help you feel a little more at ease.

Read the original article on NYU Local.

April 3-5, ATISA VII: The Seventh Biennial Conference of the American Translation and Interpreting Studies Association

ATISA VII: The Seventh Biennial Conference of the American Translation and Interpreting Studies Association will be held on April 3-5, 2014.  The keynote speaker is Mona Baker of the University of Manchester who will speak on The Prefigurative Politics of Translation and Interpreting in Place-Based and Global Movements of Protest.

This event is co-sponsored by The Office of the Provost of NYU, The Dean of the College of Arts and Science of NYU and The Dean of SCPS of NYU. The Friday and Saturday sessions will be at the Woolworth Building. Download the full conference program:

Humanities Ambassadors host a Forum on the Future of the Humanities

On Friday, February 21st, the Humanities Ambassadors hosted a panel of three distinguished speakers for our kickoff event in a series of public gatherings that we will organize throughout the semester. The Forum on the Future of the Humanities, which took place at Kimmel Center, welcomed Dwai Banerjee, J.M. DeLeon, and Dania Hueckmann who spoke about their dissertation topics and how those projects have benefitted from their experiences with the humanities.

Dania Hueckmann discussed the interdisciplinary aspects of her work and her experiences with multiple departments and schools of thought until she reached the topic of revenge and its political, social, and cultural implications. Dwai Banerjee focused on how the humanities benefit doctors in making ethical decisions and assist them with understanding their patients, as well as help to explain things that don’t answer to biology or technology. J.M. DeLeon spoke of the necessity of self-indulgence as it relates to the arts and the value it brings to diversity of thought and multi-dimensional human experience. The forum then opened up to a lively Q&A session in which we discussed the challenges that we’ve all faced in our studies of the humanities and the ways that we can potentially navigate those obstacles in the future. We talked about the dynamic nature of the humanities especially in transcending academia, the value of interdisciplinary pursuits, as well as our visions for the transformation of the humanities in the future.

The Humanities Ambassadors thanks Dania, Dwai, and J.M. for joining us and for sharing such interesting and enlightening ideas. Please stay tuned for details about our next event which we will be hosting in mid-March.

Call for Applicants for the 2014-2015 Graduate Student Public Humanities Fellowship

The Humanities Initiative and the New York Council for the Humanities announce the call for applicants for the 2014-2015 Graduate Student Public Humanities Fellowship.

The Graduate Student Public Humanities Fellowship was developed in partnership by The Humanities Initiative and the New York Council for the Humanities to bring humanities scholarship into the public realm, encourage emerging humanities scholars to conceive of their work in relation to the public sphere, develop scholars’ skills for doing public work, and strengthen the public humanities community in New York State. The year-long Fellowship will involve a combination of training in the methods and approaches of public scholarship and work by the Fellow to explore the public dimensions of their own scholarship in partnership with a community organization serving public audiences.

Read more and apply today.

Great New Books in the Humanities: Alexandrian Cosmopolitanism: An Archive by Hala Halim


View more photos from this event

“To read Alexandrian Cosmopolitanism is to learn,” panelist Mark Sanders commented, “both as the author instructs and by the reader’s own formation.”

In this lively discussion of Hala Halim’s  recent book, Alexandrian Cosmopolitanism: An Archive (2013) panelists explored themes such as cosmopolitanism and class, eurocentrism, colonial subalternity, and the universalism of Alexandria.  Zachary Lockman posed a question about the strong foreign presence of Alexandria in the Egyptian context and both Helga Tawil-Souri and Karen Van Dyck commented on the impressive archive that Hala Halim has created with this book, contemplating the aesthetics of this archive and its foundational properties. Panelists raised questions about how issues of multilingualism and translation impact the poetry of Cavafy explored in the book.  The book asks the following questions: Was Alexandria ever cosmopolitan? And if it was, is it possible to think of such a thing as Alexandrian cosmopolitanism?  Is there something sui generis about Alexandria’s cosmopolitanism? When, by whom, and why was its cosmopolitanism construed as exemplary?

Apply now to join the leadership team of NYU’s first ever Humanities Ambassador Club for undergraduate students

Ambassadors-IliadAttention NYU Sophomores and Juniors: Apply now to join the leadership team of NYU’s first ever Humanities Ambassador Club for undergraduate students!

With support from the Humanities Initiative at NYU, the club will organize a series of events during the Spring 2014 semester to strengthen the voice and identity of the humanities undergraduate student community, with a special focus on exploring how a humanities education can prepare students for a wide range of successful careers.

Read more and apply:

Application deadline: November 20, 2013

Verdi’s Third Century: Italian Opera Today

An International Conference • New York University
October 9-13, 2013 • Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò and the Humanities Initiative

As we approach the 200th anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), interest in his operas remains undiminished. Verdi’s music continues to travel around the world in live performances and recordings, and new technologies–from the internet to high-definition simulcasts—have made opera accessible to broader audiences. The international conference Verdi’s Third Century: Italian Opera Today will bring together scholars, practitioners, and critics at New York University to discuss the circulation and perception of Verdi—and of Italian opera—in today’s world. A principal focus will be how Verdi’s works have been interpreted, imagined, and appropriated.

A keynote lecture will be presented by Pulitzer Prize winner Garry Wills (Northwestern University). Philip Gossett (University of Chicago), general editor of the Works of Giuseppe Verdi, will deliver a position paper. Speakers and session chairs include over thirty scholars and opera practicioners from the United States and Europe.

Session themes include “Visual Aspects in the Opera House and Beyond,” “Verdi in Production,” “Singers,” “Analyzing Verdi,” “Framing Verdi: Opera and Twenty-First-Century Popular Culture,” “Scores and Editions in Today’s Opera House,” and “Reception, National Identity, and Monuments.”

Verdi’s Third Century: Italian Opera Today  is organized by the American Institute for Verdi Studies and hosted by two of NYU’s key organizations: Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò and the Humanities Initiative.  The program committee of Verdi’s Third Century: Italian Opera Today includes Suzanne Cusick (New York University), Francesco Izzo (University of Southampton and American Institute for Verdi Studies), Roberta M. Marvin (University of Iowa), Hilary Poriss (Northeastern University), Emilio Sala (University of Milan and Istituto Nazionale di Studi Verdiani), and Mary Ann Smart (University of California, Berkeley).

Support for Verdi’s Third Century: Italian Opera Today is provided by the American Institute for Verdi Studies, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, the Humanities Initiative, the Department of Music, and the Office of the Dean for the Humanities.

View the full program here:

Online registration for Verdi’s Third Century: Italian Opera Today is now closed.   In-person registration will open at 5pm on Wednesday, October 9 at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, were the first session of the conference takes place that evening.

The Expanded field and other more fragile states of mind


Eve Meltzer reading from her new book, Systems We Have Loved: Conceptual Art, Affect, and the Antihumanist Turn (Univeristy of Chicago Press, 2013)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 6:30PM

Eve Meltzer is Associate Professor of Visual Studies at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Art History. Her first book, Systems We Have Loved: Conceptual Art, Affect, and the Antihumanist Turn (University of Chicago Press, 2013) situates the conceptual art movement in relation to the field of structuralist thought and offers a new framing for two of the most transformative movements of the 20th century and their common dream of the world as a total sign system.

“Re-Thinking Literature” Conference hosted by The Center for French Civilization and Culture

New York University’s Center for French Civilization and Culture will host “Re-Thinking Literature,” a conference that will consider the meaning and significance of “literature” today, September 19 through 21 at NYU’s Hemmerdinger Hall, Silver Center (100 Washington Square East [between Waverly and Washington Place]).

In the fall of 1966, Johns Hopkins University hosted “The Language of Criticism and the Sciences of Man,” a conference that drew some of the top French thinkers of the period—Paul de Man, Roland Barthes, Jean Hyppolite, Jacques Derrida, and Jacques Lacan—in a meeting with other European and American academics. The gathering, with presentations primarily given in French, helped launch a re-definition of literature by establishing a theoretical foundation for the written word.

Nearly 50 years later, NYU aims to update the exchanges that occurred in Baltimore, with an eye toward coming to a new understanding of literature. “Re-Thinking Literature” will bring together American and French philosophers, writers, theoreticians of literature, literary critics, and art critics to examine what, in the 21st Century, is understood when we speak about “literature.”

Speakers include: art critic and poet Peter Schjeldahl, poet and author Wayne Kestenbaum, author and playwright Helene Cixous, writer and filmmaker Jean-Philippe Toussaint, art critic and philosopher Boris Groys, Global Distinguished Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at NYU, and philosopher Avital Ronell, a University Professor in the Humanities at NYU.

The conference will go beyond familiar questions– “What is the situation of the writer today? What does literature mean today?”—and delve into today’s post-post-structuralism and what it means in an era when both the publishing industry and the academy are undergoing changes barely imagined in 1966. In doing so, the event will bring together some of today’s top literary minds—as well as philosophers, critics, and practitioners of art—for a series of presentations and exchanges that could also mark a re-setting of how we view the written word.

For a complete schedule of conference sessions, click here. The conference is free and open to the public. Entry is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call 212.998.8758.

Welcome to the new Humanities Initiative website!

iPad-Mockup-webWe are immensely proud to present a newly-relaunched website for the Humanities Initiative! Built from the ground up, our new home on the Internet has been designed to help you learn about our many events, grant programs, and activities. Among the many improvements, you’ll find a completely new event registration system, high quality photos and HD videos from events from the past few years to browse, and a redesigned way to apply for our funding programs (available soon). Accessibility is key: the new website functions equally as well on a large computer monitor as it does on a small iPhone or tablet.

Our goal with this redesign has been to integrate everything that you might need to know within one website, thereby streamlining the process of applying for Initiative fellowships and signing up for events. You now no longer have to leave to do either, as we’ve built in both applications and event confirmation.

Speaking of events, be sure to check out our new event calendar system! Events are now sortable into various categories (Great Books in the Humanities, Lectures in the Humanities, Digital_Humanities, and Special Events), making the browsing experience smooth and clear. Look out for guest posts ahead of our events this coming year; many of our speakers will be discussing their area of research in this space before they present, giving you an opportunity to learn more about the topic at hand, and interact with our guests before they speak at the Initiative. In addition, we hope to be able to continue the conversations online after the event is over. Don’t forget, you’ll find video of every event right here (in HD) a few weeks following, so you can refer back to the most intriguing moments, and share with friends and colleagues.

In addition, we are relaunching our Twitter and Facebook accounts to provide a more interactive link to the humanities at NYU, within New York City, and beyond. We’ve also retooled our email announcements, with a brand new design.

Take a look around and be sure to let us know what you think about the new Humanities Initiative website! We’re eager to share new content with you going forward.