Bennett-Polonsky Humanities Labs
H-Labs are year-long, intensive collaborations involving both faculty and students from different disciplines across the university. Two H-Labs are active each year, one launching in September, the other in January. Lab concepts are proposed by self-assembled groups typically consisting of four or five faculty members from several disciplines and schools, and possibly also one or two humanities or arts practitioners. Concepts are broad-based, touching upon the complex experience of being human in today’s world and demanding investigation from a multitude of directions and approaches.
H-Lab teams consist of the faculty member organizers and a small group of graduate students, also from a variety of disciplines. Each team should have approximately 10-12 members and will meet (at a minimum) on a weekly basis over two semesters in a dedicated space outfitted for the lab. Faculty members receive a course reduction, with funds provided to the home department in support of replacement teaching, as needed.
In the first semester, the team discusses and analyzes readings, poses questions, proposes and carries out conceptual experiments, gathers data, and effectively functions as a research team, with members working both collectively and individually. This activity may be set up as a graduate-level course, for which graduate lab members would receive credit.
In the second semester, in addition to continuing to meet as a research team, H-Lab faculty members team-teach one or more 4-point undergraduate courses on the lab’s theme, thereby bringing research immediately into the undergraduate curriculum. Graduate student lab members lead 2-point practicums associated with the undergraduate course(s). These practicums include both experimentation and field-work outside the classroom, thereby providing undergraduates with experiential learning.
The year ends with an event hosted by the Center for the Humanities. The team is also expected to disseminate the H-Lab’s findings.
Dissemination of Findings
In addition to one or more undergraduate courses and practicums that run during the lab’s second semester, the findings of each lab are presented publicly. This may take any number of forms, including one or more of the following:
- Articles in peer-reviewed journals
- Articles in the popular press
- An edited collection of essays
- Public events or presentations
- Additional graduate or undergraduate courses
- Films, podcasts or other media
- Conference presentations
Past & Active H-Labs
- Digital Theory H-Lab (2018-19)
- Multi-Species H-Lab (2019-20)
- War H-Lab (2019-20)
- Radical Ecologies H-Lab (2020)
- Knowledge Alphabets (2020-21)