© photo by Jeff Day

Working Groups

In an effort to build community and foster interdisciplinary exchange on topics with a humanistic focus at New York University, the Center for the Humanities sponsors Working Groups grants. The Center envisions these grants as bringing together NYU faculty and graduate students in a carefully planned series of meetings on a focused topic in the humanities where interdisciplinary approaches are likely to be particularly fruitful. The Center expects that the work achieved by the Working Groups will generate new curricular offerings, publications, conferences, or collaborative faculty projects.

Current Working Groups

Music Theory for Whom?: A Comprehensive Reform of Music Theory Curricula Across NYU
Clifton Boyd, Assistant Professor, Music, Faculty of Arts & Science
Sarah Louden, Clinical Assistant Professor, Music and Performing Arts Professions, Steinhardt
Our working group will update music theory curricula at CAS (Music) and Steinhardt (Music and Performing Arts Professions) to center traditionally under-represented composers, popular musics, and musical traditions across the globe. For NYU to remain at the forefront of music studies, these conversations and this work surrounding anti-racism, decolonization, and globalization in music theory pedagogy are necessary and dire. Music Theory for Whom? will address the needs of our ever more diverse student body and contribute to national efforts to redefine who music theory serves and how it can inform one’s relationship with the music (and world) around them.

Steinhardt Decolonizing the Arts and Humanities
Janet Njelesani, Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy, Steinhardt
Amy Bentley, Professor, Food Studies and Nutrition, Steinhardt
The Steinhardt Decolonizing the Arts and Humanities Working Group will explore the critical question, “How can the arts and humanities address its legacy of colonialism and center equity and representation?” Participation from humanities and arts practitioners will build on existing NYU and Steinhardt collaborations to transform education and research by foregrounding the intersection of race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, and disability on knowledge production.

Critical Voices
Leo Ricardo Douglas, Clinical Assistant Professor, Liberal Studies
Manny Patole, Co-City Fellow and Assistant Research Scholar, Marron Institute for Urban Management
Critical Voices examines the relationship between environmentalism, biodiversity and racial justice to explore the role that histories of settler-colonialism and ongoing capitalist paradigms have played in approaches to the teaching, practice and academic study of environmental justice. The group addresses topics such as food justice, land degradation, and the climate crisis, and how indigenous, Black, Brown and front-line communities continue to be harmed and systematically silenced. The goal of these discussions is to develop new curricular offerings that center the voices of those on the front-line of the environmental crisis.

Re-Interdisciplining Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, Professor, History, Faculty of Arts & Science
Eugenio Refini, Associate Professor, Italian, Faculty of Arts & Science
Martha D. Rust, Associate Professor, English, Faculty of Arts & Science
The Med-Ren working group coalesces around the question “How do we do the discipline of Medieval and Renaissance Studies now?” We are “now” at a moment when symbols of our linked historical periods (roughly 500-1700) are evoked by groups promulgating hate and division (e.g., the appropriate of pre-modern culture to the cause of white supremacy). “Now” is a moment when our discipline is traditionally called upon to offer “lessons of the past,” but now is also a moment that calls on us to use our discipline as a means of advancing new ways of imagining both present and future. As scholar, we are addressing these questions in conferences, publications, and position statements, but far-reaching and sustainable change requires groups working collaboratively to invigorate our discipline.

el taller
Abigail Balbale, Department of Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies, Faculty of Arts & Science
Robert Lubar, Institute of Fine Arts, Faculty of Arts & Science
S.J. Pearce, Department of Spanish & Portuguese, Faculty of Arts & Science
el taller is an inclusive intellectual community designed to foster humanistic inquiry and collaboration relating to the arts, literatures, cultures, and histories of the Iberian Peninsula at home and abroad, with an open view of periodization and linguistic identity. The group includes a wide range of scholars who focus, from different disciplinary, temporal, geographic, and linguistic perspectives, on the cultural history of the Iberian Peninsula and its global reach.


Past Working Groups