Texas Tech University


Humanities Spotlight: Founding Board Member Monte Monroe appointed State Historian by Governor Abbott

Monte Monroe

For more information about Monroe's award, please visit Humanities Spotlight.

2018-19 Theme: PLAY

Theme Logo

Play is for children; it's for animals; it's for athletes, musicians, actors, gamblers, dreamers, teachers, parents, and others. It denotes triviality, involvement, artifice, experimentation, and flexibility. PLAY crosses disciplines and invites all kinds of thinkers to the table. PLAY shows up in idioms such as "pay to play," "play house," "play around," "play back," "in play," "play by ear," and "play both sides against the middle." People play the field, play the stock market, play games, and play it safe. We play via our bodies, our imaginations, and, increasingly, via myriad computer gaming programs. We also play with ideas in our minds as we contemplate innovation, personal changes, research, and creative endeavors of all sorts. In his classic text Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture, Johan Huizinga articulates two basic aspects of play. It is "a contest for something or a representation of something."

The Humanities Center's 2018-2019 themed events will be realized across several platforms, including a guest lecture series, an interactive kiosk exhibit, a museum exhibit, a film series, a reading colloquium, the presence of the Visiting Scholar, and an anticipated interdisciplinary conference at the end of March. All iterations are open to addressing PLAY as psychological phenomenon, facet of social development, business, metaphor, or umbrella manifest in such things as gaming, professional sports, or the performing arts.


Welcome to the Humanities Center at Texas Tech. The Center's raison d'être is to shift the narrative from any particular discipline or college to the positive and integral humanities "brand." The Center is an umbrella for humanities thinking. It is a neutral space outside departments and colleges. Please browse through our website to learn more about public events, funding opportunities, future plans, and our history.

The humanities are the natural history of culture, and our most private and precious heritage. —Edward O. Wilson


Upcoming Events

                • Apr 23

                  "Going Gonzo"

                   with Judd Ruggill & Ken McAllister

                  5:30 pm, Traditions Room, TTU SUB


                • apr25


                  Visiting Fellow Talk:
                  Oenone Kubie

                  5:30 pm, Senate Room, Student Union Building


 All Events 


Humanities winners at 2018 Faculty Honors Convocation

2018 Faculty Winners

Seven present or former Humanities Center Fellows and the Center's Founding Director received awards at the 2018 Faculty Honors Convocation in April. Pictured above are (left to right) John Poch (English), Victoria Surliuga (CMLL),  Dorothy Chansky, Founding Director of the Humanities Center (Theatre & Dance), Julie Zook (Architecture), and Idoia Elola (CMLL.) To learn more about the winners and awards, please visit: Humanities Spotlight.

2018 Humanities Center Fellows

2018 Fellows

Bottom row, left to right: Ali Duffy (Theatre & Dance), Min-Joo Kim (English), and Lynn Whitfield (Southwest Collection); Second row, left to right: Sydnor Roy (CMLL), Dorothy Chansky (Founding Director, Humanities Center), and Ryan Hackenbracht (English); Third row, left to right: Howard Curzer (Philosophy) and Emily Skidmore (History); Top row, left to right: Aaron Braver (English), Kristen Michelson (CMLL), and Julie Couch (English). Not pictured: Matthew Hunter (English), Roger McNamara (English), John Poch (English), Lucas Wood (CMLL), Elissa Zellinger (English), Wyatt Phillips (English) and Visiting Fellow Yeonhaun Kang. Photograph by Neal Hinkle.


What are the humanities?

Journalism professor Ted Gup posits that history "is a canvas upon which the paint never dries." Humanities scholarship is work on that canvas—work investigating what it is to be human in all its complexity and typically involving critical arguments predicated on deep research into textual, visual, and material evidence.

Why do the humanities matter?

Humanities work investigates questions that motivate and trouble humans in relation to their very status as humans: citizens of the cosmos, of cultures, and of communities. As Nathaniel P. Hitt noted in a 2015 New York Times essay linking environmentalism and ethics, "Science is like a compass. It can tell us where north is, but it can't tell us if we want to go north." That is, arguably, where the humanities come in—helping us think about where, how, and why a trip north might (or might not) be worth undertaking or investigating how and why humans in earlier times or other places did what they did about trips north.

How is humanities research conducted?

Humanities scholars typically use texts, artifacts, and images to investigate phenomena that engage them. The discovery of previously unearthed data makes up the first step in some humanities work; critical interpretation of evidence is the hallmark of good humanities scholarship. The expert reads and looks in light of the best and most recent important work. Humanities research takes place in archives, at specific sites, in the presence of original works of art, and in the solitary realm of the library.


Humanities Center