Texas Tech University


The Humanities Center at Texas Tech Announces Value/Values As Its Theme for 2023-2024

What is the difference between “value” and “values”?  Why does the plural form of the word connote morality while the singular suggests exchange?  What inheres in the word's basic meaning that unites these two seemingly disparate realms?  Etymologically, “value” stems from an Indo-European root meaning “to have strength.” More proximately, the word comes into English from French, via the Latin verb valeo.  Valeo connotes strength, health, and power, but is also used to describe the worth of goods as well as the meaning of words.  Strangely, the moral dimension that is so prominent in the word's modern versions is absent from its ancient precursor.  While an etymology controls a word's meaning no more than its other historical and social contingencies, this information does offer a point of entry for considering the discrepancy between these two senses of value.  

For 2023-2024, the Humanities Center at Texas Tech will program events around the theme Value/Values.  We will explore the range of meanings across these two words through conversations across humanities disciplines.  Among the questions that will frame our programming are:  What are the historical conditions—material, political, economic, social--that produce and exclude values? How does value entail practices of interpretation? How do we think about aesthetic value both in the past and today? How do different disciplinary frameworks render values legible? How do systems of political value produce systems of devaluation across identities and subject positions?  

Throughout the year, we will explore the friction between values and value—between pluralistic and normative conceptions of value. What are we doing, exactly, when we evaluate something?  And what does that mean about the assumptions we bring to our habit of assessment, moral and otherwise? 

September 2023 Humanities Featured Scholar

Dr. Theresa Flanigan

The Humanities Center is pleased to introduce our September 2023 Humanities Featured Scholar, Dr. Theresa Flanigan. To learn more about Dr. Flanigan, please visit: September 2023 Featured Scholar


Post-Doctoral Fellow

For more details on the 2023-2024 Post-Doctoral Fellowship call, see:

Post-Doctoral Fellowship






Donations to the Humanities Center assist all of our free programming and contribute to the research support we offer to faculty and graduate students.


Upcoming Events


HEALTH Conference Keynote: Dr. Gail Carlson     (Colby College)
"Perspectives on health and equity in the climate crisis"
The climate crisis is affecting human health in ways that are increasingly visible, including via increased heat-related illnesses, respiratory diseases and allergies, higher vulnerability to crop failures and food insecurity, mental health impacts, and shifting vector-borne disease burdens. These harms are disproportionately experienced by populations and communities who already suffer from inequities in health care and other socioeconomic and environmental conditions. Using an equity lens helps us better identify these health harms and recognize how actions to address climate change are also public health and social justice actions.

Gail Carlson directs the Buck Lab for Climate and Environment and teaches environmental public health and activism courses in the Environmental Studies Department at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. She is the author of Human Health and the Climate Crisis (Jones and Bartlett Learning, 2023). Her research includes characterizing environmental contamination by harmful pollutants, including PFAS “forever chemicals” and pharmaceutical and personal care product chemicals. Her research has been reported by numerous media outlets, including Marketplace on NPR, and her opinion writing about climate change and safer chemicals policies appears frequently in Maine newspapers. She lends her scientific expertise to legislative initiatives in Maine to protect public health from environmental hazards. Carlson received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Virtual Talk / 12:00 PM

Register for event at: https://texastech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMqfu-gqj4sEtHpmUszdqQsZ_7Lht_qXXau#/registration


HEALTH Conference Keynote: Dr. Rebekah Lee     (Oxford University)
"Recovering histories of health and patient communities: ‘New' sources for African pasts"
This keynote lecture offers preliminary thoughts on the problems and potentialities of  ‘decentring' the archive on health in Africa. Historical scholarship has, in recent decades, transformed our understanding of disease patterns and trajectories, local healing traditions and institutions, the perception and reception of biomedical interventions, and the complexities of ‘Africanizing' and ‘decolonizing' public health institutions. Yet, many silences and gaps remain in accounting for the health experiences of ordinary Africans and patient communities. This lecture explores novel approaches to ‘refiguring' the historical archives on health and medicine in the sub-Saharan African context, particularly through the collection of oral testimonies and illness narratives. It examines the multivalent registers and interpretive possibilities of these narratives, and considers the extent to which these oral texts serve as vehicles of historical ‘recovery' of the meaning and management of illness and health in Africa. Case studies will be drawn from continuing research on the history of death and of road accidents/road safety in South Africa and beyond. 

Senate Room - Student Union Building / 7:00 PM

Reception to follow - Lubbock Room, Student Union Building


For a complete list of events, please visit: UPCOMING EVENTS.


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