Texas Tech University

Humanities Spotlight

Humanities Graduate Students Share Their Experiences with the National Humanities Center

Aksoy Sepulveda
Yerko Sepulveda (Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures) and Ahmet Aksoy (College of Media and Communication) are two of the Texas Tech graduate students in the humanities we have sponsored for residencies with the National Humanities Center in the past year. Here, they recount their experiences with the NHC.

Yerko Sepulveda:
Participating in the summer residency at the National Humanities Center this past summer was one of the most enriching experiences I have had during my doctoral studies. During the residency, we specifically concentrated on creating meaningful online learning experiences for our undergraduate students, and we did so with the vision of passionate teaching in the research environment. This topic could have not been more fitting since we were experiencing the first effects of the pandemic in our everyday life, teaching, and research. I appreciated how the entire residency was focused on bridging theory and practice. We learned from researchers and practitioners who take pride in effective learning beyond traditional lecturing. My biggest takeaway was the power of collective thinking since we explored topics considering the diverse perspectives of the residents who were representing different fields in the humanities. If we do not embark on transdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research and practice, we will never achieve a systemic view of the world that will give us the tools to continue exploring the complexities of the societies we live in today.

Ahmet Aksoy:
As instructors, we play an essential role in educating the future generations of our societies. Whether in a small, large, or online classroom instructors, must be up to date on the most effective and best pedagogical practices. We have seen this even more prominent in these times, with online learning. At the National Humanities Center's Graduate Winter Residency, I learned this firsthand. Not only has this experience aided in enhancing my teaching abilities but, it has also supported my research endeavors. Through their educational sessions and projects, I can examine effective communication pedagogical practices in hopes to better understand the most effective ways our students take in information and learn.

I am grateful to the Humanities Center at Texas Tech for giving me this opportunity. As a result, I am ever more connected to the frameworks and practices to research and implement effective ways to teach humanities to future generations.

Conversations with Food

Conversations with FoodThe Humanities Center is please to announce the publication of an anthology generated from our 2018 "Food and..." Conference. Conversations With Food (Vernon Press 2020) offers readers an array of essays revealing the power of food (and its absence) to transform relationships between the human and non-human realms; to define national, colonial, and postcolonial cultures; to help instantiate race, gender, and class relations; and to serve as the basis for policymaking. Food functions in these contexts as items in religious or secular law, as objects with which to bargain or over which to fight, as literary trope, and as a way to improve or harm health—individual or collective. The anthology ranges from Ancient Greece to the posthuman fairy underworld; from the codifying of French culinary heritage to the strategic marketing of 100-calorie snacks; from the European famine after the Second World War to the lush and exotic cuisines of culinary tourism today. "Conversations With Food" will engage anyone interested in discovering the disciplinary breadth and depth of food studies. The anthology is ideally suited for introductory and advanced courses in food studies, as it includes essays in a range of humanities and social science disciplines, and each author draws cross-disciplinary linkages between their own work and other essays in the volume. This thematic and conceptual intercalation, when read with the editors' introduction, makes the collection an exceptionally strong representation of the field of food studies.

The anthology was edited by Dorothy Chansky, Professor in the School of Theatre and Dance and founding Director of the TTU Humanities Center. Her co-editor, Sarah W. Tracy is the Edith Kinney Gaylord Presidential Professor of the History of Medicine and Food Studies at the University of Oklahoma Honors College.

Further information about Conversations with Food can be found at Vernon Press.

Graduate Student Achievement

Shappell Aksoy RecognitionThe Humanities Center at Texas Tech congratulates graduate students Brody Shappell and Ahmet Aksoy on their recent achievements.

Out of a state-wide call for artists, Brody--a first-year Ph.D. student in English--was selected to participate in a series of collaborative workshops culminating in a group exhibit and book entitled In a Time of Change: Boreal Forest Stories. The transdisciplinary exhibit will be presented at the Bear Gallery in Fairbanks, Alaska in May, 2022 and will feature multiple artists and humanists working in a variety of media, following regular interactions with scientists, to produce original works that communicate narratives rooted in the boreal forest, including its ecology, its inhabitants, and their interactions.

Ahmet, a Ph.D. student in Media and Communication, will represent Texas Tech at the National Humanities Center's online Winter 2020 graduate student residency, "How to Create Meaningful Online Learning Communities." Ahmet will interact in that residency with notable researchers from all over the country.

2020 Alumni College

Alumni College

Homecoming Week on the Texas Tech campus has included the Humanities Center's annual Alumni College event for the past five years. Alumni College showcases the excellent research of Texas Tech humanities scholars. Each year, the Humanities Center selects up to twelve fellows, who receive funding and who present their work at Alumni College. This year's sixth annual Alumni College will look a little different since the Center is unable to hold our in-person, public event. In order to remain true to our tradition of bringing Alumni College funded research to a broad public, our fellows will present their research via Humanities Now, the Humanities Center's monthly podcast. The monthly episodes, beginning in February, will each feature three of the 2020 Alumni College Fellows. To learn more about the 2020 Alumni College Fellows, please visit: 2020 Alumni College Fellows.

Humanities Now, can be found wherever you get your podcasts or by visiting: HUMANITIES NOW.

Humanities Working Group:
The Medieval and Renaissance Studies Center

The Humanities Center at Texas Tech is proud to announce its newest funded Working Group, The Medieval and Renaissance Studies Center. Working Groups are three-year funded projects sponsored by the Humanities Center and the Office of Research and Innovation. These awards support innovative thinking and a trans-disciplinary research culture at Texas Tech. The Medieval and Renaissance Studies Center joins earlier working groups funded by the Humanities Center on The Animal in the Humanities and Chicanx Feminism.

The Medieval and Renaissance Studies Center (MRSC) working group is co-directed by Dr. Janis Elliott, Associate Professor of Medieval Art History and Dr. Angela Mariani, Professor of Musicology. The MRSC is dedicated to the advancement of Medieval and Renaissance studies at Texas Tech, in the State of Texas, and in the lands beyond. It currently supervises a graduate certificate program in medieval and Renaissance studies, provides some conference participation support for students working in these areas, and sponsors guest lectures and other activities related to medieval and Renaissance studies. Whereas traditional academic programs are organized to support their own specific perspectives and programs, the Center seeks to unite faculty and students interested in medieval and Renaissance area studies that transcend disciplinary boundaries. It seeks to enhance campus, state, and national knowledge about Texas Tech programs already in place. The Center, approved in 2011, is located administratively within the College of Arts and Sciences and is also funded in part by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of Research and Innovation.

Janis ElliottJanis Elliott is Associate Professor of Art History in the School of Art. Her research focuses on 14th-century Italian church decoration and art patronage in Southern Italy under the first four rulers of the Angevin monarchy (1266-1382). Her interests relate to kingship and queenship, circles of art patronage and prosopography across the kingdom. She co-edited the highly-acclaimed book, The Church of Santa Maria Donna Regina: Art, Iconography and Patronage in Fourteenth-Century Naples, 2004, and Import/Export: Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in the Kingdom of Naples, 1266-1713 - Special Issue of Art History 31, 4 (2008). Dr. Elliott is a proponent of Digital Art History. She has used ArcGIS to create ground plans of churches and maps of their towns. Her website, Mapping Angevin Southern Italy: Royal and Aristocratic Church Patronage, offers information on patrons and artworks with relevant bibliography for several churches in Naples and the Kingdom of Naples.

Angela MarianiAngela Mariani is Professor of Musicology and director of the Texas Tech Collegium Musicum at the Texas Tech University School of Music. She received her doctoral degree from the Historical Performance Institute at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. Dr. Mariani studied medieval music with Thomas Binkley, Benjamin Bagby, and Barbara Thornton, and was a founding member of Altramar medieval music ensemble, who toured internationally and recorded seven CDs for the Dorian label. Since 1991, she has hosted the nationally syndicated public radio program Harmonia. Her book Improvisation and Inventio in the Performance of Medieval Music was published by Oxford University Press in 2017. A more complete bio can be found at Angela Mariani.

Click The Medieval and Renaissance Studies Center for more information about the Center.

National Humanities Center Summer Residency Program

2020 Summer Residency

This summer, the Humanities Center at Texas Tech sponsored three graduate students' participation in the National Humanities Center's Graduate Student Summer Residency. While the COVID-19 pandemic forced this year's residency to move to completely virtual delivery, Texas Tech doctoral students Khaleel Abusal (English), Meghalee Das (English), and Samantha Lack (History), were all fortunate to participate from a distance between July 13-17. Entitled "Passionate Teaching in the Research Environment: How to Create Meaningful Online Learning Experiences," this year's iteration of the NHC residency offered our graduate students a week of intensive training in digital pedagogy from nationally recognized humanities scholars. As Khaleel Abusal summarized at the close of the residency, participation "helped me in building effective online teaching environment, creating accessible syllabi, teaching in diverse contexts, developing visual note-taking strategies, wringing meaningful information from course evaluations and using it to improve my teaching." Meghalee Das agreed, noting that the experience "was intense but we covered so many important topics, and had a chance to interact with speakers and participants from different fields in the humanities." Samantha Lack adds: "The program will help me when I am on the job market and I am already planning on working with the center in the future."

The Humanities Center is grateful for this collaboration with the National Humanities Center, and congratulates these exemplary graduate students again on their participation in this important initiative.

Pictured above: top right Khaleel Abusal; bottom left Meghalee Das; and bottom right Samantha Lack.

2020 Humanities Center-Affiliated Faculty Award Winners

2020 Faculty Awards

Numerous Humanities Center-Affiliated Faculty were recognized as recipients of 2020 Faculty Honors. Below is a list the faculty members that were honored.

President's Faculty Book Awards
Amy Koerber - 1st place, College of Media and Communication

Megan Condis - 2nd place, College of Media and Communication

Curtis Bauer - 3rd place, College of Arts and Sciences

Barnie E. Rushing, Jr. Faculty Distinguished Research Award - Social Science, Humanities, and Creative Arts disciplines
Susan Larson, College of Arts and Sciences

President's Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Awards
Aliza Wong, Honors College and College of Arts and Sciences

Rob Peaslee, College of Media and Communication

Andy Gedeon, Museum of Texas Tech University

2020 President's Excellence in Teaching Professorships
Ali Duffy, J.T. and Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts

Nancy J. Bell Faculty Excellence in Mentoring Award
Emily Skidmore, College of Arts and Sciences

Zachary Brittsan, College of Arts and Sciences

2020 Integrated Scholars
Emily Skidmore, College of Arts and Sciences

For a complete list of faculty award winners, click here: 2020 Faculty Awards

JUSTICE Art Contest Exhibit opens at First Friday Art Trail

Skidmore LGBTQIA

To view photos of the art exhibition, please visit JUSTICE Art Photos.



2020 Visiting Fellow Ross Forman

Skidmore LGBTQIARoss G. Forman teaches in the English and Comparative Literary Studies Department at the University of Warwick (UK), where he is Associate Professor of Anglophone Nineteenth-century Literature and Culture. Trained at Harvard and Stanford, he specializes in Britain's relationship with East and Southeast Asia (as well as Brazil) during the long nineteenth century. He is the author of China and the Victorian Imagination (Cambridge University Press, 2013), which was a winner of the Rudikoff Prize for Best First Book in Victorian Studies in 2015. He has published in a variety of journals, including Victorian Studies, Victorian Literature and Culture, and Genre, and is author of the chapter on “Empire” in the Cambridge Companion to the Fin de Siècle. He has a piece forthcoming on the reception of the Oscar Wilde trials in Brazil in a special issue of Victorian Literature and Culture, due out in 2020.

His current research is a monograph entitled Asian Matters, British Viewpoints. This project surveys the multiple, nuanced ways in which Britons have been transforming, ingesting, and, indeed, creating Asia since the 1840s. Challenging the primacy of imperialism in India in studies of Britain's role in nineteenth-century globalization, the book undertakes an examination of the material and popular culture generated out of Britain's contact with and investment in East Asia and Southeast Asia. Two key areas of interest are international exhibitions in the 1880s and 1890s, where millions were exposed to the often-interactive displays mounted by/for China and Japan, and foodways, with a particular interest in the development of Asian restaurants (often hosted at the exhibition spaces themselves) and cookbooks. An important element of this study involves archival research on the workers brought over to Britain and its colonies from Asia to staff the restaurants, shops, and performances that the exhibitions fostered. This project engages with the fundamental concepts surrounding what it means to be human and the development and interpretation of human rights during the long nineteenth century.

Dr. Forman will be on campus throughout the 2020 spring semester. He will office in Drane Hall. Please stop by the Humanities Center and get to know this distinguished fellow.

To learn more about Dr. Forman, please visit: ROSS FORMAN.


On Wednesday, October 16, 2019, the Humanities Center held the fifth annual ALUMNI COLLEGE in the Student Union Building. The event featured talks from eleven  fellows from across many humanities disciplines.

To view photos from the event, please click the group image below. 

2019 Alumni College Fellows

2019 Alumni College Fellows pictured above are as follows: (Bottom row, left to right) Katie Langford (Communication Studies), William Tortorelli (CMLL), Lauren Griffith (SASW), Aaron Braver (English) and Brendan Regan (CMLL); (Top row, left to right) Callie Kostelich (English), Pamela Zinn (CMLL), Lisa Phillips (English) and Michael Borshuk (Humanities Center Interim Director). Not pictured: Kanika Batra (English), Costica Bradatan (Honors College), Andrew Hinton (Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive). Photograph by Neal Hinkle.

Humanities Center Advisory Board Member Emily Skidmore recognized as 2019 Ted Jim Dotts, Jr. and Betty Shewbert Dotts Faculty Ally of the Year

Skidmore LGBTQIA Congratulations to Dr. Emily Skidmore, Humanities Center Advisory Board Member, on being named the 2019 Ted Jim Dotts, Jr. and Betty Shewbert Dotts Faculty Ally of the Year. Dr. Skidmore received the award during the fourth annual Lavender Graduation was held May 16. LGBTQIA students and those committed to their practice of 'allyship' from Texas Tech University participated. Pictured (left to right): Carol Sumner (Vice President of the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion), Viet Nguyen (HDFS student) , Emily Skidmore (Humanities Center Advisory Board Member, Dept. of History), Cathy Duran (Vice Provost, Student Affairs), and Grace Rogers (Lubbock PFLAG.)

The Ted Jim Dotts, Jr. and Betty Shewbert Dotts Ally of the Year is awarded to a member of the faculty and staff for demonstrating meritorious effort toward improving the climate, diversity, and inclusivity at Texas Tech University and the City of Lubbock.
In 1993, Rev. and Mrs. Dotts co-founded the Lubbock Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Still in operation today, this organization has served countless people facing adversity because of who a member of their family or friend loves or how they identify and/or present their gender.

Following the compassion and humility shown by the Dotts and many others, this honor is bestowed on a faculty and staff member who works to increase awareness of issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) individuals through education, organizing, and advocacy. Regardless of whether the their efforts are seen or unseen, the impact of their work touches the lives of many and the community is thankful.

Their commitment is best demonstrated with their unwillingness to accept tolerance as the gold standard towards those with varying sexual orientations and/or gender identities. Rather, they strive for affirmation and celebration of our shared human diversity.

For more information about The Office of LGBTQIA Education & Engagement, please visit: LGBTQIA

2019 Humanities Center-Affiliated Faculty Award Winners

Numerous Humanities Center-Affiliated Faculty were recognized on April 17, 2019 at the annual Faculty Honors Convocation. Pictured below with TTU President Lawrence Schovanec are: (top left) President's Excellence in Teaching Awardee Justin Keene (Media & Communication); (top right) President's Faculty Book Award First Place Angela Mariani (Visual & Performing Arts); (bottom left) President's Faculty Book Award Second Place Emily Skidmore (History); (bottom right) President's Faculty Book Award Third Place Catherine Langford

2019 Winners

First Place:
Mariani, Angela (2017) Improvisation and Inventio in the Performance of Medieval Music: A Practical Approach Oxford University Press

Second Place:
Skidmore, Emily (2017) True Sex: The Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twentieth Century NYU Press

Third Place (tie):
Langford, Catherine (2017) Scalia V. Scalia: Opportunistic Textualism in Constitutional Interpretation University Of Alabama Press

Held, L. I., Jr. (2017) Deep Homology? Uncanny Similarities of Humans and Flies Uncovered by Evo-Devo. Cambridge University Press.

For a complete list of Faculty Awards please visit: Faculty Awards

Humanities Center Founding Board Member Monte Monroe appointed Texas State Historian by Governor Gregg Abbott

Monte Monroe On Wednesday, September 26th, Governor Gregg Abbott appointed Monroe Monroe, Ph.D. as the Texas State Historian for a term set to expire on September 26, 2020. As such, he is responsible for increasing public knowledge about the rich and diverse history of the state, encouraging the teaching of Texas history in public schools, consulting with state leaders to promote Texas history, and making presentations on Texas history topics.

Monte L. Monroe, Ph.D. of Lubbock is the archivist of the Southwest Collection and on faculty at Texas Tech University. Formerly editor of the West Texas Historical Review, he has taught and published widely on Texas history, serves on the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board, the boards of the West and East Texas Historical Associations, is chair of the Texas State Historical Association Archives Committee, is on the Executive Advisory Committee of the Handbook of Texas Women Online, and is a former board member for the Texas Map Society. He is a founding board member of the Humanities Center at Texas Tech, president of the Rotary Club of Lubbock Foundation, former president of the Downtown Rotary Club of Lubbock, and president of The Meriwether Society, Inc. He was formerly Secretary General of the Pan American Taekwondo Union, an International Master Instructor and International Referee in Taekwondo, and officiated that sport at the Seoul and Barcelona Olympic Games. Monroe received a Bachelor of Arts in literature and history from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in history from Texas Tech University.


Humanities Center Faculty Fellow Wins 2018 NEH Summer Stipend Grant

Brittsan Grant 

The Humanities Center congratulates Faculty Fellow Zachary Brittsan, Department of History, for being named a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities 2018 Summer Stipend grant. His project, "Trying Modernity: Murder and Justice in Mexico's Age of Conflict, 1847-1871" is one of 199 humanities projects receiving a total of $18.6 million from the NEH.

To learn more about Dr. Brittsan, please visit his profile page: Trying Modernity.

To learn more about the National Endowment for the Humanities, please visit: NEH.


2018 Humanities Center-Affiliated Faculty Award Winners

Seven present or former Humanities Center Fellows and the Center's Founding Director received awards at the 2018 Faculty Honors Convocation in April.

2018 Faculty Winners

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.)

President's Faculty Book Awards:
First Place - Victoria Surliuga (CMLL), 2016 Alumni College Fellow
Ezio Gribaudo: The Man in the Middle of Modernism (Glitterati, 2016)

President's Excellence in Research Professorships:
John Poch (English), 2018 Faculty Fellow
Dorothy Chansky (Theatre & Dance), Founding Director of the Humanities Center 
Howard Curzer (Philosophy), 2015 Alumni College Fellow
Julie Willett (History), 2017 Alumni College Fellow

President's Excellence in Teaching Professorship:
Idoia Elola (CMLL), 2016 Alumni College Fellow

President's Excellence in Teaching Award:
Idoia Elola (CMLL), 2016 Alumni College Fellow

TTU Alumni Association New Faculty Award:
Julie Zook  (Architecture), 2017 Alumni College Fellow

Donald R. Haragan Study Abroad Award:
Idoia Elola (CMLL), 2016 Alumni College Fellow


"Food and..." Conference Student Competition Winners

Category 1: Literary and Creative Arts
First Place - Amy Kim,  Suspension of Disbelief (photograph series)
Second Place - Sarah K. Spomer, Food and Illness: Emetophobia (jewelry piece)

Category 2: Scholarly Paper
First Place - Patrick Midgley, "Food and The Skriker: Consumption and Corruption in Churchill's Posthuman Fairy World"
Second Place - Chi Ha, "Food Talks: Culinary Transformation in Colonial Vietnam"

Pictured below are the 2018 student competition winners:
(kneeling left to right) Amy Kim and Patrick Midgley
(seated left to right) Sarah K. Spomer and Chi Ha 
Photograph by Ashley Rodgers.

Student Winners


Humanities Center Board Member Wins 2017 NEH Grant

NEH Swingen grant

The Humanities Center congratulates Board Member Abigail Swingen, Department of History, for being named a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities 2017 Summer Stipend grant. Her project, "The Financial Revolution and the British Empire during the 17th and 18th Centuries" is one of 208 humanities projects receiving a total of $21.7 million from the NEH. 

To learn more about Dr. Swingen's research, please visit: Financial Revolution.

To learn more about the National Endowment for the Humanities, please visit: NEH.


2017 President's Book Award Winners

Book Award

Award winners are listed below, as pictured above, left to right.

Third Place (tie): Dorothy Chansky (Theatre & Dance), Kitchen Sink Realisms: Domestic Labor, Dining, and Drama in American Theatre (University of Iowa Press, 2015).

Third Place (tie): Kent Wilkinson (Media & Communication), Spanish-Language Television in the United States: Fifty Years of Development (Routledge, 2015).

Second Place: Abigail Swingen (History), Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, Slavery, and the Origins of the British Empire (Yale University Press, 2015).

Not Pictured: First Place, Costica Bradatan (Honors College) for his book Dying for Ideas: The Dangerous Lives of the Philosophers (Bloomsbury, 2015). To learn more about Dr. Bradatan please visit: Costica Bradatan.