Texas Tech University

2020-21 Annual Theme


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The Humanities Center Announces Forests as Its Annual Theme for 2020-2021

Something is afoot with the forest. Serious claims are circulating with regard to the cognitive capacities of plants. Recent research in forest ecology describes how trees establish symbioses with other life forms enabling them to communicate with their fellows and their offspring, warning of dangers, supporting their growth. Richard Powers's acclaimed novel The Overstory (2018) brings these observations to a head, depicting a series of human characters who act on the conviction that trees are reaching out to them, pleading, "The most wondrous products of four billion years of life need help."

Are these various expressions just metaphors, flights of fancy moving between literary and scientific representations? Or, is the ground starting to move underneath our customary certainties about human exceptionalism? What is indisputable at the current moment is that what it means to be human can no longer be set apart from what it means to be part of a planetary collective of other living beings.

The Humanities Center at Texas Tech's annual theme for 2020-2021 is Forests. Thinking with forests, the Humanities Center's program this coming year will address this narrowing of the traditional division between the human and the rest of life. We will bring diverse sides of the university and community together for collaboration, discussion, and debate, as we observe and interpret these gathering trends toward species communion.

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


CFP Annual ThemeThe Humanities Center is now accepting proposal applications for the 2021-2022 Annual Theme. Please click here for more information: ANNUAL THEME CFP.