"Re-Shaping the Future of Graduate Education in the Humanities;" A Symposium

deadline for submissions: 
December 1, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
University of South Florida
contact email: 

The University of South Florida is pleased to announce a call for presentations for its Symposium on “Re-Shaping the Future of Graduate Education in the Humanities.”

There is no shortage of experts declaring the death of the Humanities on university campuses throughout the United States. Politicians question the “value” of a humanities-based graduate education while students uneasily balance a need for professionalization with a desire for intellectual exploration. A defeatism has often hampered students and professors as they both struggle to understand the shifting dynamics of graduate education in the Humanities.

That defeatism has been combated by many activists, intellectuals and educators who, across campuses and fields, are working toward re-inventing what it means to engage in humanitarian work both inside and outside the academy. The “crisis” within the humanities includes facing national massive budget cuts, threats of departmental closures, and uncertainty of job security among faculty and students. But “crisis,” as Cedric Johnson reminds us, is fundamentally about agency—creating narratives to respond to issues that arise. This symposium is intended to move away from the defeatist and paternalistic attitude of those who are controlling the “crisis” narrative and instead dialogue with graduate students, faculty and administrators who are using this moment to intervene and shape the humanities in ways that respect and evolve our discipline. Innovation, creativity, and further advocacy of humanities education will restore its relevancy in the current technologically dynamic century and create new narratives that show the active role(s) Humanities play in academia and our society.

Although we believe most participants will be graduate students, we also envision this conference as being productive for, and enriched by, faculty and administrators who are interested in higher education reform.



Our two-day symposium is intended to move away from traditional modes of delivery and panels and move to one that is more collective and communal. Instead of having numerous panels where presenters give isolated talks, our vision is one of multiple conversations. We are honored to welcome both Dr. Paul Jay, professor of English at Loyola University Chicago and Dr. Steven Jones, professor and DeBartolo Chair of Digital Humanities at USF who will begin our conversation.  After each plenary, participants will then have the opportunity to attend, of their choosing, a number of roundtable breakout sessions for further dialogue. During these sessions, all participants will present short statements of introduction before invited session chairs will guide conversations that evolve from the issues brought up by the participants.

During these two days, there will be ample breaks over food and coffee for participants to meet together, strategize and informally converse on pertinent topics. On hand will also be advisors who will meet in one-on-one or small sessions and conduct CV, resume workshops and interview techniques.

Application: To be considered for admission to the conference, please send a 250-word abstract on a)who you are b) why you are interested in attending  the workshops and c)which breakout sessions you are MOST interested in presenting.

You may register on our website as well as browse for more information about the overall goals of our symposium here: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/reshape/