Now U know: What is the Tanner Humanities Center?

You may be familiar with the College of Humanities and have even attended class or grabbed coffee inside the Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building, but what, then, is the Tanner Humanities Center?

Founded in 1988 as the Utah Humanities Center in the College of Humanities, the Tanner Humanities Center seeks to advance “humanities exploration and engagement through academic research, educational enrichment and public outreach.” They do this by supporting innovative scholarly projects and creating opportunities for interaction among scholars, students and lifelong learners.

“Exchange is the common thread weaving together the many research, teaching and outreach programs the Center offers,” said Erika George, director of the Tanner Humanities Center. “Our support for research incubates new ideas. Our support for teaching enables educators to explore new ways to share ideas—both on and off campus. We introduce new ideas to new audiences through our public lectures and programs. We bring people together to exchange ideas. Our new Tanner Talks bring leading interdisciplinary scholars, public figures, faculty, and students together for open, unscripted conversations about contemporary challenges confronting humanity.”

In 1995, the center was endowed through a generous gift from the family foundation of Obert C. Tanner—renowned entrepreneur, philanthropist and professor emeritus of philosophy—and renamed for Tanner and his wife, Grace.

In fall 2008, the Tanner Humanities Center moved from the U’s Carlson Hall to the first floor of the Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building. This move enabled the center to house administrative and fellowship offices in one area, offer convenient and professional meeting and conference spaces and cultivate close relationships with the College of Humanities and other schools, colleges, centers, departments and programs with its central campus location.

Since then, the center’s directors and staff members have worked diligently to expand programs, reach new audiences, diversify funding sources and elevate the center’s profile in Utah, the country and the world.

“I believe we can learn to think critically and to solve complex problems with creativity through examining the Humanities,” said George. “I believe we can learn to understand our changing world and appreciate others in it by increasing our capacity for empathy through exploring the Humanities. I believe humanity needs the Humanities perhaps more urgently now than ever to see what stands between us and what stands before us as we move forward.”

The Tanner Humanities Center invites all members of the campus community and beyond to get involved in these efforts by attending some events and getting to know them on social media. Find links to their events and social accounts below.

Now U know!

Upcoming events

Tanner Humanities Center Presents: A Conversation with Martha S. Jones

Martha S. Jones

Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021 | 12 p.m. | Virtual
Register here.

Professor Martha S. Jones is the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History at the SNF Agora Institute at The Johns Hopkins University. She is a legal and cultural historian whose work examines how Black Americans have shaped the story of American democracy. Jones is the author of "Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All" (2020), selected as one of Time's 100 must-read books for 2020. Jones is also author of "All Bound Up Together: The Woman Question in African American Public Culture 1830-1900" (2007) and co-editor of "Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women (University of North Carolina Press" (2015), together with many articles and essays.

Find more information here.

Tanner Talk with Safiya Noble

headshot of Safiya Noble

Safiya Noble

Thursday, March 4, 2021 | 12 p.m. | Virtual
Register here.

Safiya Umoja Noble is an associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the Department of Information Studies where she serves as the co-founder and co-director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2). She also holds appointments in African American studies and gender studies. She is a research associate at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford and has been appointed as a commissioner on the Oxford Commission on AI & Good Governance (OxCAIGG). She is a board member of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, serving those vulnerable to online harassment, and serves on the NYU Center Critical Race and Digital Studies advisory board. She is the author of a best-selling book on racist and sexist algorithmic bias in commercial search engines, entitled "Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism" (NYU Press), which has been widely reviewed in scholarly and popular publications.

Find more information here.

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