Humanities Connection | WYPR

Humanities Connection

Thursday at 4:44 pm
  • Hosted by Hosted by: Maryland Humanities Executive Director Dr. Phoebe Stein

Humanities Connection explores the role of the humanities in our daily lives, and features lively reflections around topics like education, literature, health care, race, politics, religion, history, and more.

Joining Phoebe for each segment is a series of special guests, including Maryland Humanities partners, board members, and local humanists. The result is a mix of stories and conversation designed to shed light on the human experience and stimulate the intellectual curiosity of our listeners.

Archive Prior to 11/5/13

Theme music created by Brian Whaley at www.brianwhaleymusic.com

Visit Maryland Humanities to access additional resources, videos, and other dynamic content related to each segment.

Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities.

What are the humanities? The humanities explore the human experience. Through the humanities, we think about who we are – our ideas, our histories, our literature, our values – and how we relate to one another. The humanities include literature, history, philosophy, archaeology, languages, theology, jurisprudence, ethics, art history, architecture, and some disciplines of the social sciences.

How Civic Engagement Shaped Laurel, Maryland

Jul 12, 2018

How can ordinary Marylanders bring about change in their region? “We The People: How Civic Engagement Has Shaped Laurel,” the current exhibit at the Laurel Museum, delves into this question. Ann Bennett, Executive Director of the Laurel Historical Society, tells us more about the exhibit.

Early Women of Maryland Architecture

Jul 5, 2018

In 1925, Harvard Graduate School of Design didn’t offer women graduate degrees in architecture, but Victorine du Pont Homsey completed a certificate program with the same curriculum and professors. The Early Women of Architecture in Maryland exhibit, now at Dorchester Center for the Arts, features du Pont Homsey and 11 other women. The exhibit was supported in part by a grant from Maryland Humanities in 2015. Jillian Storms, curator of the exhibit, tells us more about the work of Victorine du Pont Homsey and this summer’s related programming.

The First American Saint

Jun 28, 2018

Did you know that the first American Saint lived in Maryland, where she opened the first free Catholic School for girls in the United States? Helen Jahn from The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton tells us more about the woman behind the sainthood.

Preserving the Past (Encore)

Jun 19, 2018
MARMIA

Siobhan Hagan, president and CEO of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Moving Image Archive tells us about the value of audio-visual preservation.

The Father of Modern Battlefield Medicine

Jun 14, 2018

Did you know that the very first use of an ambulance corps and medical triage in the United States occurred in Frederick, Maryland? Major Jonathan Letterman — called "The Father of Modern Battlefield Medicine" — instituted these essential medical practices during the Civil War’s Battle of Antietam. Jake Wynn of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine talks about battle’s impact on Frederick and Letterman’s influence on medicine.

30 years ago, the Baltimore City Council passed The Gay Rights Bill of 1988, which provided legal protection against discrimination for gay and lesbian citizens. Dr. Jonathan Bailey talks about GLBTQAI social spaces, anti-racist civil rights movements, and their impact on the bill’s passing. Bailey is the author of a forthcoming book about race, gender, and sexuality in post-civil rights Baltimore, which covers 1965 through 1995.

The Winton Triangle

May 31, 2018

What discoveries can be sparked by making a single observation about a community we were born into? Marvin T. Jones tells us more about Winton Triangle, a 437-year-old landowning community of people of color. Jones is the Executive Director and founder of the Chowan Discovery Group, whose mission is to research, document, preserve, and present the history of the Winton Triangle.

National Trails Day

May 24, 2018

For hundreds of years, nature has served as inspiration for a multitude of writers. In a collaboration between Maryland Humanities and Delaware Humanities, nature and literature converge in a one day program at the Ben Cardin-Mike Castle National Trail next month. Ciera Fisher from Delaware Humanities tells us more about the trail and the event. 

Reading Development and Preventing Learning Loss

May 17, 2018

Did you know that third grade is a pivotal year for students learning to read? Reading proficiently by the end of that grade can be a marker for successes through a student’s college years. Angelique Jessup, Program Director at the Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading, tells us more about reading development.

American Brewing Throughout the Years

May 10, 2018
National Civil War Medicine Museum

The subject of famous quotes spoken by figures ranging from Ernest Hemingway to Homer Simpson, beer continues to play a major role in America’s social and cultural fabric. Did you know that beer’s central role in our culture began even before the United States achieved independence? Graduate student Emma Schrantz writes about the intersections between the craft brewing industry, historic preservation, and community development. She tells us more about beer’s history in America.

Melding Histories at Catoctin Furnace

May 3, 2018

Did you know an iron forge in Frederick, Maryland was a stop on Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad?   Predating the American Revolution, Catoctin Furnace ran for over a century.  The Catoctin Furnace Historical Society – a recent Maryland Humanities grantee – formed in 1973. Archaeologist Elizabeth Anderson Comer, Secretary of Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, discusses melding the area’s well-known history with the lesser-known stories of some of the site’s enslaved workers.

Heritage, Culture, and How We Take Our Coffee

Apr 26, 2018

How can one culinary specialty teach us about both our own heritage and that of other cultures? Ravi Chhatani tells us more. Chhatani is the CEO and founder of Nela in Baltimore. Nela produces panela: unprocessed sugar made by boiling and evaporating sugarcane juice, popular in Central and South America.

A Teacher’s Reflection of Maryland History Day

Apr 19, 2018

Maryland History Day, brought to you by Maryland Humanities, is much more than one day—each student spends on average more than 70 hours envisioning, researching, and fine-tuning a research project. More than 27,000 middle and high school participate in this year-long program. Maryland History Day culminates in a statewide contest, where winners advance to National History Day.  Christine Pritt, a former Maryland History Day Teacher of the Year, provides a reflection of one of the many benefits of student participation: building community. This year's Maryland History Day competition is just around the corner on April 28 at UMBC.

Our American Family at Historic Sotterley

Apr 12, 2018

Last year, Historic Sotterley, a former plantation in Southern Maryland, began the Descendants Project. They gathered information about anyone affiliated with Sotterley, whether they were enslaved, employed or otherwise associated with the site. This month, Sotterley hosts Our American Family, funded with a grant from Maryland Humanities. The event will connect existing and emerging stories of Sotterley descendants with members of the public interested in Southern Maryland’s history. Jeanne Pirtle, Education Director at Sotterley, tells us more about the project.

Catonsville Nine 50th Anniversary

Apr 5, 2018

In 1968, activists in our own backyard protested the Vietnam War in a way that would become a landmark in our nation’s history of civil disobedience. 2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Catonsville Nine. Joby Taylor, Director of the Shriver Peaceworkers Fellows Program at UMBC, tells us more about the historic events in Maryland and plans to acknowledge their impact.

A Message of Gratitude

Mar 29, 2018

Maryland Humanities Executive Director Phoebe Stein joins us with a message of gratitude and an exciting announcement regarding our Humanities Connection segment.

Allison Tolman

Mar 22, 2018

Did you know that an article of clothing can be interpreted as a historical document? What can we learn about figures from Maryland’s past by looking at what they wore? Allison Tolman, Chief Registrar and Associate Curator of the Fashion Archives at the Maryland Historical Society, tells us more.

Brown Girls Museum Blog

Mar 15, 2018

How are two women pushing past the gatekeeping that sometimes occurs within cultural institutions? Amanda Figueroa and Ravon Ruffin started Brown Girls Museum Blog, a platform that aims to promote the visibility of people of color, especially women, in the museum field and in academia.

The Great Mystery Show

Mar 9, 2018
Courtesy of Peter Eglington

“Who am I?” “Is there an afterlife?” Science, philosophy, religion, and art have converged to answer some of life’s biggest questions, many of which we still don’t have answers to. The Great Mystery Show at the American Visionary Art Museum celebrates the unknown, the imagination and the search for answers. Rebecca Hoffberger, the museum’s founder and director, tells us more about the exhibit.

Feminist Art History and Linda Nochlin

Mar 1, 2018

In honor of Women’s History Month, each Humanities Connection segment in March will feature a woman in media management, those working at art museums, or in the art history world. Lael J. Ensor-Bennett kicks off the month by teaching us about one of the founders of feminist art history, Linda Nochlin. Ensor-Bennett is the Assistant Visual Resources Curator at Johns Hopkins University.

Will Schwarz

Feb 22, 2018

What purpose can be served by confronting our region’s racist past? How can documentation of tragedy foster empathy? Will Schwarz, documentary director and producer and director of Pennant Productions, answers these questions and talks about his work on The Maryland Lynching Memorial Project.

Baltimore’s African-American Maritime History

Feb 15, 2018

Did you know that the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock, was founded in Baltimore in 1886 by Isaac Myers, a free African-American man? The Railway and Dry Dock’s location is now home to the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum, a part of the Living Classrooms Foundation. Candi Claggett is the Interpretation Coordinator at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum. She teaches us about the contributions Isaac Myers and abolitionist and writer, Frederick Douglass, made to the development of Baltimore’s maritime history.

Baltimore Life Under Jim Crow

Feb 8, 2018

How can stories of desegregation during the Jim Crow era influence current policies around race, segregation, and opportunity in America in 2018 and beyond? Towson Professors Gary Homana and Morna McDermott explore this question, and preserve the stories of seven African-Americans who grew up Baltimore during the Jim Crow Era, in their documentary Voices of Baltimore: Life under Segregation.

Ira Aldridge: London’s First Black Othello

Feb 1, 2018

In 1833, English audiences were shocked to see an African American man play the role of Shakespeare’s Othello. Ira Aldridge was London’s first African-American Othello and is the subject of the play Red Velvet by Lolita Chakrabarti. Shirley Basfield Dunlap, Director of Red Velvet at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, tells us about Aldridge. Dunlap is an Associate Professor, and the Theatre Coordinator, at Morgan State University.

Documenting Traditions in Maryland

Jan 25, 2018

Did you know that Business Insider reported that, in 2016, over 68 million people watched documentary films on Netflix? How do filmmakers create a documentary that both resonates with an audience and helps to preserve local history?  Matt Kelley, filmmaker and CEO of Human Being Productions, talks about the company’s mini-documentary series, Traditions.  Each video in the series centers on the history of a Maryland institution.

"Hunch Meat" Literary Anthology

Jan 18, 2018

Sixteen years old isn’t the standard age for an Editor-in-Chief, but June Keating dreamt up a literary anthology and with the help of a team, she’s bringing it to fruition. The high school junior in the Literary Arts program at the George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology talks about her anthology, Hunch Meat.

Gender, Finance, and Confidence

Jan 11, 2018

Many people debate over how to categorize economics. It is science? Social science? Social studies? If it’s separated from the humanities, economist James D. Campbell asks, “don’t we neglect to show the next generation how to see and hear the humanistic as it relates to the organization of our economies, our world?” Amanda Cuocci of Stansberry Research talks about gender, confidence, and financial literacy. 

What will you resolve to change in the New Year? Scholar Benjamin Sax, from the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies, tells us about Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel and his philosophy of forgiveness.

The Poetry in Science

Jan 4, 2018

Despite the tendency to separate STEM fields from the humanities, poetry and science have a closer bond than many people realize. Kathleen Gillespie is a poet and has a Doctorate in Marine Biotechnology. She is a research affiliate at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) in the Inner Harbor. She talks about the impact science has made on her poetry, and finding the poetry in science.

Understanding Sacrifice and Preserving War Stories

Dec 21, 2017

How can we experience the emotional impact of history and pass on stories of heroes for younger generations? Ryan Kaiser is a Social Studies teacher at The Mt. Washington School, whose class participates in Maryland Humanities’ Maryland History Day. Through a program called Understanding Sacrifice, he traveled to the Philippines to learn more about World War II and read the eulogy of a fallen soldier.

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