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

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.

Maryland Veterans: A Journey Through Vietnam

Dec 10, 2015

As many of us spend time with older family members this holiday season, we encourage you to take some time to ask questions of them in order to collect and preserve their unique personal history. That’s the idea behind “Maryland Veterans: A Journey through Vietnam,” a Maryland Humanities Council oral history project in which Anne Arundel County students interview local Vietnam War veterans. Dr. Barry Lanman, director of the Martha Ross Center for Oral History at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the oral historian lending expertise to this project, tells us more.


Voices of Change

Dec 3, 2015

On November 18, the MHC-supported exhibit Voices of Change: Social Protest through the Arts and Humanities opened at the Hays-Heighe House at Harford Community College. The exhibit and its related programming seeks to stimulate thought and discussion about the ways that music, literature, and the visual arts have intersected with moments of social protest in the United States in the modern era. Jeff Ball, professor of art history at Harford Community College and lead curator of the exhibition, tells us more.   

Atlantic Slave Rebellion

Nov 19, 2015

On December 2, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) will host an event as part of its free Humanities Forum series focusing on the heretofore untold story of the Atlantic Slave Rebellion in the Dutch Caribbean. Dr. Marjoleine Kars, Associate Professor of History at UMBC and author of an upcoming book on the subject, tells us more about this history and what it teaches us about the dynamics of other famous rebellions.

Effecting Change Through Law

Nov 12, 2015

Did you know that the law is a humanities discipline? And as such, law can—and often does—effect social change. Donald Tobin, Dean of the Francis King Carey School of Law at the University of Maryland, tells us about their new course, Freddie Gray’s Baltimore: Past, Present and Moving Forward, which intends to do just that.

Pearls on a String

Nov 5, 2015
Walters Art Museum

On Sunday, November 8 the first international loan exhibition of Islamic art to focus on people, Pearls on a String: Artists, Poets, and Patrons at the Great Islamic Courts, will open at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. This free exhibition, made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Maryland Humanities Council, among others, emphasizes the role of human relationships in inspiring and sustaining artistic creativity. Curator Amy Landau tells us more.

Veteran's Voices

Nov 2, 2015

  On November 10 at 7pm., the Bob Parsons Veterans Center at the University of Baltimore and Spotlight UB will once again present Veterans' Voices. This year's free event will highlight the iconic poetry of World War I and musical improvisations on piano and saxophone, followed by conversation.  Dr. Joseph Wood, University of Baltimore Provost and a new member of the MHC Board of Directors, and Lisa Van Wormer, a UB MFA candidate in Creative Writing—both veterans who participated in last year's Veterans Voices' event—share reflections on how storytelling can provide a deeper understanding of veterans’ experiences.

Ruth Starr Rose

Oct 22, 2015

In October the Ruth Starr Rose exhibition opened at Baltimore’s Reginald F. Lewis Museum. The exhibition, funded by the Maryland Humanities Council and presented by Brown Capital Management, features early-20th century portraits of African Americans by Rose, a white artist of privilege from the Eastern Shore. Here to tell us more about the artist and her important work is guest curator Barbara Paca.

Preserve the Baltimore Uprising

Oct 16, 2015

In the months since Freddie Gray’s death and the protests and unrest that followed, Baltimore residents have struggled to make sense of these events. Preserve the Baltimore Uprising, a project of the Maryland Historical Society and several local colleges, aims to provide a better understanding of this very recent history through a public digital archive. Michael Stone, an intern at the Maryland Historical Society, tells us more about this important resource. 

Historic Handsell House

Oct 9, 2015

The Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to preserving Handsell, a National Register Historic Site on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. On October 10, with support from a Maryland Humanities Council grant, it will host its annual Nanticoke River Jamboree benefit event. Midge Ingersoll, trustee of the Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance, tells us about the fascinating history of the Handsell house.

One Maryland One Book, Teacher's Perspective

Oct 5, 2015

Each fall the Maryland Humanities Council’s One Maryland One Book program brings together diverse people in communities across Maryland through the shared reading of one book. What some may not realize is that this program also serves as a valuable tool for educators. Nicole Little-Cook, Library Media Specialist at Seneca Valley High School, shares why she uses One Maryland One Book with her students every year.

One Maryland One Book

Sep 25, 2015

One Maryland One Book, a program of the Maryland Center for the Book at the Maryland Humanities Council, is the state’s largest reading and discussion program. Each fall this program unites communities by encouraging them to read the same book at the same time. Andrea Lewis, Program Officer for the Maryland Center for the Book, tells us more about how this program brings Marylanders together.

50 Years of the National Endowment of the Humanities

Sep 17, 2015
Fred Field, courtesy of Colby College

In commemoration of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the founding of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for the Humanities at Loyola University Maryland is hosting a free two-day symposium, “Democracy and the Humanities.” The symposium, cosponsored by the Maryland Humanities Council, will be held on Loyola’s Baltimore campus from September 25 to 26. Featured speakers include NEH Chairman William Adams, who is here now to reflect on the last fifty years of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Hometown Teams, Howard County

Sep 10, 2015

Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America is a Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition, brought to our state by the Maryland Humanities Council, traveling to five sites through November. Host sites add Maryland’s sports stories with local exhibits and programs. The exhibit opens at the Howard County Historical Society Museum in Ellicott City on Saturday, September 19th. Shawn Gladden, Director of the Howard County Historical Society, tells us about Howard County's unique sports history.

Museum on Main Street

Sep 8, 2015

Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide, brings high-quality traveling exhibits to small communities across the country. Over the past year, the Maryland Humanities Council has brought the sports-oriented Smithsonian traveling exhibit Hometown Teams to five communities across Maryland. Carol Harsh, Director of Museum on Main Street, tells us more about how this program impacts the small communities it serves.

Public Libraries, the New Commons

Aug 27, 2015

 Place making is the idea of utilizing a community’s local assets in order to create quality public spaces that contribute to the well-being of the community and create a sense of belonging through place. Silvia Blitzer Golombek, a nonprofit consultant and secretary of the Board of the Maryland Humanities Council, shares how public libraries serve as such spaces for local communities.

Teaching Students and Educators Alike

Aug 21, 2015

 The Maryland Humanities Council’s Maryland History Day program empowers students to explore history through a year-long historical research project.  Last year over 22,000 students across Maryland participated. This would not be possible without the devoted educators who use the program in their classrooms each year. RaeLynne Snyder, Social Studies Specialist at Baltimore City Public Schools and a 7-year Maryland History Day veteran, shares her experience.

Maryland's Pioneering Women in Architecture

Aug 13, 2015

 On September 4 the MHC-supported traveling exhibition showcasing the early women of architecture in Maryland arrives at the American Institute of Architects in Baltimore. Jillian Storms, curator of the exhibition and Chair of the Women’s Diversity Committee of the AIA, tells us about two of the pioneering women highlighted in the exhibition.

Literary Walking Tour of Mount Vernon

Aug 7, 2015

Ever wanted to follow in the footsteps of the many famous authors, poets, and editors who lived in Baltimore? Every third Saturday in April through October, the Maryland Humanities Council offers a Literary Walking Tour of Mount Vernon, taking you through majestic cultural institutions, past elegant mansions, and into the minds of Baltimore’s literary luminaries. Jessica Baldwin, Program Assistant for Maryland Center for the Book, tells us more.

The Shelley-Godwin Archive

Jul 31, 2015

The Shelley-Godwin Archive a project of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, is making the handwritten works of four renowned 19th-century British writers accessible in today’s digital age.

Hometown Teams: Galesville

Jul 24, 2015

  Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America is a Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition, brought to our state by the Maryland Humanities Council, traveling to five sites through November.  Host sites add Maryland's sports stories with local exhibits and programs.

The Mathematics of Being Human

Jul 16, 2015

While working together on a production of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia at The Folger Theatre in 2009, two UMBC professors began a meaningful collaboration that has manifested into a seminar for Humanities Scholar Program students called "The Mathematics of Being Human," as well as a play of the same name.

You Are a Part of History

Jul 9, 2015

  Chris Haley is the Director of the Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland at the Maryland State Archives research department.  A genealogist, historian, researcher, actor and the nephew of the late Alex Haley, author of the 1976 novel and TV miniseries Roots, Chris Haley speaks often in schools across the state on African American history, self-empowerment and genealogy.

Baltimore's All American House™

Jul 2, 2015

The All American House™, a project of MADE:  In America, is a national showcase of the best in American design and products, set in the context of an iconic house property.

Small Museums in Maryland

Jun 25, 2015

From local history to living history, the arts to architecture, Maryland is host to hundreds of Museums statewide, many of which are small and led by teams of dedicated volunteers.  Every Maryland County has a historical society, complimented by dozens of local historical groups.

The Maryland Humanities Council's Maryland History Day isn’t just a day.  Students in nineteen counties and Baltimore City spend an average of seventy hours on their entries in the hopes of representing our state at the National Competition. 

The B&O Railroad Strike of 1877

Jun 11, 2015

Today’s debates on labor issues like the minimum wage, equal pay, and trade agreements are not new.  Did you know that Baltimore hosted the first national strike in U.S History? Here to tell us more about the B&O Railroad Strike of 1877 is Bill Barry, labor historian, author and former Director of the Labor Studies Department at CCBC.

We are Different People in Different Places

Jun 4, 2015

Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson is a fiction and non-fiction author who has written about the built environment and its relationship to humans and culture for nearly two decades.

The Quince Orchard Project

May 28, 2015

Has your community had a 'past life?'  Does your home address have a back-story? Jason Green is many things: attorney, entrepreneur, political strategist and documentary film maker.

We Need Our Stories

May 21, 2015

What role can the humanities play in helping us understand recent unrest in Baltimore? N. D. B. Connolly is Assistant Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University.

Hometown Teams, Allegany Museum

May 14, 2015
Allegany Historical Society

Hometown Teams, the family-friendly Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition that explores our nation's love of sports, brought to Maryland by the Maryland Humanities Council.  Five host sites add their own unique companion exhibitions and public programs that tell Maryland's sports stories.