The Humanistic Endeavor in the Academy: The Columbia Experience

13 May 2009 (Wednesday) 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Venue: RRS905, 9/F, Sir Run Run Shaw Building, Ho Sin Hang Campus


This talk will reflect on the evolution of humanistic study in the academy and on its place at Columbia University. I will touch on questions such as: Is humanistic learning compatible with the institutional, technological, and social transformations of contemporary society? On what basis can the humanities claim relevance in today’s university? What does it mean, at this moment in history, to devote substantial institutional and human resources to the pursuit of humanistic learning? And what, exactly, is that kind learning? I will discuss both the large themes of liberal education and the specific institutional challenges to establishing successful humanities programs.

Speakers Biography

Prof. Roosevelt Montás
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs,
Director of the Center for the Core Curriculum
The Columbia University

Roosevelt Montás is Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Director of the Center for the Core Curriculum at Columbia University. Born in the Dominican Republic, he immigrated to the United States as a teenager and attended New York City public schools. He has taught both the Literature Humanities and Contemporary Civilization sequences of the Columbia College Core Curriculum, and specializes in Antebellum American literature and culture. His dissertation, Rethinking America: Abolitionism and the Antebellum Transformation of the Discourse of National Identity, won Columbia University’s Bancroft Award. His current research examines the emergence of cosmopolitan American citizenship at the intersection of Transcendentalism and abolitionism in the decades leading to the Civil War.