Fall 2020

From the Dean
1 From the Dean In these unparalleled times, humanistic writings from many eras and cultures can offer comfort and enlightenment. For this year’s Berlin Family Lecture, Danielle Allen (Harvard) presented four virtual talks on “Democracy in the Time of Coronavirus.”
Alumni Spotlight
2 Global Impact Alyssa Ayres, AM’96, PhD’04, studies and advises on India’s role in the world and US relations with South Asia. Currently, she is evaluating how the pandemic may change global roles and the economic domino effect worldwide.
Humanities at Work
4 A Poet and His Patrons Eric Elshtain, PhD’10, is the first-ever poet in residence at the Field Museum in Chicago. He writes his own poems about the Field’s collections and helps discover visitors’ poetic creativity.
6 Plato in the Time of Coronavirus Agnes Callard, AB’97, explains why many of us are drawn to apocalyptic stories to be in touch with reality even during hard times. Philosophy has always asked us to examine ourselves clearly in the context of our own mortality.
7 What Literature Can (and Can’t) Do for Us Now Turning to literature in a time of crisis is a “double-edged sword,” Kenneth Warren says. He cautions against seeing scholars as first responders in a crisis.
Graduate Students
8 Power Play Marissa Fenley studies control dynamics between ventriloquists and their dummies. Fenley’s latest research focuses on the use of puppetry in protest.
Faculty Focus
10 New Faculty 2020 The Division of the Humanities welcomes ten new faculty members, including nine former Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellows.
On Campus
12 Texts Support Three Humanities Teaching Fellows adapt to remote learning on campus. Teaching through Zoom requires creativity, flexibility, and more forgiveness.
Spotlight on Scholarship
13 A Literary Legacy An endowed $2.5 million gift from Randy Berlin, AM’77, and her late husband, Melvin, to the Department of English Language and Literature creates an assistant professorship in early canonical works of English literature.