Dear Alumni and Friends,

Research in the humanities gives us the tools we need to articulate deep truths about our current, past, and future social selves. What does it mean to be a human being? What has it meant historically? What will it come to mean? The students and faculty in all our departments dedicate themselves to the thoughtful consideration of humanity’s place in the world, and I hope you enjoy sampling some of these investigations here in Tableau.

The impulse of innovation and discovery that sustains the scholarship of our distinguished faculty members is exemplified by English professor Kenneth Warren, who recently received a Humanities Visiting Committee grant to support his ongoing literary examination of our country’s racial history. An alumnus in South Asian languages and civilizations, Philip Lutgendorf, has taken on a very different topic, documenting India’s social history through the lens of tea. The division’s assistant professors in philosophy ponder ancient and modern thinkers and develop new ways of understanding the human mind; we introduce them here.

Graduate students come to the University of Chicago to develop their analytical skills, bringing diverse backgrounds to our community. In this issue, we share the stories of veterans of the US military who were motivated to study in the humanities after their service to our country. After graduating, many of our students pursue careers beyond the academy. To illustrate the range of careers, a new series, “Humanities at Work,” highlights their experiences. Finally, three PhD students talk about their discoveries as scholars.

With this issue of Tableau, we expand our online coverage and return to printing the magazine twice a year with a fresh, colorful design. We are pleased to bring you news about the opening of the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, the Sawyer Seminar devoted to investigating “around 1948,” and a new visiting professorship in Indian studies.

Looking ahead, Humanities Day is always a wonderful opportunity to participate in our community. I invite you to join us on Saturday, October 20, 2012, when faculty will again share their work. Richard Strier, the Frank L. Sulzberger Distinguished Service Professor in English language and literature, will give the keynote address, “Shakespeare’s Prejudices: Shrews and Jews.” Meanwhile, you can view past Humanities Day presentations here.

I am grateful for your partnership in promoting and celebrating the humanities. If you have feedback or news to share, I would love to hear from you. As always, thank you for your interest and support.

Sincerely yours,


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Martha T. Roth

Dean of the Division of the Humanities