Forget going around the world in 80 days–Santa Fe students can do it in five. From Nov. 15-19, the Department of Humanities and Foreign Languages is hosting its seventh annual World Humanities Expo, a free event featuring exhibits from five continents and the vastly different cultures, past and present, that have inhabited them.
Open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday in room R-01, the Expo blends student-designed research exhibits and lectures from some of the top academics and artisans in the humanities. The presentations are all free and open to the general public. (Click here for a detailed schedule.)
“I think people don’t know what the humanities actually are, and I think the entire spectrum of projects and their varied creativity will surprise people,” said event organizer William Little, chair of humanities and foreign languages. “They often react with a ‘wow’ when they see the variety and quality of the projects.”
While the student exhibits at the Expo will remain for all five days, each day will be devoted to one of the five featured ethnic regions: Asia, Latin America, the USA, Africa, and Europe. Check out art from the Harn Museum’s Asian, Latin American, and African collections, while sampling the culinary delights of the day’s featured region. From dragon dances to salsa dances, examining the American dream to examining Indian henna, each day brings a new look at vibrant cultures both here and abroad.
“You can be listening to a lecture on African culture and looking at things from Asia, so it’s pretty cool,” said Little.
Religion scholars and culture professors from the University of Florida and Santa Fe College will all deliver speeches on everything from American politics to colonial archaeology, Puerto Rican music to divination. The event’s big finale will be a keynote address about “Art as a Social Act” from renowned Japanese sculptor and Stony Brook University Professor Nobuho Nagasawa, whose work has been installed on the UF campus.
“I’m hoping to attract people curious about what the humanities are,” said Little. “The whole Expo is an immersion into the humanities, and you will see projects that students have been working on all semester long.”
Little estimates 100 student-created exhibits will be displayed from nine different fields, including interdisciplinary humanities, philosophy, religion, speech, Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, and American Sign Language. These creative research projects, which are graded as part of their humanities courses, reflect 12 weeks of hard work by Santa Fe students. Subjects range from Buddhist temples to Islamic mosques, ancient Mayan art to contemporary Latin American painters.
“We believe that the creativity found in the humanities is at the core of every career,” said Little. “This Expo allows students to see the extent of their own creativity. This is an educational experience that opens them up and exposes them to a depth of creativity that they can apply to their individual careers.”
The Expo also allows students to prepare for entry into the 2011 Research in Undergraduate Education (RUE) Festival each spring. The goal of RUE, a two-year-old initiative spearheaded by Santa Fe administration, is to increase students’ engagement in institutionalized research, and this Expo often serves as a springboard for participation in the RUE festival.
“Santa Fe is expanding its emphasis on research and undergraduate education for both students and faculty,” said Little. “As part of that, our department is having students engage in research and creative projects that they can expand on to enter as part of the RUE.”
The original Expo started seven years ago, as the Religions of the World Expo, under Humanities Professor Rebecca McKee, whose goal was to increase tolerance and awareness of all religions. The original Expo exhibited the works of her Honors course on World Religions, but within the last three years, the Expo has expanded to include works from all the Humanities Department.
“Students leave feeling pride and satisfaction that they have created something of lasting influence in their life,” said Little. “One thing inspires another, and I don’t think students really realize that until they do this. They get to see at this Expo that they’re influencing and inspiring other people.”
For more information about the festival, please contact William Little at 352-381-7076 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ This press release was written by Allison Griner, Communication Specialist, College Relations