UTulsa’s Oklahoma Center for the Humanities recognized internationally for public humanities work - The University of Tulsa
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UTulsa’s Oklahoma Center for the Humanities recognized internationally for public humanities work

The University of Tulsa’s Oklahoma Center for the Humanities is pleased to announce that it has received the inaugural Public Humanities Award for Leadership in Practice and Community from the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes.

Photograph of visitors engaging with Musical Legacies of the Dust Bowl exhibition displays.The center was nominated for its Pathways to Freedom program. With grant support provided by the Social Sciences Research Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the 2022-23 initiative included three exhibitions and conferences exploring the theme of freedom. All aspects of the project were developed in close collaboration with diverse communities across the state.

In fall 2022, programming began with an exhibit and conference titled “Musical Legacies of the Dust Bowl,” which examined Black and Indigenous musical innovation in the 1930s and ’40s.  In early 2023, “All-Black Towns of Oklahoma” examined these historic towns, largely unique to Oklahoma, that took shape at the conjunction of the Great Migration and the initial burst of Black wealth generated by the state’s oil boom. The center ended the year with “Work of Sovereignty” in spring 2023. In partnership with representatives from the Cherokee and Chickasaw nations, this exhibit and conference used the lenses of law, art, and the humanities to examine the cultural impact on the 2020 Supreme Court ruling on tribal jurisdiction.

Pathways to Freedom helped transform the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities from a campus-based research organization into an engaged public humanities initiative.

Photograph of visitors engaging with Oklahoma Center for the Humanitites exhibition displays.Center staff will be recognized for their work at the upcoming CHCI Annual Meeting at the University of California – Berkeley in May.

The consortium’s Public Humanities Network represents a global community of centers and institutes engaged in building research through partnership. The network is interested in questions concerning the public humanities and civic and public collaborations that face many members in a wide range of institutional and national contexts.

The Oklahoma Center for the Humanities was founded at The University of Tulsa in 2014 when an interested group of faculty and administrators gathered with the shared goal of developing a distinctive public think tank focused on core questions about history, identity, ethics, memory, art, music, and literature. With the support of the Kendall College of Art & Sciences as well as the Office of Research, the center was created and funded. Sean Latham, Pauline McFarlin Walter Professor of English and Comparative Literature, was named its director. He works in cooperation with internal and external advisory boards. For additional information about the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities, visit humanities.utulsa.edu.