Humanities to be subject of Jan. 28 panel discussion at Jule Collins Smith Museum

AUBURN – The humanities in today’s world will be the topic of a panel discussion on Thursday, Jan. 28, at 3 p.m. at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. “Beyond the Rhetoric of Crisis – Strategies for Future Success in the Humanities” will be presented by the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University.

The presentation will feature Gregg Lambert, founding director of the Syracuse University Humanities Center and Corri Zoli, a humanities research and grants consultant at Syracuse. It will address current challenges as well as changes in the historical humanities and the traditional disciplines.

“I firmly believe in the opportunities to advance and enhance our humanities programs in competitive and meaningful ways for the future,” said Anna Gramberg, dean of Auburn’s College of Liberal Arts. “Discussions and collaborations like this one are vital stepping stones for our progress.”

The panel discussion is open to the public and is the first in a series of presentations leading up to a campus- and community-wide focus on the arts and humanities in the fall of 2010.

Lambert and Zoli say the term “crisis” does not describe the systemic challenges in the humanities over the last half century such as the decline in federal funding, a challenging job market for advanced degree recipients, universities shifting support to science and technology and the recent global economic downturn. They suggest moving beyond the “crisis in the humanities” discourse circulating in major news venues as well as in departments and universities.

Lambert used a change in approach by the Syracuse University Humanities Center as an example of how it is possible to bypass the crisis discourse about the humanities without ignoring the challenges. The center now addresses questions in two different areas: remodeling research theory and practice to meet present and future challenges; and critically assessing the funding sources available to the academic and public humanities in ways that put these challenges front and center in strategic planning and development.”

The Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities is Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts center for public engagement. It strengthens the bonds between the College of Liberal Arts and the public by creating and implementing arts and humanities programs that explore our individual and collective experiences, values and identities through the past, in the present, and for the future. The center also creates occasions and space for dialogue, intellectual community, and cross-disciplinary scholarship.

For more information contact Jay Lamar, director, Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities at or (334) 844-4946.

Contact: Jay Lamar, (334) 844-4946 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (