The Center for the Humanities at Tufts (CHAT) fosters interdisciplinary humanities work in comparative literature, religion, world history, philosophy, classical studies, the humanistic social sciences and the arts, to innovate new research and reflection. The Center hosts public lectures, seminars, conferences, and colloquia by visiting artists, writers, and scholars, and brings together faculty, postdoctoral, and dissertation fellows to promote collaboration and advance the profile of creative and humanistic research at and beyond Tufts.
Welcome to the Center for Humanities at Tufts
The Center for Humanities at Tufts (CHAT) has endeavored to become a hub of intellectual activity and initiative on campus. Numerous scholars, public intellectuals, writers, filmmakers and artists have come to Tufts to present their work at the Center. Already, we are preparing for more events featuring scholars across the university, holding writing workshops for faculty and fellows, holding space for departments to host reading groups, and hosting scholars who will be working on our annual theme.
It is our pleasure to continue to highlight and support the important work of our intellectual community, and to create space for departments to collaborate across disciplines. By doing so, we hope to further the mission of the university, to create the transformative experiences by providing students and faculty in an inclusive and collaborative environment.
Annual Theme: Slavery, Colonialism, and their Legacies at Tufts
Beginning in 2023, the Center for the Humanities, in partnership with the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy (CSRD), the Tufts Archival Research Center (TARC) and the Office of Provost, will take a leading role in a university-wide collaborative research initiative to examine the history of slavery, colonialism, and their legacies at and beyond Tufts University. The project will provide systematic, sustained support for interdisciplinary scholarship and public programming focused on Tufts’ historical ties to the African American and Afro-Native communities of West Medford and Somerville; American empire and colonial dispossession; anti-slavery, Universalism, and social movements; and the long presence of African descended and indigenous people and communities on Tufts’ campus.
The Center for the Humanities at Tufts (CHAT) was established to promote innovative, collaborative study in the humanities and arts, and encourage conversation and debate in an effort to reach beyond the borders of a given discipline.
After a renovation of the former Provost’s House at 48 Professors Row, the Center began in spring 2008 by hosting a symposium on “The Art and Ethics of Translation.” Since then, the Center has endeavored to become a hub of intellectual activity and initiative on campus. Numerous scholars, public intellectuals, writers, filmmakers and artists have come to Tufts to present their work at the Center. Our guests have included the Nobel Laureate Kenzaburo Oe, Pulitzer prizewinner Rita Dove, National Book Award winners Ha Jin and Stephen Greenblatt, MacArthur Fellows Lydia Davis, Peter Cole and Alex Ross together with such distinguished authors and academics as Jamaica Kincaid, Ian Buruma, Stephen Pinker, Amitav Ghosh, Jokha Alharthi, and Peter Beinart.
All of the Center’s events are free and open to members of the Tufts community. In addition, some events are also open to the public. Through all of its programs, the Center works to promote interdepartmental and cross-campus dialogue, to raise the profile of the humanities and arts at Tufts and in our surrounding communities, and to build support for scholarship and creative activity. We have been fortunate in our donors whose generosity has enabled us to expand and enhance our programming.
The Fung House, which is the home for the Center for the Humanities, was named after Tufts alum E. Michael Fung, A79, A12P, who gave a generous gift of $1.5 million to the humanities at Tufts. Read more about Fung on the Office of the Trustees’ website.
The Center’s Year in Review booklet highlights our initiatives, events, and community of scholars. Take a look at our most recent issue for insights into this past year and our plans for the current one, or peruse past volumes to learn even more about the amazing research, collaboration, and conversations we’ve helped facilitate.
The Coit-Phelps Fund was established in 2012, through a generous gift from Susan Napier (Goldthwaite Professor of Rhetoric, International Literary and Cultural Studies, Tufts University) and her husband Stephen Coit (portraitist and former teaching assistant at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the School of Arts and Sciences, Tufts University) to support the Center for the Humanities at Tufts in its efforts to create a forum for sustained intellectual vibrancy across the disciplines of the humanities and beyond. With a love of the arts, the donors’ especially intended the Coit-Phelps fund to facilitate the intercultural contribution of the creative imagination. Since 2012, The Center for Humanities has used this fund to advance interdisciplinary work in the humanities through an annual lecture, conference, or symposium. Our lectures usually take place in the early spring. Look for details on our events page.
CHAT offers our fellows the opportunity to work on their research interests and develop their own intellectual projects. Feel free to browse the work of our fellows.