2023 – 2024 
“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. 

You can read more about this initiative at the Slavery and Colonialism site: https://slaveryandcolonialism.tufts.edu/

2022 – 2023 
“Reframing Empire”

Bringing together artists, filmmakers, and scholars from a range of disciplines, the Center aims to foster conversations and collaborations that will advance the critical study of empire. Drawing on diverse perspectives from critical ethnic studies, visual arts, religious studies, anthropology, carceral studies, history, performance studies, and psychology, we will grapple with the long shadows and enduring realities of colonialism, imperialism, and racial-settler capitalism through a variety of geographic, temporal, and theoretical frames.


2021 – 2022 
“Vital Signs”


2020 – 2021 
“Emergencies, Ruptures”

Emergency is the quality of our present moment: a time of crises and a point of rupture through which new conditions of possibility may emerge. Through this theme, the Center will be committed to exploring the various deeply interrelated crises that produce the emergencies of our moment, many of which appear to strike at the very core of social consensus around what is truth, the nature of justice, and the value of life. We will ask: Is this a point of rupture, or of return?


2019 – 2020 

Within the framework of this theme, the Center’s activities will highlight the ways by which traditions of knowledge production — in particular, academic knowledge production – have served as foundational to the social formations and power relations that produce and inscribe forms of difference around the globe. Through this theme, the Center will explore the ways by which social and historical forms of difference remain determinative in our present political moment, and the role that re-articulations of difference in political mobilizations and cultural discourse.


2018 – 2019 
“Culture, History, and Translation”

Culture, History and Translation considers longer histories of connection, exchange, and interdependency in ways that unsettle discretely bounded territories and recast received historical periods. It does so by reconsidering formerly studied “areas” by reassigning the global study of Europe, transoceanic studies, hemispheric American studies, global Black diaspora studies, and global Asia studies. Specifically, we critically engage translation as interceding on settled notions of culture and history and as imbricated in constructions of colonialism, race, empire and diaspora.


2017 – 2018 
“Materialisms, Old and New”

This theme encompassed theories of materialism from older Greek philosophical traditions, through modern dialectical materialism and scientific materialism, to the range of approaches currently referenced as the “new materialism.” It included projects in the arts, humanities, and interpretive social sciences, and suggested that culture, society, history, environment, religion, arts, and representation, as well as ontology, epistemology, and politics, are rethought in relation to material processes, objects, and affects.