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The Humanities Collaborative fosters a thriving community on campus. Please see our current list of events and check back for future announcements!

Fall 2023 Events

 The Humanities Collaborative Presents

South Carolinian Intellectuals and the Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood

Date and Time: October 26, 4:00-5:30 pm

Presenter: Colin Woodard

Location: School of Law 103 (Karen J. Williams Courtroom)

Headshot of Colin Woodard and cover of Colin Woodard's book

Colin Woodard, the director of Nationhood Lab at the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University and the New York Times bestselling author of six books, will discuss the historical struggle to create a national myth for the US that emerges from conflicting regional identities, values, and ideals. On one hand, historians, political leaders, and novelists anchored in New England promoted the idea of America as nation that had a God-given mission to lead humanity toward freedom, equality, and self-government. This emerging narrative was swiftly contested by another set of intellectuals, led by South Carolina’s William Gilmore Simms, who argued that the United States was the homeland of the allegedly superior “Anglo-Saxon” race, upon whom divine and Darwinian favor shined. A man raised in Columbia – Woodrow Wilson – would bring the latter vision to fruition across the federation in the 1910s and 1920s, an accomplishment that helps explain the vulnerability of our liberal democracy today. 


Created Equal: How the Declaration of Independence Became a Founding Document

Date and Time: November 16, 4:00-5:30 pm

Presenter: Eric Slauter

Location: School of Law 103 (Karen J. Williams Courtroom)

Headshot of Erik Slauter and cover of Slauter's book

Eric Slauter is the Deputy Dean of the Humanities and the College at the University of Chicago, brings his specialization in early American cultural, intellectual, legal, and political history to the discussion of the Declaration of Independence. The self-evident truths that “all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” may have constituted minor premises in the Declaration of Independence to all but a small number of contemporaries in 1776. But no words from the period of the American Revolution have been more consequential to later generations. How, when, and why did these claims become central to an understanding of the Declaration? Most observers in 1776 paid more attention to the charges against King George and the powers claimed on behalf of free and independent states. However, opponents of slavery highlighted these claims of equality and rights as its most profound statement, transforming an instrument of international law intended to dissolve political bands between Britain and the Colonies into a founding document of domestic politics. This shift demonstrates the changing and multiple meanings of the Declaration as it gradually becomes a founding document of American equality.

All Good Books Lunch with Frances Lee

(Mellon Seminar)

Date and Time: Novemeber 10, 10:30 am-12:00 pm

Presenter: Frances Lee

Location: All Good Books

Lunch with Frances Lee, Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University. Lee will lead a discussion of two interrelated projects. First, drawing on a recent paper (coauthored with Jim Curry) on the Senate filibuster, Lee argues although many others focus on how the filibuster poses a nearly insuperable obstacle to a Senate majority party’s agenda, limiting Congress’s output to non-controversial measures,  an even more common cause of failure is the majority party’s inability to agree among themselves. Despite increased voting cohesion generally, parties in the polarized era still routinely struggle to bridge their own internal divides. And second, she will analyze in a work in progress how polarization effects a President's relationship with Congress. She will discuss how two trends consistently weaken presidents in the polarized era: stronger partisanship in the mass public and geographic polarization. The public’s strong partisanship puts a firm, low ceiling on presidents’ job approval. Geographic polarization tends to confine presidents’ base of support to either red or blue states. Their narrow political base affords recent presidents little leverage in dealing with the opposition party in Congress, which has less incentive to work with presidents today than in the 20th century, when presidents were better able to both win support across the whole country and find votes from across the aisle in Congress.

Please RSVP to Maclane Hull ( and Holly Crocker ( by November 3rd.

All Good Books Lunch with Eric Slauter

(Mellon Seminar)

Date and Time: November 17, 12:00-1:30 pm

Presenter: Eric Slauter

Location: All Good Books

Eric Slauter will lead a follow-up discussion of “pocket constitutionalism.” Pocket constitutionalism is not a recent phenomenon. The earliest small-scale printed constitutions in the United States originated in the era of the American Revolution. In 1791, Thomas Paine told readers of The Rights of Man across the Atlantic that the Constitution of Pennsylvania had become “the political bible” of that state, that scarcely a family was without a copy, and that it was common for legislators “to take the printed constitution out of their pocket” during debates. Advertising a duodecimo printing of the Massachusetts Constitution in the Summer of 1787, in the aftermath of Shay’s Rebellion, printer Isaiah Thomas made the case that for the public good (and for a modest price) a copy of the state’s “Political Bible” should be in all hands. Sitting at the intersection of legal and political history and the history of the book, this essay explores this early history and surveys the longer life of small-scale printed constitutions. Closer attention to these revolutionary-era printed artifacts helps reveal dramatic shifts in late eighteenth-century understandings of what a constitution is and does; of how constitutions were read, disseminated, and deployed; of the relation between format and content in the writing of constitutions; of the origins of civic education; and of the nature of rights and what it meant—in a literal sense—to be a rights-bearing person. 

The first 10 people to RSVP for this meeting to Maclane Hull ( and Holly Crocker ( will win a copy of Slauter’s book, The State as a Work of Art. Please RSVP by November 10th. 

Diversifying Archaeological Education Research Group: Rebecca Tsosie

Date and Time: October 17-18, 3:30-5:00pm

Presenter: Rebecca Tsosie

Location: School of Law 103 (Karen J. Williams Courtroom)

Diversifying Archaeological Education Research Group: Drew Lanham

Date and Time: October 24, 3:00 pm

Presenter: Drew Lanham

Location: Lumpkin Auditorium

(In)visibility Research Group: Columbia Museum of Art w/ Big Draw

Date and Time: October 28

Location: Columbia Muesem of Art

Invisibility Workshop Flyer

Film Screening: "A Common Sequence"


Date and Time: November 8, 6:00 pm

Presenters: Mike Gibisser and Mary Helena Clark

Location: Nickelodeon

 Fall Bag & Board Event

(Comics Studies)

Date and Time: December 7, 10:00 am-4:00 pm

Bag and Board Event Flyer

29th Anniversary of Gullah Gullah Island

(Co-sponsored with Southern Studies and AFAM)

Date and Time: October 24

Presenters: Ron & Natalie Daise

Book Discussion: Uncompromising Activist: Richard Greener

(Co-sponsored with the Black Faculty Caucus, the College of Education, and the South Caroliniana Library)

Date and Time: November 30, 3:00 pm

Facilitators: Christian Anderson and Spencer Platt 

Location: Kendall Room, South Caroliniana Library

Richard T. Greener arrived on at the University of South Carolina in November 1873 — 150 years ago next month. He was the first Black professor and taught here until the university was forced to close at the end of Reconstruction in 1877.  

Faculty are invited to join in a book discussion to mark this anniversary. The purpose of the discussion is to learn more about Greener and his time here, about the challenges he faced, and the relevance of his experiences to Black faculty today.

Games and the Meaning of Life

(Co-sponsored with Philosophy) 

Date and Time: November 30, 2023, 6 pm

Location: Davis College, Room 209

Presenter: Thi Nguyen

We can become obsessed with the score, and with winning, in two very different places in our life. Sometimes we do it with games: we become entirely obsessed with victory in the terms specified by the game. Sometimes we do it in our real lives: we become entirely obsessed with success, as measured by the rankings and metrics of our technology's institutional environment. These two phenomena look superficially familiar, but they’re spiritual opposites. At its best, game-playing is done for its own sake. It helps us find our way into a rich, brilliant, fulfilling activity. In game-playing, we choose our scoring systems because we like the actions they shape. At their worst, rankings are a tool for warping our values – for forcing us into hollow, empty activity, for the sake of somebody else’s interests. Real play is the heart of a meaningful life; an obsession with rankings and metrics can rob our life of vivid meaning.  

Visiting Room Project

(Carceral Studies)

Date and Time: January 23-25

The Visiting Room Project is the largest archive of filmed testimonials ever gathered from people serving life in prison. At “An Evening with The Visiting Room Project,” co-creator Dr. Marcus Kondkar will introduce the project and screen interviews from The Visiting Room. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with formerly-incarcerated contributors to the project and time for questions from the audience. We hope you will join us to reflect on the lives of life-sentenced people and consider their pasts, their hopes, and their daily struggles.

Aziz Rana

(Mellon Seminar)

Date and Time: March 15

Aziz Rana is a professor of law at Boston College Law School and author of the forthcoming The Constitutional Bind: How Americans Came to Idolize a Document that Fails Them (University of Chicago Press, 2024). Rana is a prolific author and scholar specializing in American constitutional law and political development, especially in terms of how shifting notions of race, citizenship, and empire have shaped legal and political identity since the founding.

Film Screening: "No Straight Lines" and panel

(Comics Studies)

Date and Time: TBD

Location: TBD

Campus screening of “No Straight Lines” comics documentary with possible faculty or student panel.

Sir Walter Scott Conference

Date and Time: May 24-25

Presenter: Yoon Sun Lee 


View Previous Events

Learn more about our Digital Humanities talks.

Upcoming Events

Potential for Large Language Models in Experimental Research

Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024

Location: See event description for more details.

Virtual Bench: Deep Learning Models and Custom Software for the Study of Motion Picture Films

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024

Location: See event description for more details.

From Relic to Reality: Interactive 3D Scanning and Visualization Techniques

Friday, Apr. 12, 2024

Location: Thomas Cooper Library L118 Technology Classroom

Getting Started with Digital Humanities Tools

Thursday, Apr. 18, 2024

Location: Thomas Cooper Library L118 Technology Classroom

View the Calendar

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