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Humanities Seminar

The Humanities Research Seminar is an academic yearlong seminar on an interdisciplinary theme, coordinated by a Bentley faculty fellow aiming to cultivate research by bringing together eminent scholars from across the Greater Boston area and beyond. Seminars typically involve undergraduate students as for-credit participants, as well as graduate students among various fields.

Call for Participating Scholars: 2021-2022 Humanities Research Seminar

The Jeanne and Dan Valente Center for the Arts & Sciences, Bentley University

Taking Action on the Climate Crisis: Just & Equitable Solutions

The Jeanne and Dan Valente Center for the Arts & Sciences at Bentley University invites faculty working on issues related to just and equitable solutions to the climate crisis to apply to become participating Scholars in Bentley University’s year-long Humanities Research Seminar.  The seminar will hold once a month meetings on the third Friday of the month from 11 AM-1 PM from September 2021 through April 2022 (adjustments will be made for holidays). The seminar will take place in a hybrid format with in person and remote attendance options.  

The theme of the 2021-2022 seminar is “Taking Action on the Climate Crisis: Just & Equitable Solutions.” The world needs stronger AND more equitable climate action through solutions that address inequities and work toward a more just world. Doing so requires an interdisciplinary and global understanding of the problem and the potential solutions. This seminar will invite scholars to share their work, with the goal that scholars may be able to produce a publishable paper in a journal relevant to their fields, a chapter in a book, or a grant application.  It will seek to generate constructive discussions and opportunities to learn from other disciplines. It will connect scholars across fields so that we might explore methods, connections and debates around what does and does not increase equity and mitigate climate change.

Participants are expected to attend all sessions, present their work for feedback and group discussion, and submit a manuscript based on their research for publication.Participants will receive a stipend of $3000 ($1000 for two semesters of participation and an additional $1000 for submitting a manuscript or grant based on the work presented by May 2022).

The Humanities Research Seminar is made possible by a Challenge Grant awarded to Bentley University by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2011. The co-coordinators for this year’s seminar are Laurel Steinfield, Associate Professor in the Marketing Department and Zana Cranmer, Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences. Please contact Laurel and Zana with any questions.

Any researcher interested in participating in the Humanities Research Seminar should send a short description of how their work/research broadly connects to the proposed seminar and what current project you would present and publish as part of the seminar (no more than 500 words). 

All materials should be submitted electronically by 7/23/2021, to Laurel Steinfield and Zana Cranmer ( and Successful applicants will be notified in mid-August. 

Call for proposals: 2021 - 2022 Humanities Research Seminar (Closed)

Faculty to Direct the 2021-2022 Humanities Research Seminar           
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Got BIG Research Ideas?

Do you want to:

  • work with colleagues who share your research interests from different disciplinary perspectives?
  • connect with colleagues from across campus and the greater Boston area?
  • mentor exceptionally motivated students interested in your research?

Consider applying for this unique fellowship through the Valente Center for Arts & Sciences.


With continued funding from a National Endowment for the Humanities challenge grant, the Valente Center is seeking proposals for the 2021-2022 Humanities Research Seminar. Under this program, a full time Bentley faculty member is designated an Organizing Faculty Member and proposes a yearlong interdisciplinary topic that will become the subject of research, teaching, and seminars. Up to ten (10) Participating Faculty members from Bentley University and greater Boston colleges and universities are invited to take part in the seminar and its intellectual activities (and receive a stipend). The seminar may lead to the publication by participants of a volume of articles or chapters. Highly interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary themes are encouraged.

For example, the theme of the 2020-21 seminar is Risk Communication in Times of Crisis, coordinated by Prof. Danielle Hartigan (Natural and Applied Sciences) and Prof. Rob Deleo (Global Studies). Previous seminars included How Taxes Shapes Lives, coordinated by Prof Bridie Andrews, History (2019-2020); Intersectionality (coordinated by Prof. Laurel Steinfield, Marketing (2018-2019); A Transdisciplinary Investigation of Evidence and Its Use (2017-18: coordinated by Prof Sean McDonald, Global Studies (2017-2018), Seeking Solutions to Gender-Related Career Challenges, coordinated by Prof. Susan Adams, Management, (2016-2017); Environmental Justice: Global to Local Contextsm coordinated by Prof. Joni Seager, Global Studies (2015-2016), and Intended Consequences? The Historical and Contemporary Problematic of Planning, organized by Prof. Cyrus Veeser, History (2014-2015).

The Valente Center for Arts & Sciences is proud to be able to support such a breath of research.

Organizing Faculty Fellow’s Responsibilities

  • Spring / Summer 2021: Plan and organize the seminar;
  • Refine the focus of an interdisciplinary topic for the academic year;
  • Ensure that the seminar topic both speaks to a broad constituency informed by the humanities, and provides sufficient focus to cultivate publishable research;
  • Invite, review, and select participating scholars and student fellows;
  • Organize seminar activities, including preliminary planning meetings, specific themes to be explored, publicity for seminar events;
  • AY 2021 -2022: Direct the seminar;
  • With administrative support from the Valente Center team, arrange for the seminar’s logistical details, including space, food and speaker arrangements;
  • Make periodic reports on activities to the director of the Valente Center;
  • Facilitate research collaborations between faculty.

Eligibility and Compensation

All full time faculty members with a well-established research record and leadership experience are eligible. The Organizing Faculty member will receive a stipend of $8,000 for AY 2021-2022. We also welcome a collaborative approach, for instance a team-led seminar. In that case the stipedn will be split. Participating members of the seminar receive a stipend up to $3,000.

Application Process and Deadline

For consideration as the AY 2021-2022 Humanities Research Seminar Organizing Faculty Fellow, submit a brief statement (approximately three pages, maximum) describing:

  • The applicant’s vision for the Humanities Research Seminar, proposed topic, and potential for internal/external participating faculty and student involvement; and
  • The applicant’s research and leadership qualifications.
  • Please also submit an abbreviated CV highlighting relevant research, leadership, and student supervision experience.

Decision Process

The Valente Center Advisory Board will review applications in consultation with the Valente Center Director. Selection and notification will be made in June 2021.

For questions about the program, potential topics, or applications, please contact Hans Eijmberts ( or call 6178889021).

2020 - 2021 Seminar: Risk Communication in Times of Crisis

The Jeanne and Dan Valente Center for the Arts and Sciences at Bentley University invites faculty working on issues around evidence, evaluation or impact to apply to become participating Fellows in Bentley University's year-long Humanities Research Seminar. The seminar will hold once a month meetings on the third Thursday of the month from 3-5 PM from September 2020 though April 2021. The seminar will take place over Zoom in the Fall semester with a potential hybrid format in 2021 if possible.

The theme of the 2020-2021 seminar is "Risk Communication in Times of Crisis." Risk communication is broadly defined as "the real-time exchange of real-time information, advice and opinions between experts and people facing threats to their health, economic or social well-being."(1) In times of crisis, effective risk communication is often a matter of life and death. The field of risk communication is radically interdisciplinary and the proposed Humanities Research Seminar will explore the myriad cultural, economic, political, and social dynamics of risk communication before, during, and after a crisis.

The Humanities Research Seminar is made possible by a Challenge Grant awarded to Bentley University by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2011. The co-coodinators for this year's seminar are Rob DeLeo, Associate Professor in the Global Studies Department and Danielle Hartigan, Associate Professor in the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences. Please contact Rob and Danielle with any questions.


[1] World Health Organization (WHO). 2012. “Risk Communication.” Available at:

Past Seminars

Valente Center Humanities Research Seminar Series 2019-2020

“How Taxes Shape Lives”

Taxation offers a lens through which to examine economic and social change from new angles, and to reflect on how taxes shape our lived and natural environments. This topic, presented in an eight-part seminar series by the Valente Center, will explore the intersection of business studies with the arts and sciences.

Faculty members from the following departments are invited to participate: History, Economics, Global Studies, English and Media Studies, Natural and Applied Sciences, Law, Taxation and Financial Planning, Accountancy, and Philosophy. External collaborators from the Economic departments at Williams College and Wellesley College will also participate. Each participant will choose a topic, such as a particular tax law or reform or an approach to taxation, and present it to the group at a level appropriate for educated non-specialist. After receiving feedback, each participant will write up their topic for publication as a chapter of an edited volume.

The volume will be an accessible mid-market publication and a potential supplementary text for students. The seminar is led by Bridie Andrews, PhD (History). It is by invitation only. 

Valente Center Humanities Research Seminar Series 2018-2019

“Intersectionality at the Intersect of Disciplines”

This theme is broadly construed as the goal of this seminar and is for scholars to share and learn about different disciplinary perspectives and methodological tools used to examine intersecting oppressions.

As per Davis (2008, 68), internationality can be conceptualized as “the interaction [among] categories of difference in individual lives, social practices, institutional arrangements, and cultural ideologies and the outcomes of these interactions in terms of power.” Originating from black feminist scholarship, “intersectionality” has enabled scholars, activists, businesses, and policy makers to better understand and address injustices that occur for individuals and groups from overlapping identity categories, whether race, gender, class, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.

This seminar invites fellows to explore topics related to a field of interest that either have or could benefit from an intersectional lens. This may include political, educational, or environmental processes/policies that result in the exclusion or disadvantage of certain groups, corporate/social entrepreneurial interventions that seek to address and empower disadvantaged groups, representations or sociocultural practices that perpetuate marginalization or misrecognitions, the sociocultural or psychological aspects involved in the interaction of privileges and oppressions, among many other possibilities.

This seminar was organized by Laurel Steinfield, assistant professor of Marketing. The Humanities Seminar is proudly organized by the Valente Center with the support of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Valente Center Humanities Research Seminar Series 2017-2018

"A Transdisciplinary Investigation of Evidence and Its Use" 

Evidence is a cornerstone of academic research and has application across multiple, if not most, disciplines.  Additionally, governments, corporations, NGOs and other organizations harness evidence to identify emerging trends, inform decision-making, and, ultimately, justify actions. Every academic discipline has its own definition and standard of evidence.  From law to political science, history to math, geography to geology, scholars universally recognize the importance of evidence but often rely on widely different methodologies for acquiring, analyzing and disseminating evidence and other “empirical” metrics. Even within disciplines scholars frequently quarrel over the value of qualitative versus quantitative techniques, debates that ultimately center on the relative value of different types of evidence—ranging from contextual accounts of specific events to robust statistical databases. Indeed, many academic conferences devote entire sections or, at the very least, a handful of subset panels to addressing these pressing methodological questions.

The Humanities Seminar was proudly organized by the Valente Center with the support of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The organizing faculty fellow for the 2017-18 Valente Humanities Seminar is Sean McDonald, Associate Professor of Global Studies.

Valente Center Humanities Research Seminar Series 2015-2016

Environmental Justice: Global to Local Contexts”

This theme is broadly construed, and we are eager to bring participants to the table who work on a wide range of issues related to differential health and environmental burdens caused by poverty and racial, ethnic, gender, or class discrimination. We anticipate that topics might include patterns of toxic pollution, food insecurity, differential public health outcomes, impacts of climate precarity (at any scale), and the lack of representation of minority communities and diverse participants in environmental politics and environmental movements, among many other possibilities. The convener for this year’s seminar is Joni Seager, Professor and Chair, Global Studies, Bentley University.