DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > HumanitiesX fellows to take on book banning, human rights, roots of democracy

HumanitiesX fellows to take on book banning, human rights, roots of democracy

DePaul faculty shape coursework leading up to the 2024 presidential election

St. Vincent's Circle
(DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences recently announced the third set of HumanitiesX fellows, who will develop courses around the theme “Democracy and Rights,” leading up to the 2024 presidential election. Three interdisciplinary teams will engage students in new courses around book banning, human rights and the roots of American democracy.

“These courses will offer students a chance to move beyond the temporary drama of the primary elections,” says Lisa Dush, an associate professor of writing, rhetoric and discourse and faculty director of HumanitiesX. "Students and faculty will explore the roots of our democratic rights, why rights matter and how people have responded across cultures when their rights have been denied.”

Funded by the Mellon Foundation, the HumanitiesX collaborative joins faculty and students from DePaul with community partners from Chicago-area arts, cultural and civic organizations. Faculty fellows in the program reimagine teaching and learning in the humanities and demonstrate what can be accomplished — in DePaul classrooms and in Chicago — by interdisciplinary teams applying humanities methods to real-world projects.

The new fellows include:

  • Barrie Jean Borich (English), Heather Montes Ireland (Women’s and Gender Studies) and Erin Bell (Operations Director, Gerber/Hart Library) are developing the course “Do Say Gay: Banned Books and LGBTQ+ Freedom.” Faculty will introduce students to the Gerber/Hart Library and its archives, which seek to preserve and make accessible the history and culture of the LGBTQ communities in Chicago and the Midwest. Students will deepen their understanding of LGBTQ+ book banning and design real-world educational exhibits about the issue.

  • Matt Maguire (History/Catholic Studies), David Lay Williams (Political Science) and Aimée Laberge (Director of Programs, Alliance Française de Chicago) are developing the course “Democracy in America.” The group will bring two faculty experts on Tocqueville together with an organization that has deep expertise in French culture and in planning public events. The students in that course will host a public discussion about the historical roots of American democracy.

  • Susana Martinez (Peace, Justice & Conflict Studies/Modern Languages), Lydia Saravia (Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse) and Jhonathan Gomez (Latin America Program Coordinator, Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America) are developing the course “Historical Memory Project: Ni Olvido, Ni Perdon.” This team will explore human rights cross-culturally, helping students to see the fight for human rights as both global and perpetual.
"Our goal is to engage students in fundamental questions about democracy and rights — the sort of learning we do in the humanities — in a way that energizes both faculty and students. I can’t wait to see how next year’s teams share their humanities learning with the broader campus community and the city,” Dush says.

More about HumanitiesX can be found at the initiative’s website.

Russell Dorn is a manager of news and integrated content in University Communications.