Humanities Connection | WYPR

Humanities Connection

Thursday at 4:44 pm
  • Hosted by Hosted by: Maryland Humanities Executive Director Dr. Phoebe Stein

Humanities Connection explores the role of the humanities in our daily lives, and features lively reflections around topics like education, literature, health care, race, politics, religion, history, and more.

Joining Phoebe for each segment is a series of special guests, including Maryland Humanities partners, board members, and local humanists. The result is a mix of stories and conversation designed to shed light on the human experience and stimulate the intellectual curiosity of our listeners.

Archive Prior to 11/5/13

Theme music created by Brian Whaley at

Visit Maryland Humanities to access additional resources, videos, and other dynamic content related to each segment.

Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities.

What are the humanities? The humanities explore the human experience. Through the humanities, we think about who we are – our ideas, our histories, our literature, our values – and how we relate to one another. The humanities include literature, history, philosophy, archaeology, languages, theology, jurisprudence, ethics, art history, architecture, and some disciplines of the social sciences.

Wide Angle Youth Media: Natasha and Kristina

Jan 15, 2015

  In August, listeners learned about Wide Angle Youth Media, a non-profit that teaches Baltimore youth media skills, provides opportunities to tell their own stories, and become engaged with their communities.

Writers in Schools Promote a Love of Reading

Jan 8, 2015
photo courtesy of PEN Faulkner Foundation

The PEN/Faulkner Foundation brings together writers and readers to promote a love of literature. With Maryland Humanities Council grant-support, their Writers in Schools program has expanded into Baltimore City Public and Public Charter Schools, offering a deeply personal reading experience for students.


A workshop by the Center for Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University and the Black Press Research Collective, titled "Visualizing the History of the Black Press in the United States," sought to address the lack of digital research tools exploring the geographic scope and social significance of African American newspapers in the U.S.

Mary, the Visitation, and the Magnificat: Part 2

Dec 25, 2014

Last week Humanities Connection featured Dr. Heather Miller Rubens, a Roman Catholic Scholar at the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies, on Mary’s visit to Elizabeth in Luke's Gospel. Today, on Christmas day, Dr. Homayra Ziad, ICJS' first Muslim Scholar, provides insights on the Muslim poet Jalaluddin Rumi's writings on the role of Mary in the Qur'an and the story of the Visitation.

Mary, the Visitation, and the Magnificat: Part 1

Dec 18, 2014
(Image-Champaigne’s “Visitation” courtesy of Wikipedia)

Comparative religion is an aspect of the humanities that offers critical insights into the human experience.  In recognition of the upcoming holiday, we turn to the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies for a two-part series reflecting on Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth prior to giving birth, and the Magificant,  Mary's song of praise.

In September, we heard about the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum's teaching collection and their partnership with Baltimore Clayworks, a local nonprofit ceramic art center in Baltimore City.

When the Gutenberg's Bible was printed in 1455 on German printer Johannes Gutenberg's movable type printing press, it set forth the age of the printed book in the Western world.

America: Melting Pot or Salad Bowl?

Nov 27, 2014
Melting Pot stirred by Liberty courtesy of American wikki

Marylanders' Thanksgiving feasts reflect both our state's bounty, like oyster stuffing, to dishes like sauerkraut, that also represent the European immigrants who later settled here.

Digitizing Sherman’s March

Nov 20, 2014

On December 2,  the UMBC Dresher Center for the Humanities presents a lecture and discussion featuring a new digital humanities project, "Mapping Memory: Digitizing Sherman’s March to the Sea," that uses storytelling to explore Sherman’s historic 1864 March to the Sea.

Public Philosophy in Today’s World

Nov 13, 2014

The study philosophy explores the human condition and searching for meaning in the world around us. Today, public philosophy brings the practices of philosophy to public forums to address social, ethical, and other contemporary issues.

Maryland Legacy Day

Nov 6, 2014

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the end of slavery in Maryland. With MHC support the Prince George’s chapter of the Afro American Historical Genealogical Society is hosting its 19th annual Maryland Legacy Day on November 15, exploring the significance of this historic event and its legacy.

Veterans' Voices

Oct 30, 2014

On November 10, the Bob Parsons Veterans Center, the Maryland Humanities Council, and Spotlight UB present "Veterans’ Voices," a free evening of readings by veterans about their experiences, followed by facilitated discussion.

The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum

Oct 23, 2014

  When Dr. Elmer Martin and his wife Dr. Joanne Martin founded the nation's first black history wax museum in a store-front in downtown Baltimore in 1983, the museum featured 22 wax figures on display.

One Maryland One Book: Wandering Books

Oct 16, 2014

What connections could be forged if everyone in the state read the same book?  Now in its seventh year, The Maryland Humanities Council's One Maryland One Book program encourages discussions across our entire community--from avid readers to reluctant ones.

Conversations with Oedipus

Oct 9, 2014

  October 20-22, Loyola University Maryland, with Maryland Humanities Council grant support, will host a three-day symposium exploring the contemporary value of Greek theatre.

A Day at Clifton

Oct 2, 2014

In 1814 The Clifton Mansion, located in Clifton Park in Northeast Baltimore, was the home of Captain Henry Thompson, but today it is the headquarters for Civic Works, a local nonprofit that strengthens the Baltimore community through skill building and volunteerism.

Migrant Clinicians Network: Work. Respect. Dignity.

Sep 25, 2014
Earl Dotter

Immigrants play an important role in Maryland’s agriculturally-driven economy on the Eastern Shore, but are they integrated into their communities?

Accokeek Foundation Food for Thought Festival

Sep 18, 2014

  For more than 50 years, the Accokeek Foundation has stewarded the shores of Piscataway Park on the Potomac River. It was one of the nation’s first land trusts, founded to protect the view from George Washington’s Mount Vernon across the River.

The A-MAZEing Mendes Cohen

Sep 11, 2014

  As the city marks the bicentennial of the Battle of Baltimore, the Jewish Museum of Maryland opens the exhibit, “The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen,” which tells the tale of real-life Jewish adventurer, Mendes Cohen.

Johns Hopkins Archaeology Museum

Sep 4, 2014

  The Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum’s collection contains over 9,000 artifacts. Its teaching collection employs an interactive and interdisciplinary approach for students that bring to life these found objects in new ways.

Without the land Battles of North Point and Hampstead Hill, where thousands of citizen soldiers, one fifth of which were African-Americans, delayed the British, the rockets’ red glare and the Birth of our National Anthem at Ft. McHenry might have had a very different outcome.

The Humanities Explore Fundamental Questions

Aug 21, 2014

Students who study the humanities as part of a well-rounded liberal arts education explore questions fundamental to the human existence. Who are we? Where have we been?

Wide Angle Media

Aug 14, 2014
Wide Angle Youth Media

 Wide Angle Youth Media is a non-profit that teaches Baltimore youth media skills, provides opportunities to tell their own stories, and become engaged with their communities.

Maryland History Day is a statewide competition involving nearly 19,000 students who represent 20 Maryland counties and Baltimore City.

Historian, veteran journalist and architecture critic James D. Dilts wrote in a 2012 Baltimore Brew article "You can learn about a city from its authors, artists, and musicians, and also from its buildings.  Like books, they are tactile objects capable of transporting you, in the sense of inspiring intense emotions." 

Books: A Doorway to Discovery

Jul 24, 2014

The years before children enter the classroom are crucial to setting a student on the path to academic success.

Baltimore Heritage, Telling Our Stories

Jul 17, 2014

Our heritage is comprised of not only dates and historical facts, but also the stories we hand down to future generations.

Civic Reflection: Inside and Out

Jul 11, 2014

Community Mediation Maryland is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and strengthening mediation programs in our state. Their Maryland Humanities Council grant-supported program, Civic Reflection: Inside and Out, adds reading and discussion to their successful prisoner re-entry mediation programs.

Gilmor's Raid

Jul 3, 2014

Maryland played a pivotal role during the Civil War. The war between brothers was fought around us and in our backyards.

Chautauqua “Emily Dickinson”

Jun 26, 2014
Thomas D. Law

This July marks the 20th anniversary of Chautauqua, the Maryland Humanities Council’s free living history performance series, where scholars perform as famous people from history and then engage the audience in conversation in character.