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.

The Why Black Lives Matter Curriculum 2020-05-07

May 7, 2020

How can the humanities help teens process current-day issues and create a more equitable society? Staff at Wide Angle Youth Media have developed a curriculum called “Why Black Lives Matter: Discussing Race Through Film, Photography, and Design." The curriculum pairs youth media projects with instructional content. Dena Robinson –Wide Angle Youth Media’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Facilitator – tells us more. Maryland Humanities has provided support to this programming with a grant.

The Affirming Power Of LGBTQ Storytelling (Encore)

Apr 2, 2020

How is storytelling a form of survival? R. Eric Thomas, Senior Staff Writer at Elle Magazine and Board Member at FreeState Justice, tells us more. 

Autism Through A Literary Lens (Encore)

Mar 26, 2020
Hannah Grieco

How can writing create help create a more inclusive world for autistic people? Writer Hannah Grieco is the mother of an autistic twelve-year-old son well as a former teacher. Her byline has appeared in The Washington PostThe Baltimore Sun, and more. Hannah talks about how her son’s influence on her writing.  

Complex Histories Along The Potomac

Mar 19, 2020
Accokeek Foundation

The Accokeek Foundation was founded to preserve the landscape along the Maryland shore of the Potomac River, the same view George Washington had more than 200 years ago. Laura Ford, the Foundation’s Executive Director, shares how this Prince George’s County organization has been shifting and widening its focus in recent years.

Exploring Maryland History Through Original Theatre

Mar 12, 2020
Baltimore School for the Arts

How are teenagers bringing history to life through theatre? Norah Worthington, Historical Partnership Director and Resident Costumer at Baltimore School for the Arts, tells us more.

The Humanities In Maryland: A Reflection

Mar 5, 2020
Dennis Drenner


"...the humanities—literature, history, archaeology, theology, philosophy, art history, and ethics—offer a lens through which to more deeply and clearly understand ourselves and the world around us." In a special Humanities Connection segment, Phoebe Stein offers a sort of love letter to championing the humanities. 

Water/Ways In Calvert County

Feb 27, 2020
Calvert Library

How are high school students in Calvert County making documentary films to tell some of their region’s stories? Robyn Truslow, Public Relations Coordinator at Calvert Library, tells us more.

Networked Anthropology

Feb 20, 2020

How have smartphones and our constant connectivity changed the way we travel- and the way we relate to one another through the places we visit? Towson University anthropology professors Samuel Collins and Matthew Durington tell us how their research led them to the new idea of “networked anthropology.” You can read more about this idea on their Tumblr. 

African American History Month In Wicomico County

Feb 14, 2020
Wicomico Public Libraries

How is one Eastern Shore region amplifying its own heroes this African American History Month? What are the connections between jazz and civil rights history? Cheryl Sidwell, Events and Development Manager at Wicomico Public Libraries, tells us more. Read the transcript.

Heritage And Inclusivity

Feb 7, 2020

How can heritage be a tool for inclusion and acceptance rather than exclusion? Andrew Arvizu of Patapsco Heritage Greenway tells us more: Arvizu is the Heritage Coordinator at the Ellicott City organization.

For Black History Month, Charles H. Flowers High School in Prince George’s County hosts a show of its students’ art. Part of the process involved students with disabilities attending museums and interpreting art prior to creating their own. LeAnn Holden-Martin, a Special Education Teacher at the school, tells us more. Read the transcript.

St. Mary's College of Maryland

How can an institution shed light on the fact that its location was a place where enslaved people once worked? St. Mary’s College of Maryland will install a memorial to the enslaved peoples of Southern Maryland. The college will also host a public symposium called “From Invisibility to Remembrance: Commemorating Slavery in St. Mary’s City and Southern Maryland.” Dr. Julia King, Professor of Anthropology at the college, tells us more about the history of enslaved people in St. Mary’s City and the college’s commemoration.

A Performance Inspired By The Peabody Library’s History

Jan 16, 2020
Submersive Productions

One arts organization is creating a choose-your-own-adventure performance to explore a library’s history. Ursula Marcum, Co-Artistic Director at Submersive Productions, tells us more.

Army And Navy Hospital Ships

Jan 10, 2020
National Museum of Health and Medicine

Have you ever heard of a floating hospital? Did you know that The Army and Navy have sailed almost 60 hospital ships since the Civil War? Steven Hill, Exhibits Manager at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, talks about our nation’s history of hospital ships.

Elizabeth Catlett: Artist As Activist

Jan 2, 2020
Montpelier Arts Center

Elizabeth Catlett received a Lifetime Achievement Award in contemporary sculpture from the International Sculpture Center in 2003. Decades earlier, Carnegie Institute of Technology revoked her admission when the school learned she was Black. Jackie Copeland, Executive Director of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, tells us more about the groundbreaking artist.

As the end of the year approaches, many of us consider donating to charities and nonprofits. Dr. Heather Miller-Reubens —Executive Director of the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies — tells us about Dorothy Day, a religious leader who offered a powerful meditation on giving.

Elizabeth Catlett: Artist As Activist

Dec 19, 2019
Reginald F. Lewis Museum

Elizabeth Catlett received a Lifetime Achievement Award in contemporary sculpture from the International Sculpture Center in 2003. Decades earlier, Carnegie Institute of Technology revoked her admission when the school learned she was Black. Jackie Copeland, Executive Director of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, tells us more about the groundbreaking artist.

Maryland Witches

Dec 12, 2019
Rissa Miller

What led someone to charge an Anne Arundel County woman with witchcraft in the 1700s? Rissa Miller, a tour guide with Maryland History Tours, talks about the history of witchcraft in Maryland.

Maryland State Library for the Blind and Print Disabled


Did you know that 21% of adults in Maryland have reported that they have a disability? John Owen is the Director of the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Print Disabled. He tells us how blind and low-vision people access books and computers in the digital age.

Maryland Culinary History (Encore)

Nov 28, 2019
Kara Mae Harris

Kara Harris has spent eight years researching Maryland culinary history. She travels the state and sometimes the country to research cookbooks from over a hundred years ago. Four years ago, she turned her hobby into a blog, Old Line Plate. Harris tells us more about what cookbooks can tell us about our state’s history.

Amplifying Black History And Youth

Nov 21, 2019
Muse 360 Arts

How is one organization combining civic engagement, history, and the arts to ensure that the voices of Baltimore youth are heard? Sharayna Christmas, Executive Director of Muse 360 Arts, tells us more.

The Affirming Power Of LGBTQ Storytelling

Nov 14, 2019
Katie Simbala

How is storytelling a form of survival? R. Eric Thomas, Senior Staff Writer at Elle Magazine and Board Member at FreeState Justice, tells us more. 

Making A Difference With History

Nov 7, 2019
Mitro Hood Photography, courtesy of Maryland Humanities

As an eight-grader last spring, Addie Skillman won first place in the junior individual performance category at Maryland History Day for her project “Loving v. Virginia: The Stepping Stone for Equality in America.” Addie then advanced to the National History Day contest in College Park where she won the top prize—the Gold Medal—for her junior individual performance. Currently a ninth grader at Howard High, Addie tells us how her participation in the program changed her life.

Día de Los Muertos And Artesanas Mexicanas

Oct 31, 2019
Creative Alliance

How have Día de Los Muertos observances changed over the past 3,000 years?   Yesenia Mejia, part of a group called Artesanas Mexicanas and Artesanas Mexicanas Coordinator at the Creative Alliance, tells us more and talks about the value she finds in observing the holiday today in Baltimore. 

The Mythic Life Of Amelia Earhart

Oct 24, 2019
Kiirstn Pagan

In the play Here We Are, Amelia Earhart wakes up in the underworld. Playwright Jen Diamond intertwines her own imaginings with biographical information about the aviator. Interrobang Theatre Company produces the play. Artistic Director Katie Hileman tells us more.

A Global View Of Water At Calvert County (Encore)

Oct 17, 2019

The Smithsonian Institution makes a stop in Calvert County with H2O Today, now at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum. This Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition explores the beauty and essential nature of water and the diversity and challenges of our global water sources. Rachelle Green, Acting Director at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, tells us more.

Making The Humanities Accessible

Oct 4, 2019

How can we make the humanities more accessible to people with disabilities? Tammy Black of the Hearing and Speech Agency or HASA, tells us more.

The Humanities In Person

Sep 27, 2019
Howard County Poetry & Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo)

In the digital age, what’s the value of connecting face-to-face while celebrating the humanities? Tara Hart, Co-Chair of Howard County Poetry and Literature Society, tells us more.

Dalton Johnson, courtesy of Baltimore Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound.

How is Outward Bound using the humanities in its outdoor programming to enhance young people’s reflection, leadership skills, and more? Kelly Reynolds, Instructional Designer at Baltimore Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound, talks about the organization’s Character Curriculum.

The Legacy and Future of the Enoch Pratt Free Library

Sep 12, 2019
Enoch Pratt Free Library

Audio coming soon.   

In the 1800s, Enoch Pratt said Baltimore needed “...a free circulating public library, open to all citizens regardless of property or color.” How is the Enoch Pratt Free Library continuing Pratt’s legacy with renovations to the Central Library? Meghan McCorkell, the library’s Marketing & Communications Director, tells us more.