The Center for the Advancement of the Humanities newsletter contains events hosted by the center and other related events on campus and in the Milwaukee area community, updates on center news and projects, featured groups or initiatives, as well as other news and trivia about the humanities.

  • Newsletter Highlights
  • Events Calendar
  •  CFAH Spring 2020 Conference
  • Marquette University Press
  • AMUW Chair
  • Staff and Advisory Board

A Letter from the Director

James SouthWelcome to the inaugural newsletter of the Center for the Advancement of the Humanities! Here you will find a recap of events that we embarked on in our first year of operation and upcoming plans for this second year.

The Center’s mission is in its title: “advancement.” Humanistic inquiry faces a wide set of challenges in today’s hyper-driven world of results, changing technologies, and daunting social and environmental problems. The crucial need is to acknowledge those challenges and develop ways of proceeding that look ahead by seeking to enhance humanistic research and teaching, both for their own sake and for the sake of the public good. In this second year of the Center, we have plans to do just that, including a major conference, a variety of speakers, and resources for faculty and graduate students to enhance their research and teaching of humanistic topics. I remain grateful that Marquette established this Center as concrete evidence of the centrality of humanistic inquiry to a Jesuit education in all its dimensions.

In highlighting the role of the humanities, our students are thereby encouraged to develop their moral imagination, learn essential leadership capacities, recognize the need for taking account of the entire complexity of the problems to which they put their minds, and realize that all things in the world need to be seen through a lens of ethical and social responsibility. I trust this year’s conference on “Urban Spaces, Creative Places: A Blueprint for the Humanities in the City,” will highlight the intersection of the humanities within the urban environment of Milwaukee. I also look forward to the Simmons Lecture on Society and Human Values, the exemplarity of the creative impulse in the LitMarquette Series program, the Humanities Research Colloquium Series, the Undergraduate Humanities Conference, and efforts to promote career diversity in humanities Ph.D. programs, and many other initiatives that will have a positive effect in inspiring students, faculty, and staff to reengage with what is at the core of their identity: the dignity of each and every human being and the awe-inspiring responsibilities that emerge from that recognition.

All the best,
Dr. James B. South

Seminars for Fall 2019 semester

The Center for the Advancement of the Humanities announces two non-credit seminars for the Fall 2019 semester: Grundrisse by Karl Marx Non-Credit Reading Seminar and a Postcolonial Non-Credit Seminar.

  • Grundrisse by Karl Marx Non-Credit Reading Seminar
    In this zero-level course we will read and discuss selections from Marx’s Grundrisse. We will expect some background knowledge of Marx – having read Capital: Volume 1 will be a benefit but is not required. We will consider Marx's method of abstraction, objectification and alienation, exploitation, dispossession and uneven development, freedom and social relations, individuals and community, necessity and contingency in history, and the fragment on machines and cognitive capitalism. Because it is a zero-level course there are no requirements. We just ask that participants come having read the sections with (1) a sense of what Marx was trying to say and (2) some thoughts about it. 

    Hosted by Michael McCarthy and Michael Wert
    Every other Tuesday, beginning August 27
    1:30 PM
    Cudahy Hall 417
  • Postcolonial Non-Credit Seminar 
    The Center for the Advancement of the Humanities is sponsoring a semester-long non-credit seminar devoted to postcolonial scholarship from across the disciplines. Our aim is to bring together an interdisciplinary group of students, staff, faculty, and community members to discuss scholarship within the field of postcolonial studies. We plan to begin with foundational texts and move chronologically through contemporary and emerging work in the field. Meetings will be held twice a month and light refreshments will be served. We also encourage input on reading selection and discussion topics.

    Hosted by Jackielee Derks
    Every other Tuesday, beginning September 3rd
    9:30-10:30 AM
    William Wehr Physics Building 150

Marquette University Humanities Alumni

In the spirit of career diversity, we highlight three Marquette alumni who have taken their humanities degrees in remarkable and unforeseen directions.

  • Matt Costello, Ph.D., History
    Matt Costello attended Marquette University from 2009 to 2016 and earned his Master’s in American history in 2011, and a Ph.D. in 2016. He specializes in early American history, particularly from the Revolutionary War to the antebellum period, and his dissertation, written under the direction of Dr. Kristen Foster, focused on the memory of George Washington. He currently serves as the Acting Director of the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History at the White House Historical Association. In addition to his responsibilities as an historian, Matt oversees the Association’s research, education, and public programming departments. As a result, he’s become involved in a variety of initiatives, event planning, and serves as an advocate on behalf of his colleagues. Matt is working on a number of research pursuits including the WHHA’s Slavery in the President’s Neighborhood research initiative and their quarterly journal. He is also working on a book project for the WHHA that explores Theodore Roosevelt’s renovation of the White House in 1902. His first book, The Property of the Nation: George Washington’s Tomb, Mount Vernon, and the Memory of the First President, will be out this October with the University of Kansas Press. In his spare time, Matt teaches an annual course on the history of the White House at American University in Washington D.C.
  • Anna Scanlon, Ph.D., English
    Anna Scanlon started her Ph.D. coursework at Marquette in 2013 and graduated with her Ph.D. in English this August. Her dissertation research, conducted under the tutelage of Dr. Sarah Wadsworth, examines the emerging field of medical humanities with an emphasis on the sexist and racist language used in medical and fiction literature throughout the long nineteenth century. Anna also found another advisor in the form of Dr. Rebecca Nowacek, Director of Marquette’s Norman H. Ott Writing Center, a mentor who deeply informed Anna’s professional preparations post-Ph.D. Anna understood that “the longer I worked with Rebecca, the more I wanted to be like her when I ‘grew up’.” When the time came for Anna to begin her career search, she applied for traditional tenure track positions as well as positions open at writing and tutoring centers. Earlier this year, she made the decision to accept a formal position as the Director for the Writing Center at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. Here, in addition to leading the writing center, she also gets the opportunity to teach writing through medicine and medical literature. According to Anna, this hybrid career path allows her “to be able to do both of the things which inspired me during my Ph.D. and use them in surprising ways.” For current Ph.D. students concerned about their job prospects, Anna advises them to “begin your teaching portfolio early, update regularly, and go to the writing center for help! The jobs are out there, we just have to be creative and gentle with ourselves.” She hopes to encourage everyone, because “when you do land on that job that’s the right fit, you know it, and so do the people hiring you.” 
  • Ryan McBride, Ph.D., Philosophy
    Ryan McBride is a 2005 Ph.D. graduate from the Philosophy department where he researched and explored the clashes between early Greek science and myth in Plato’s Timaeus under the direction of Owen Goldin. McBride found great inspiration from several professors including James South and Arthur Madigan, S.J., a visiting professor during Ryan’s tenure at the university. Currently, Ryan is an Administrative Associate Professor at Tulane University where he teaches classical rhetoric courses including a community-based exploration of “Aristotle in New Orleans” which attempts to think about rhetoric and the good life while also practicing them. Ryan’s work with the Aristotle course also led him to launch and co-direct a middle school debate league along with teachers from over a dozen schools in New Orleans as well as professors at Xavier University of Louisiana. In addition to his work as a professor and debate coach, Ryan directs the Mellon Graduate Program in Community Engaged Scholarship in the Humanities at Tulane. It is an interdisciplinary certificate program that brings together graduate students in the humanities, community leaders, and faculty for a multifaceted two-year cohort experience. The program, which has been funded by $1.5 million in grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, includes coursework, monthly dinners with faculty and community leaders, and collaboratively designed, community-engaged projects. This program supports participants as they connect their academic interests to new communities to develop civically informed, ethically grounded, public scholarship. Ryan says this work “has given me a new appreciation for the sort of education that is not strictly intellectual, the kind of education that has to do with building relationships, working collaboratively, developing self-awareness, listening to others, and seeing the wisdom outside of academia. With this graduate program we are concerned with the whole person – the Jesuit notion of cura personalis is regularly on my mind. We are adding new dimensions to the sorts of traditional scholarship that humanities graduate students learn, which broadens the students’ experiences, benefits communities, and enriches their disciplines.”

A Look back at Year One: A Successful Launch

  • Career Diversity Initiative
    During the 2018-2019 academic year, the Center for the Advancement of the Humanities launched a new graduate student focused programming endeavor entitled the Career Diversity Initiative (CDI), a collaborative project between the CFAH and the Marquette Graduate School. The CDI is dedicated to offering career and professional development programming, resources, and workshops for all Marquette Master's and Ph.D. students, but in particular, focuses on the special needs of students working on advanced degrees in the humanities. Historically referred to as the "alt-ac" movement, career diversity proposes that graduate students should be exposed to a variety of potential careers both within and beyond the academy. Led by Dr. Theresa Tobin, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Development in the Graduate School, Dr. James South, Executive Director of the CFAH, and Margaret Nettesheim Hoffmann, a Ph.D. candidate in the History department and Program Coordinator for the Career Diversity Initiative, the project designed three career diversity events for graduate students, faculty, and administrators during the course of the school year.

    In September 2018, the CDI hosted its inaugural event featuring speakers Dr. Antoinette Burton and Jason B.P. Mierek from Humanities Without Walls. HWW is a consortium of fifteen midwestern universities funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and based at the University of Illinois's Program for Research in the Humanities. The one-day event entitled the "Humanities Without Walls Career Diversity Symposium," introduced the Marquette community to the HWW career diversity fellowship, a competitive national fellowship open to humanities Ph.D. students. The symposium also focused on the career trajectories of three Marquette humanities Ph.D. alumni who discussed their post-Ph.D. career pathways beyond the academy. The day concluded with a roundtable conversation led by humanities faculty, administrators, and university leadership.

    The year's events concluded with the first annual Career Development Bootcamp, a week-long intensive and immersive professional development workshop open to all Marquette graduate students. Sixteen Marquette graduate students from a number of research disciplines attended sessions that explored an array of topics, including: career values and discernment, how to use social media for networking purposes, the differences between an academic versus a non-academic job interview, and how to write cover letters and resumes for non-academic careers. During the third-day of the bootcamp, students traveled to three Milwaukee based employers for site-visits including the local branch of the Social Security Administration, the United Community Center, and Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance. The week ended with a networking lunch that brought together the graduate student attendees with over fifteen Milwaukee based employers.

    The CDI is planning a number of new events for the 2019-2020 academic year, so keep an eye out for news about those plans in the coming weeks and months!
  • Celebrating the Humanities at Marquette Conference
    The Center for the Advancement of the Humanities hosted our first conference in March of 2019. Our theme, “Celebrating the Humanities at Marquette,” brought together different campus scholars working in humanistic studies, broadly understood. The conference achieved a large and diverse reach that included undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff. The diversity of participants both showcased different levels of scholarship and fostered community amongst humanists of all ages and expertise levels. We were pleased to have then-dean Dr. Richard Holz open the conference on Friday and to have many department chairs in attendance. On Saturday, Fr. Mueller, S.J. guided us in a blessing, and it was exciting to see many Marquette University parents attend and ask questions. We estimate that we had over 50 guests on Friday and nearly 90 on Saturday! This large draw was partly due to our stimulating keynote speakers, Dr. Susan F. Friedman (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Fr. Kevin Burke, S.J. (Regis University). The Marquette University humanities community was honored to host and share ideas with them both.

CFAH Events Fall 2019

  • "Augustine and Levinas on the Self"
    Dr. Robert Bernasconi, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy and African American Studies, Penn State University
    Monday, September 9, 5 PM

  • Humanities Research Colloquium
    "Canonizing Chaucer in the Hundred Years War"
    Dr. Elizaveta Strakhov, Department of English
    Wednesday, September 18, 4 PM
    Marquette Hall 105

  • "Cranmer in Context: The Patristic Sources for his Theology under Henry VII"
    Rev. Canon Dr. Ashley Null
    Tuesday October 1, 4:00-5:30PM
    Sensenbrenner Hall, Eisenberg Reading Room

  • Silent Book Club
    Open to all graduate and professional students. A monthly opportunity to read silently. Together. Bring your own book (BYOB). There's no assigned reading. Light refreshments will be provided.
    Launch: Wednesday, October 2, 6PM
    707 Hub
  • "Antisemitism as a Challenge to our Society"
    Dr. Mark Weitzman
    Thursday, October 3, 7:00 PM
    Dr. E. J. and Margaret O’Brien Hall

  • Frank L. Klement Lecture - 2019, "Communities of Memory: Remembering the Civil War"
    Caroline E. Janney
    John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War; Director, John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History, University of Virginia
    Monday, October 7, 4:30 PM
    Beaumier Suites BC, Raynor Memorial Library

  • LitMarquette Series
    Featuring Esther Meeks and Peter Spaulding
    Wednesday, October 9, 2 PM

  • Digital Scholarship Symposium
    Thursday, October 10, 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM
    Raynor Library, Beaumier B & C
  • "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture"
    Greg Kot
    October 10, 6:30 PM
    Marquette Hall 100
  • The CA Roundtable on Philosophy and Race
    Keynote Speaker: Dr. Paul C. Taylor
    W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University
    October 18-19

  • 2019 Milwaukee Film Festival, Oct. 17-31
    The Center for the Advancement of the Humanities is sponsoring a film during the 2019 Milwaukee Film Festival: YOU GAVE ME A SONG

  • "The End of Textual Exile: New Epic Indigenous Narratives"
    Arturo Arias, Visiting Research Scholar and Visiting Professor in Latin American Studies and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Princeton University
    Tuesday, October 29, 4 PM
    Henke Lounge

  • The Inaugural Event of the Health Humanities Speaker Series                           "The English Major Goes to Medical School"                                                       A talk by Jenny Thomas, MD, MPH                                                              Wednesday, October 30, 4PM                                                                    Eisenberg Reading Room Sensebrenner Hall, Marquette University
  • The Distinguished Eleanor H. Boheim Lecture, “Aguanile”: Critical Listening, Mourning and Anti-colonial Healing
    Dr. Frances R. Aparicio, 2019-20 AMUW Women’s Chair in Humanistic Studies
    Wednesday, October 30, 6PM 
    Beaumier Suites, Raynor Memorial Libraries  

  • Humanities Research Colloquium
    Stephanie Rivera Berruz, Department of Philosophy
    Thursday, November 7, 4 PM
    Marquette Hall 105
  • St. Ephrem the Syrian in Byzantium: A Symposium on the Greek Writings attributed to St. Ephrem the Syrian                                                                     V. Rev. Maximos Constas, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology; Rev. Kevin Kalish, Bridgewater State University; Dr. Marcus Plested, Marquette University; Dr. Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent, Marquette University; Dr. Alexis Torrance, University of Notre Dame 
    Saturday, November 9, 10:00AM-3:00PM                                                        Sensebrenner Hall 104
  • LitMarquette Series
    Poetry Reading
    Matt Cook
    Wednesday, November 13, 4 PM
  • Career Diversity and the Public Humanist Symposium
    Thursday, November 14
    Eisenberg Reading Room
  • The Trauma of Torture Conference
    November 15-16
    AMU Ballrooms and Haggerty Museum
  • Humanities Research Colloquium
    "The Fullness of Free Time: Leisure and Recreation in the Moral Life"
    Conor Kelly, Department of Theology
    Wednesday, December 4, 4 PM
    Marquette Hall 105
  • CFAH Conference
    "Urban Spaces, Creative Places: A Blueprint for the Humanities in the City"
    February 14-15, 2020 

CFAH Spring 2020 Conference: Call for Papers

Urban Spaces, Creative Places: A Blueprint for the Humanities in the City
February 14 & 15, 2020
Marquette University

"For our philosophic artists differ at once from all others in being unwilling to start work on an individual or a city, until they are given, or have made themselves, a clean canvas." - Plato, Republic


As both physical place and ideal concept, the city has provided a space for thinkers from every age and culture to explore vital questions of human existence. The city was a key political unit in classical philosophy; particular cities are holy places for many religions; and cities have been key characters in the dramas of ancient and contemporary history. Cities are dynamic, dialogic places, meeting-places and axes of change. They are inherently creative, sources of inspiration for the artists that live in them, as well as canvases on which those artists-working in words and images, but also in laws and institutions-imagine their worlds.

To celebrate the unique relationship of the city to humanistic work, Marquette University's Center for the Advancement of the Humanities invites presentations that explore any aspect of the city through a humanities lens. We consider the definition of "city" very broadly, and welcome submissions that consider everything from specific cities (e.g. Milwaukee, Chicago) to the polis or community as a concept. We also consider the "humanities" broadly, and welcome submissions both from affiliates of traditional humanities disciplines (e.g. Philosophy, History) and from those in other fields whose work engages humanistic questions.

The conference's confirmed keynotes reflect the wide-ranging nature of its topic and the conference itself: Chad Bauman, Executive Director of Milwaukee's Repertory Theater, and Dr. Amy Lippert, scholar of 19th-century American history.

Creative as well as traditional scholarly presentations are encouraged. This includes the presentation of creative work (e.g. fiction, film) as well as non-traditional panel formats (e.g. "flash" panels, working groups). Individual presentations should be no longer than 15 minutes, while panel proposals should be no longer than 1 hour.

Submissions are encouraged from faculty of all ranks, graduate students, undergraduate students, and other members of the campus community. The Center for the Advancement of the Humanities celebrates the fact that compelling humanistic work is done not just by faculty members at a university, but by the rich community of thinkers in and around it.

Please send proposals of approx. 500 words (for individual presentations and/or panel presentations) to no later than November 15, 2019.

Please forward any questions to or

Marquette University Press

The Center for the Advancement of the Humanities is proud to house the Marquette University Press, the oldest academic press in the state of Wisconsin! MU Press promotes an outward-facing extension of the university's academic mission by disseminating scholarship in traditional and emerging fields. We look forward to reading their newest publication, coming out this October.

Everything is Interconnected: Towards a Globalization with a Human Face and an Integral Ecology
Joseph Ogbonnaya and Lucas Briola, Editors
ISBN 9781626007185
Marquette Studies in Theology, No. 90
Lonergan Studies, International Institute for Method in Theology

About the Volume
Today's overlapping social and ecological crises portend Bernard Lonergan's memorable remark that "the world lies in pieces before us and pleads to be put together again." The calls of Catholic social teaching for a "humane globalization" and, more recently in Laudato si', an "integral ecology" only heighten the urgency of this task. Inspired and aided by Lonergan's thought, this volume presents an array of essays that collectively aspire to answer these pleas. Engaging theology, philosophy, the social sciences, and the natural sciences, the volume's authors hope to show how in fact "everything is interconnected" in the church's ongoing task of caring for our common, though fragmented, home. This volume stands as the first publication of the International Institute for Method in Theology. Launched in 2017 by Fr. Robert Doran, S.J.-and through the joined efforts of the Marquette Lonergan Project, the Lonergan Research Institute at Regis College (University of Toronto), and the theology faculty of the Gregorian University (Rome)-the Institute aims to implement Bernard Lonergan's "generalized empirical method" across disciplines through global collaboration.

About the Editors
Joseph Ogbonnaya is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI). He coordinates the "Economics for Humane Globalization" section for the International Institute for Method in Theology. His books include African Perspectives on Culture and World Christianity (2017), African Catholicism and Hermeneutics and Culture (2014) and Lonergan, Social Transformation and Sustainable Human Development (2013).

Lucas Briola is Assistant Professor of Theology at Saint Vincent College (Latrobe, PA). He coordinates the "Ecological Culture" section for the International Institute for Method in Theology. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Moral Theology, the Downside Review, and The Lonergan Review.

For more information on upcoming MU press publications, contact Maureen Kondrick at

AMUW Chair in Humanistic Studies

The Center for the Advancement of the Humanities is home to the Association of Marquette University Women in Humanistic Studies. Established in 1963, the AMUW Chair in Humanistic Studies brings distinguished scholars to Marquette to teach, lecture and interact with students.

In the Fall of 2019, Languages, Literatures and Cultures is hosting Professor Frances R. Aparicio, Marquette’s 2019-2020 AMUW Women's Chair in Humanistic Studies. Prof. Aparicio is Professor Emerita at Northwestern University, where she taught in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and directed the Latina and Latino Studies Program. Her scholarship has examined popular music and gender, transnational musics, the cultural politics of language among U.S. Latinx communities, and more recently, the multiple nationalities of Intralatinx in Chicago. Author of Listening to Salsa (1998) and of the forthcoming Negotiating LatinidadIntralatina/o Lives in Chicago (2019), she is currently writing a book about the Salsa singer, Marc Anthony. 

Professor Aparicio will be teaching a course entitled Performing Latinidad: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Latinx Popular Music and Dance (FOLA, in English, some knowledge of Spanish is expected). We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Aparicio to our community.


CFAH Staff

  • Dr. James B. South, Director
    (414) 288-6729 |
  • Magdalen Samuelson Patchet, Assistant Director
    414-288-3200 |
    Magdalen is a doctoral candidate in English, specializing in war literature and women's war narratives. Her dissertation examines how representations of servicewomen in 21st century war novels challenge entrenched cultural mythologies about war and military culture, specifically in the United States. She is a recent recipient of Marquette University's 2019 Graduate School Dean's Research Enhancement Award. Magdalen is currently the Assistant Director for the Center for the Advancement of the Humanities at Marquette University. 
  • Marisola Xhelili Ciaccio, Advancement and Outreach Coordinator
    414-288-3200 |
    Marisola earned her BA in Government-Philosophy from Skidmore College and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Philosophy department at Marquette University. She is writing her dissertation on the ways that coloniality has shaped Balkan identity and impacted the region's relationship with the rest of Europe. Marisola is also the founder and co-director of Engendering Dignity in Philosophy (EDIP), a classroom-based program that brings together incarcerated populations, Marquette undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty to collectively discuss issues of social justice. She is a former Arthur J Schmitt Leadership Fellow and Periclean Scholar, and the recipient of a $70,000 Explorer Challenge Grant, a Center for Peacemaking Szymczek Award, and the Cooper-Barnett Prize in Philosophy. Marisola has published academic work on Balkan identity, moral psychology, and bioethics, has taught a variety of university-level courses, and is thrilled to be in her new position as the Advancement and Outreach Coordinator at the Center for the Advancement of the Humanities.
  • Margaret Nettesheim Hoffmann, Career Development Coordinator
    Margaret is a doctoral candidate in American history in the History department and researches the history of American philanthropy, capitalism, and progressive era political discourses critical of wealthy giving. Her dissertation explores the development of philanthropic foundations and political conversations impacting the construction of nonprofit sector policy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the nation. Margaret was the Rev. John P. Raynor, S.J Fellow in 2017-2018 and was an Arthur J. Schmitt Leadership Fellow in 2016-2017. In 2017, she was selected as an Andrew W. Mellon/ Humanities Without Walls Predoctoral Fellow with the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois, and she has presented her work at national and international conferences including the 2017 Social Science History Association conference where she received the SSHA's Tilly Award. Margaret currently works as a program coordinator for the graduate student career diversity initiative with the Center for the Advancement of the Humanities and the Graduate School. She has also received a Mellon sub-award funding work for the Humanities Without Walls consortium.

CFAH Advisory Board