An aerial view of a crowd of people

Cultural Encounters: Books that Have Made a Difference

Related: The Future of the Humanities Project

Over the course of the 2023-2024 academic year, the Future of the Humanities Project is sponsoring a series of lectures on cultural encounters in collaboration with the Georgetown Humanities Initiative and Blackfriars Hall, Oxford.

In a world increasingly divided along national, religious, and cultural lines, Pope Francis has called for a "culture of encounter" that promotes communication and builds trust while acknowledging the inevitability of conflict. Cultural encounters that entail the recognition of others in their otherness are a contemporary imperative with a rich thematic history in literature and the humanities. This series will bring leading scholars together, across disciplines, to explore themes of encounter both in classic literary works and in contemporary cultural debates. The hour-long virtual events will include a Q&A with the audience. Following the launch event, all subsequent events will take place at 11:00 a.m. ET/4:00 p.m. UK.

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Event Series

The Ha'Penny Bridge Dublin painting by Samuel Frederick Brocas (1818)

Future Encounters with “Ulysses”

James Joyce’s Ulysses (1920) is a book filled with descriptions of the feeling of encounters. “Brief encounters” form the subject of a titillating joke early on, and the entire day of June 16, 1904…

Noh theater in Japan

Cultural Encounters of Otherness through Shakespeare

Artists in different places often hold contrasting views on the meanings of Shakespeare’s plays and on Shakespeare’s stature in modern culture. What they do have in common is their effort to plant new…

A stream running through the Scottish highlands

The Scottish Play: Race and Nation in “Macbeth”

In this lecture, Robert S. Miola argued that Shakespeare’s Macbeth (1623) reflects local and specific contemporary stereotypes about the barbarous Scots and the civilizing English just as it…

A painting of the Bindon Mill House

The Dialectics of Remembering and Forgetting

Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891) is the narrative of a young woman who encounters one fated tragedy after another due to her deep empathy for both the less able and less careful. While…