Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh Humanities Festival

February 14, 2018

Pittsburgh Humanities Festival Returns With “Continuum: Past, Present, Future”

By Stefanie Johndrow

Carnegie Mellon University’s Humanities Center and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust are bringing the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival to the city for the third year. The festival, “Continuum: Past, Present, Future,” will run Feb. 22-March 4, 2018 and bring together internationally-renowned academics, artists and intellectual innovators offering interviews, intimate conversations and select performances focused on art, literature, music, science, policy, politics and more.

“The last festival more than doubled the attendance at the first, and, on the strength of that growth, we decided to make the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival an annual event,” said David Shumway, professor of English in CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and director of the Humanities Center.

The festival will feature nearly 20 events with three additional partner events.

CMU-related events: 

Staging of “A Requiem for Rice”
Thursday, Feb. 22
August Wilson Center
A collaboration among Edda Fields-Black, associate professor of history, and internationally-acclaimed artists Jonathan Green and Julie Dash, CASOP: A Requiem for Rice recounts the stories of enslaved laborers building Lowcountry rice fields, giving a voice to the oppressed and voiceless with a full symphony orchestra and choir. Portions of CASOP will be previewed at the August Wilson Center as part of the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival. The full piece will premiere in Feb. 2019. 

Should They Stay or Should They Go?: The Monuments Controversy
Saturday, March 3, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Fourth Floor, Trust Arts Education Center
A conversation between historians Nina Silber and David Blight, moderated by Germaine Williams (HNZ ‘01, DC ’15), will explore the controversy around removal of civic monuments, which continues to make headlines.

Lou Reed: A Life- Anthony DeCurtis
Saturday, March 3, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Pierce Studio, Trust Arts Education Center
Anthony DeCurtis is the author of “Lou Reed: A Life.” DeCurtis and Shumway will discuss the life and work of rock music icon Lou Reed. 

A Requiem for Rice: A Tribute to Those Enslaved, Exploited and Brutalized
Saturday, March 3, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Fourth Floor, Trust Arts Education Center
Vanessa German interviews Fields-Black about her collaboration on “A Requiem for Rice” which begins as a lamentation for those who were enslaved, exploited and brutalized on Lowcountry rice plantations.

The Reactionary Mind: The Book That Predicted Trump
Sunday, March 4, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Fourth Floor, Trust Arts Education Center
Kathy Newman, associate professor of English, interviews Corey Robin about his book “The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Donald Trump.” It has since been acclaimed as “the book that predicted Trump.”

The Books You Are Missing: The Importance of Literary Translation
Sunday, March 4, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Fourth Floor, Trust Arts Education Center
An inordinate number of important foreign literary text are not making their way into American readers’ hands. A conversation with Michelle Gil-Montero and Lauren Shapiro, assistant professor of English, covers the importance of translation in today’s literary landscape.

Ethics and AI Systems
Sunday, March 4, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Pierce Studio, Trust Arts Education Center
Alex John London, the Clara L. West Professor of Ethics and Philosophy, explores moral decision making, why it is a challenge for machines, and why some concerns about AI systems making “life and death” decisions are overblown. 

View the full schedule of events