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Undergraduate Outreach

In recent years, the Institute for the Humanities has expanded its focus in exciting ways to take the Michigan undergraduate experience into account. Students can receive support for self-organized interest groups on topics related to the humanities. An undergraduate advisory group of six students assists the institute in developing programming of relevance to the undergraduate population. And the institute offers opportunities for students to develop professional skills and experience through internships and fellowships.

Inside the classroom, the institute continues to offer innovative, interdisciplinary courses. Visiting artists and fellows offer mini-courses as part of their institute residency, and the institute staff regularly offer courses--in literature, women's studies, and art--designed to appeal to humanities majors and non-majors alike.

Undergraduate Student Academic Interest Groups

For the second year, the Institute for the Humanities invites proposals from undergraduate students for interest groups on humanities-related topics. Have you and your friends been inspired by a discussion in one of your courses about a period in history, a philosophical tradition, a particular theorist, an artist’s political stance, a cultural phenomenon, or a particular way of reading a novel? Have you found yourselves continuing the discussion outside of class? Do you know other students with similar interests who want to gather regularly to discuss ideas and readings? The Institute for the Humanities will provide support for a group based around your interests.

The topic of the group’s discussion may or may not relate to your major or minor, or to your plans after graduation. These are not pre-professional groups; rather, this is an opportunity to take advantage of the amazing intellectual community a university like Michigan makes possible.

These undergraduate interest groups should be self-organized by student members and maintain a core membership through the academic year. To be considered active, a group should meet at least six times through the academic year. Funding will be provided for one year, though groups may apply to continue the group into the following year.

To have your group considered for this program, we ask that you submit the following:

  •    a title for your group (e.g. “Occupy Derrida,” or “The Seventeenth-century Collective”)
  •    the primary contact for the group; i.e. the student who will serve as coordinator
  •    a statement of no more than 500 words describing the idea for the group
  •    a budget

The support for these groups generally consists of funding for food and supplies (for example readings) for the group’s meetings, as well as a stipend of $250 for the year for the group’s primary undergraduate student coordinator (contingent on the group’s remaining active through the year).

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis beginning September 15th, 2015.


Undergraduate Projects by 2012-13 U-M Fellows

Adam Ashforth is leading seminars on research methods for the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program.

Kathleen Canning and Genevieve Zubrzycki are jointly teaching a 1-credit class with the Center for Russian and East European Studies, INSTHUM 411.002 “The Lens of History: Holocaust Memory through the Films of Agnieszka Holland.”

Freida Ekotto is teaching a 2-credit class with Afroamerican and African Studies, 
INSTHUM 411.003 “Translating the Slave Trade: Reading a Different Experience.”

Karla Mallette is teaching INSTHUM 411.004 “ The Qur'an in the World," a 1-credit mini-course addressing both the Qur'an in historical context and Qur'an and community in the modern world.

Daniel Ramirez is participating in a one-day signature event with the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and Latino Undergraduate Research Network, featuring faculty working on Latino research topics from a humanities vantage point.

Doug Trevor is conducting a writing workshop with the Lloyd Scholars Program.

Jason Young is participating in end of semester reviews for the undergraduate architecture studios.


Undergraduate Projects by 2012-13 Visting Fellows

Winter 2013

Lynne Avenda, visiting artist, 1-credit minicourse: INSTHUM 311 "The Book: Body and Soul." 

With every technological advance comes the prediction of death for the physical book. And yet, the book endures. In this class, we will look at the origins of the book and its persistent presence in culture, history, religion and the human experience. Using traditional techniques, students will construct their own books, to be used during the course of the class. Lectures will address the history of the book, the contemporary book arts movement and the future of the book. Students will also visit the Special Collections of The University of Michigan.

Fall 2012

David Mitchell,  2012 Norman G. Freehling Visiting Professor, 3-credit course: INSTHUM 411.001 “Topics in Interdisciplinary Studies."

The field of Disability Studies centers its historical analysis on the rise of sciences of the body as sites where knowledge is expropriated from people by professions such as Medicine, Psychiatry, Social Work, and the Rehabilitation Sciences. Whereas the 19th-century saw information about the body as largely contained to behaviors occurring in private domains (such as the family), the 20th-century inaugurated a shift wherein bodies identified as deviant (i.e., disabled, mad, feebleminded, queer, transgender) are treated as rich veins of biodata and, therefore, part of the wealth of the nation. In this seminar our investigations will contemplate the ways that subjectivities develop among those occupying marginalized embodiments. Our discussion will serve as an introduction to the writings of Michel Foucault on histories of institutionalization and move to more recent work by Disability Studies scholars on transgender, race and globalization, disability aesthetics and history, global bio-politics, and queer identity. The seminar will culminate with an assessment of ways to approach disability as a productive contributor to contemporary concepts of human diversity.

Nigel Poor, visting artist, in collaboration with Arts@Michigan and the Lloyd Hall Scholars Writer-Artists in Residence program, lived among and collaborate with students to consider banned books and make projects of their own, culminating in an exhibition of work to be displayed in North Quad.

Support for Undergraduate Abroad Experiences

The Institute for the Humanities has established a partnership with the Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS) to provide scholarship support to international studies majors and minors for internships and study abroad opportunities as well as research grants. Scholarships range from $500 to $3,500 for a total of $20,000 in annual scholarship support.  Applications are accepted through PICS.

The Institute for the Humanities has also supported the Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS) to fund one Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates site each summer. In 2012, the institute provided funding support for a project in Indonesia with the topic of "Preserving Ecology and Local Culture in a Global World."  For additional information see the CGIS website.

Undergraduate Courses

The Institute for the Humanities frequently offers interdisciplinary undergraduate courses taught by U-M and visiting fellows. Check the LSA Course Guide for current and past offerings.