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McMaster University

Faculty of Humanities

Welcome to the Faculty of Humanities

Henry GirouxHenry Giroux Appointed Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest

Henry A. Giroux has been appointed as the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest, the first of its kind in Canada. Dr. Giroux continues as director of the McMaster Centre for Scholarship in the Public Interest – a McMaster based research centre focused on cultural, political, social, and ecological concerns.

hitchBOT Hitchhiking Robot Creators Selected for Innovation Award

Congratulations to Assistant Professor David Harris Smith, a professor in the Department of Communications Studies and Multimedia who was awarded the Silicon Valley Technology & Entrepreneurship Forum 2014 Innovation Award. The award is in recognition of his work on hitchBOT, a collaborative McMaster-Ryerson project that created a hitchhiking robot that made it's way from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia in the summer of 2014. Read more

English and Cultural Studies Professor Named to College of New Scholars

The Royal Society of Canada has named three McMaster faculty members including Sarah Brophy, an Associate Professor of English and Cultural Studies, to the College of New Scholars. The College is Canada’s first national system of multidisciplinary recognition for the next generation of intellectuals. Congratulations Dr. Brophy! Read more

Welcome New Humanities, Studio Art and Music Students!

We are very pleased that you have accepted an offer of admission to Humanities at McMaster University and look forward to welcoming you to the Faculty in September! Please check our New Students pages for all the information you need to help you prepare for the year ahead. Classes start on Thursday, September 4. Welcome Week runs August 30 - September 7, and includes Faculty Day on Tuesday, September 2. Humanities students are meeting by Togo Salmon Hall at 9.30am for the start of Faculty Day.

Daily News LogoMajor Canada-Wide Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Scholarships Announced

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships are Canada's most prestigious awards for doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows (respectively), working in the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities. McMaster's nine Vanier Scholarship winners for the 20140-17 term include Clorinde Peters (English and Cultural Studies), and McMaster's only Banting Fellow, Paul Barrett, is also from the Department of English and Cultural Studies. Read more.

Dr. Bonny IbhawohDr. Bonny Ibhawoh Speaks to CTV News on Issues of Global Security

Associate Professor of History and Humanities Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Dr. Bonny Ibhowah, was recently interviewed by CTV News. He spoke about ontemporary global insecurity and how it compares to the Cold War. Read the feature and watch the video here.

Henry GirouxDemocracy in Jeopardy? Henry Giroux on TVO's The Agenda

McMaster McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest, Henry Giroux (Department of English and Cultural Studies), was a guest on TVO's The Agenda, sitting down with Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss his new book "The Violence of Organized Forgetting: Thinking Beyond America's Disimagination Machine". Giroux argues that the United States' embrace of a surveillance state and culture of violence have replaced the values of freedom, liberty and justice, putting American democracy in jeopardy. Watch video here.

image of handwriting2013/14 Term 2 and French Essay Prize Winners Announced

The Winners of the 2013/14 Humanities Essay Prizes for Term 2 and for the 2013/14 Humanities French Language Essay Prizes have been announced. Congratulations to Johanna Sinclair, Richard Freeman, Udoka Okafor, Samhita Misra, Christina Rothwell, Claire Kilroy, Yosra Musa, Olivia Dorio, Andrew Perrella and Vance Tran. For details on the essay titles and courses for which they were written, see our Essay prize web page.

President Patrick Deane and benefactor, Robert FitzhenryLet the countdown begin: Fitzhenry Studios and Atrium beginning to take shape

Call it the first work of art produced at the Dr. Robert & Andrée Rhéaume Fitzhenry Studios and Atrium — Shovels Meeting Earth (mixed media, 2014). On Monday, ground was broken at a facility that will reinvigorate and revolutionize McMaster's fine arts community. Once complete in early 2015, the atrium will increase existing classroom, studio and display areas by more than 1,700 square feet. The versatile space will also function as a reception area, with a stunning glass façade rising above Stearn Drive. The project was made possible thanks to a $3 million gift from alumnus Robert Fitzhenry — the largest ever donation to McMaster's Fine Arts program. Fitzhenry made the gift in honour of his late wife, Andrée, during a ceremony last November. Andrée, who passed away in February, 2013, continues to serve as inspiration for those involved in the planning and construction process. Full Story

Deana SumanacHumanities Graduates Inspire Current Students with Tales of Career Success

The Humanities Target Learning and Experiential Education Centre offers lots of events to help students explore their career options with the help of visiting professionals in a wide range of fields.. The Centre has also created a database of video interviews with Humanities graduates talking about their career paths and how their humanities education helped them achieve their professional goals. To watch the videos, visit our Alumni Career Interviews web site.

Image of some of the documents held in the Mulberry archivesD-Day: Secret 'Mulberry Harbours' project revealed in McMaster archives

Allied preparations for D-Day were a race against time. The story of how the prefabricated harbours used for the invasion of Europe were planned and built remains one of the best kept secrets from the Second World War. To this day, the project is considered a remarkable feat of engineering, yet few have ever heard of it. Acquired by McMaster in 1976, the Mulberry Harbours collection, which dates from 1942-1947, consists of classified documents from the British War Office, drawings, blueprints, laboratory reports, correspondence and more than 700 official photographs with security classifications, censor stamps and War Office ID numbers.Full Story

MELD programHumanities Launches English Language Bridging Program

The McMaster English Language Development Diploma (MELD) is intended for international students whose primary language is not English and who wish to improve their oral and written communication skills, and succeed in an English-speaking university environment.Offered throught the Department of Linguistics and Languages, the diploma is a two-term, full-time intensive bridging program in English language development and acculturation. Students accepted into MELD will have qualified for admission to undergraduate studies in a specific program, but do not meet the English language requirements. They are given a conditional offer of admission to their program of choice, conditional upon successful completion of the MELD diploma. Visit the MELD web site for full details.

Book Cover - The Traffic in Babies

Black Market Babies in the 1940s and 1950s

Dr. Karen Balcom, Associate Professor in the Department of History was recently featured in CTV Montreal's special report on the issue of Black market babies in the 1940s and 1950s. Dr. Balcom is the author of The Traffic in Babies: Cross Border Adoption and Baby-Selling Between the United States and Canada, 1930-1972 (University of Toronto Press, 2011) which received the the 2012 Albert Corey Prize, given by the American Historical Association and the Canadian Historical Association for the best book on Canadian American relations or the history of the two nations together. The book also won the 2012 Bowling Green University/Institute of Political History Book Prize in International and Comparative History.
Watch the video of the CTV report here:

Image of Eugène Nshimiyimana

The Rwandan Genocide 20 Years On: Stories of Loss and Survival

Twenty years after the Rwandan Genocide shocked the world, two members of the McMaster community share their experiences. Dr. Eugène Nshimiyimana (left), Chair of the Department of French and Béatrice Kansayisa, Administrative/Graduate Secretary in French feature in recent pieces produced by CBC's The National and CHCH.

                       CBC - The Soldier and the Survivor | CHCH - 20 Years Since Rwanda Genocide

Art Exhibition PosterCHIASMATA: SUMMA 2014 Graduating Art Students Exhibition (until April 26)

The McMaster Museum of Art proudly presents this exhibition featuring work by 21 graduating studio art students. The artists have exhibited in galleries and museums across the city, including the Hamilton Artists Inc., Gallery on the Bay, Hamilton Museum of Steam Technology, and LIUNA Station, as well as in Toronto and Niagara. The group has also developed a live T-shirt printing event, which has been executed at various venues across the city, including the 2013 Supercrawl on James Street North. These artists explore a variety of themes, including relationships, cultural dislocation, religion, the cycles of the earth, and sacred geometry, as well as human impact on the environment. Details

Image of Harris Goldberg

Life after comedy: From Hamilton to Hollywood and back again

Most screenwriters are lucky to get one shot in Los Angeles. Harris Goldberg got two. On March 26, the McMaster Humanities alumnus and Hollywood writer/director returned to campus for an in-depth conversation with Theatre & Film Studies professor Peter Cockett, followed by a screening of Goldberg's award-winning 2007 film, Numb. Unlike his earlier comedic output (including feature films such as Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalo, Without a Paddle and The Master of Disguise), Numb offers a frank and forthright look at one man's struggle with depersonalization disorder, inspired by Goldberg's own experiences with the condition. More

Judy Major-Girardin and Patrick Deane

McMaster educators lauded at MSU Teaching Awards ceremony

Some of the best and brightest instructors at the University were honoured at the annual MSU Teaching Awards ceremony last week. This year's Lifetime Achievement Award was posthumously presented to Graham Todd, an associate professor in the School of the Arts who lost his battle with cancer last spring. Associate professor Judy Major-Girardin accepted the award on his behalf. Admired by students and colleagues alike, Todd developed a reputation as a naturally gifted teacher and a keen observer with a desire to push his students to new heights. He was also a talented and prolific sculptor outside of the classroom, and his work was regularly exhibited across Canada and beyond. David Gerry of the Music program, was also honoured. More

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Congratulations to the Term 1 Humanities Essay Prize Award Winners!

Humanities Essay Prize Award winners for Term 1, 2013/14 have been announced. For details of the winners and their essays, visit our awards page.

Careers in Government posterCareers in Government Event Brings Inspiring Alumni to Campus

Students in the Faculty of Humanities who are interested in careers in government were treated to a fantastic networking opportunity on March 19, thanks to the Humanities Target Learning & Experiential Education Centre, which invited alumni working in different roles within government to talk about their career paths and give valuable career advice. Guest speakers were: Belinda Hanson, Special Assistant to the Premier of Ontario, Evan Mackintosh, Foreign Service Officer, Embassy of Canada, Colombia, Tanya Kuzman, Special Assistant, Ward 5 Councillor, Toronto City Hall & Policy Director, Ontario Young Liberals, Robyn Budd, Policy & Operations, Ministry of Energy, and Burke Christian, Senior Policy Advisor, Ministry of Government Services. More.

Dean Cruikshank and President Deane congratulating studnet at awards assembly'Write Well, Think Deeply and Recognize and Create Beauty.' Excellence in Humanities Recognized at 33rd annual Awards Assembly

Students in the Faculty of Humanities were recently honoured with travel scholarships, essay prizes, community contribution awards and more at the annual Humanities Awards assembly. Those in attendance at Convocation Hall were also named to the Deans' Honour List for carrying an average of at least 9.5 over 30 units of class. A total of 280 students received awards this year.
- Read more in McMaster's Daily News
- Watch video of awards assembly

Dr. Michael SchutzWant a Better Understanding of Your Favourite Song? Move to the beat!

When the music is good, the urge to move is irresistible. While we don't fully understand why music compels movement, researchers working in McMaster's MAPLE Lab (Music, Acoustics, Perception & LEarning) - Dr. Michael Schutz (School of the Arts, pictured left) and graduate student Fiona Manning - have found that it can improve our sense of timing and result in a better understanding of a song's structure, even for those with little or no musical training. Read full story

Deana SumanacHumanities Graduates Inspire Current Students with Tales of Career Success

The Humanities Target Learning and Experiential Education Centre offers lots of events to help students explore their career options with the help of visiting professionals in a wide range of fields.. The Centre has also created a database of video interviews with Humanities graduates talking about their career paths and how their humanities education helped them achieve their professional goals. To watch the videos, visit our Alumni Career Interviews web site.

Image of Book Cover, Selling under the SwastikaHistory Professor Investigates Commercial Advertising in the Third Reich

Selling under the Swastika: Advertising and Commercial Culture in Nazi Germany is the first in-depth study of commercial advertising in the Third Reich. While scholars have focused extensively on the political propaganda that infused daily life in Nazi Germany, they have paid little attention to the role played by commercial ads and sales culture in legitimizing and stabilizing the regime. In her forthcoming book, published by Stanford University Press, Chair of the Department of History, Dr. Pamela Swett, investigates the extent of the transformation of the German ads industry from the internationally infused republican era that preceded 1933 through the relative calm of the mid-1930s and into the war years. The book is featured in the Boston Globe's Brainiac blog.

JPPL imageJustice, Political Philosophy and Law - New Program Gets Seal of Approval from Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

The Faculty of Humanities' newest undergraduate Honours program, Justice, Political Philosophy and Law (JPPL), which builds on the Department of Philosophy's internationally-recognized expertise in legal philosophy and constitutional law, has been approved by Ontario's Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The program,which aims to foster a sophisticated understanding of the law and legal institutions and of the political and moral theories that address the value and justice of these institutions, has already generated huge interest from current and future McMaster students. More on this story | JPPL web site

McMaster Times Cover ImageMcMaster Times Focuses on Liberal Arts

The Fall edition of the McMaster Times, the newsletter for McMaster University Alumni, focuses on the Liberal Arts. It is now available online.


Dr. John Weaver History Professor Elected to the Royal Society of Canada

It was announced on September 6, that Professor of History, Dr. John Weaver, has been named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. The society promotes learning and research in the arts, humanities and the natural and social sciences. "During a long career, all at McMaster, I've benefited from the encouragement and support of colleagues as well as the stimulation of teaching our motivated undergraduate and graduate students," says Dr. Weaver. Full Story

Spotlight on the Arts logoSpotlight on the Arts - A Year-Long Festival Celebrating the Arts

McMaster's Spotlight on the Arts is a year-long festival celebrating the significant cultural contributions of McMaster’s arts researchers and practitioners on campus and in the community at large. It features concerts, lectures, performances, and exhibitions organized around four concepts: Connect (September); Activate (November); Empower (January); Integrate (March). For full details of all the events, visit the Spotlight on the Arts web site.

President Deane, Chancellor Wilson & MPP Ted McMeekin at the groundbreaking ceremonyGround broken for L.R. Wilson Hall - the new Liberal Arts building

Students, faculty, staff and special guests gathered at McMaster earlier this summer to break ground on the new L.R. Wilson Hall. Brad Duguid, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Ted McMeekin, Minister of Community and Social Services and Red Wilson, McMaster’s Chancellor were on campus for the morning ceremony, held near Wentworth House. They joined McMaster's President Patrick Deane, Dean of Social Sciences Charlotte Yates, Acting Dean of Humanities Ken Cruikshank and students union President David Campbell to turn sod and celebrate the beginning of the building's construction, which will begin shortly. Full story.

Nipissing and McMaster Humanities logos

McMaster-Nipissing French as a Second Language Teaching Specialization

An agreement between McMaster and Nipissing universities smooths the path for graduates of a single or combined honours French program at McMaster who would like to train as teachers of French as a second language. Each year, 20 spots will be reserved for eligible McMaster students in the French as a second language specialization of Nipissing’s B.Ed. program. More

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Site Updated:September 2, 2014