2016 National Humanities Conference

Thursday, November 10th - Sunday, November 13th | Salt Lake City


Humanities Partnerships – Meeting Local and Global Challenges

The 2016 National Humanities Conference will be the first in a series of joint Federation and National Humanities Alliance national meetings that will bring the humanities community together as a whole to consider how, by leveraging our strengths, we can achieve broader public impact and showcase the fundamental role the humanities play in addressing both local and global challenges. We look forward to partnering with the National Humanities Alliance to increase awareness and collaboration between public humanities programming and academia.

The National Humanities Alliance (NHA), founded in 1981, is an advocacy coalition dedicated to the advancement of humanities education, research, preservation, and public programs. NHA is supported by more than 170 national, state, and local member organizations.

Conference Highlights


We are pleased to welcome you to the 2016 National Humanities Conference event page. Scroll down to view featured sessions, speakers and conference extras!

Thank You to Our Sponsors!

Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group

Thank you to Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, for its generous sponsorship of the National Humanities Conference. Check out its content collection curated around key themes of the conference.

Jo-Ann Wong

Thank you to Jo-Ann Wong for donating her photography services to the National Humanities Conference.

Opening Reception

A special thank you to Utah Humanities and the University of Utah, College of Humanities for their generous contributions to the Opening Reception.

2016 Featured Sessions

Humanities in the Wild

Nov. 10, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm

Trek and talk with Utah and Indiana Humanities on a journey to Antelope Island in Great Salt Lake for a model outdoor environmental humanities program and conversation about the opportunities and logistics of doing public programs in the wild.

Jane Jacobs Walk

Nov. 11, 10:45 am to noon

Explore the spatial realities, social life, and history of Salt Lake City’s Regent Street. Led by local hosts, this neighborhood tour seeks to discover and respond to the complexities of the city and environment through personal and shared observation.

The Schwartz Prize

Nov. 11, 4:45 to 5:15 pm

Each year, the Federation awards three councils with the Schwartz Prize to recognize outstanding work in the humanities. Learn about the innovative program nominees and find out who wins at the awards presentation prior to the Capps Lecture.

2016 Conference Speakers

Danielle Allen, Capps Lecturer

Nov. 11, 5:15 to 6:45 pm

Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard professor, and political theorist, Danielle Allen is the author of Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (2014), and Why Plato Wrote (2014), among others. She is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, chair of the Mellon Foundation Board, and past chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board.

William Adams, NEH Chairman

Nov. 12, 8:45 to 9:45 am

Join Dr. William D. Adams, the tenth chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, on Saturday morning for breakfast as he addresses conference attendees. Chairman Adams has overseen the NEH’s 50th anniversary events and launched The Common Good intiative, which includes eight programs ranging from Humanities in the Public Square to Latino Americans.

Elizabeth Fenn, Closing Plenary

Nov. 12, 5:30 to 7:00 pm

Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for History for her book, Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People, she is currently the Walter and Lucienne Driskill Professor of Western American History at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research specializes on the early American West, with a focus on Native American history, epidemic disease, and environmental history.

2016 Conference Extras

Tabernacle Choir Rehearsal

Nov. 10, 7:30 to 9:30 pm

Enjoy the music of the world-renowned Tabernacle Choir! Attendees are invited to watch the choir while they practice in their home state.

Please note: this event is not sponsored by the National Humanities Conference or its organizers, but is a regular-occurring offering in Salt Lake City. To learn more, click here.

Family History Library Visit

Nov. 10-13

Have you ever wondered about your family’s history? Learn more about who you are and where you came from at this famous genealogy resource.

Please note: visiting this library is not sponsored by the National Humanities Conference or its organizers, but is open to the public, and therefore conference attendees. To learn more about the Family History Library, click here.

Mountains and Park City Tour

Nov. 13, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm

Park City has transformed itself from a hard-working, hard-drinking mining camp to what is now a world-renowned winter sports destination and host of the Sundance Film Festival. The tour will head into the majestic Wasatch Mountains and follow a part of the original—and daunting–route taken by Mormon pioneers in 1847. The tour will stop first at the museums at Utah Olympic Park and then at Main Street for lunch and a visit to the Park City History Museum. Read more about this special tour for conference attendees.