2017 Featured Conference Speakers

Thursday, November 2nd

Angel Nieves, Opening Panelist
"The Humanities and Grand Challenges" Opening Panel, 4:30 pm

Angel David Nieves, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at Hamilton College, Clinton, N.Y. He is also Co-Director of the Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi) at Hamilton College, a digital leader among elite liberal arts colleges in the Northeast (see, http://www.dhinitiative.org). As Co-Director, he has raised over $2.7 million dollars in foundation and institutional support for digital humanities scholarship at Hamilton. He is also Research Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Nieves’s digital edition entitled, Apartheid Heritages: A Spatial History of South Africa’s Township’s brings together 3D modelling, immersive technologies and digital ethnography in the pursuit of documenting human rights violations in apartheid-era South Africa (Stanford University Press, designated). He taught in the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at the University of Maryland, College Park, from 2003-2008.

Nieves’s scholarly work and community-based activism critically engage with issues of race and the built environment in cities across the Global South. His co-edited book, We Shall Independent Be: African American Place-Making and the Struggle to Claim Space in the U.S., was published in 2008. He is completing a manuscript entitled, An Architecture of Education: African American Women Design the New South, with the University of Rochester Press for their series “Gender and Race in American History” (forthcoming, 2018). Nieves is also currently working on a new volume in the Debates in the Digital Humanities Series and on a special collaborative issue of American Quarterly (2018) on Digital Humanities in the field of American Studies. He is co-editor (w/Kim Gallon, Purdue) of a new book series at the University of Georgia Press, The Black Spatial Humanities: Theories, Methods, and Praxis in Digital Humanities.

Nieves serves on the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) Committee on Information Technology (2016-2019). He was most recently appointed to the Board of New York State’s Humanities Council (2017-2020). His digital research and scholarship have been featured on MSNBC.com and in Newsweek International. In the fall of 2017 he will be Presidential Visiting Associate Professor at Yale University in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program and an affiliate in the Yale Digital Humanities Laboratory (DHLab).

Ben Hurlbut, Opening Panelist
"The Humanities and Grand Challenges" Opening Panel, 4:30 pm

Benjamin Hurlbut, PhD is Associate Professor of Biology and Society in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University. He is trained in science and technology studies with a focus on the history of the modern biomedical and life sciences. His research lies at the intersection of STS, bioethics and political theory. Hurlbut studies the changing relationships between science, politics and law in the governance of biomedical research and innovation in the 20th and 21st centuries, examining the interplay of science and technology with shifting notions of democracy, of religious and moral pluralism, and of public reason.

He is an author of Experiments in Democracy: Human Embryo Research and the Politics of Bioethics (Columbia University Press, 2017). He holds an AB from Stanford University, and a PhD in the History of Science from Harvard University. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Program on Science, Technology, and Society at Harvard Kennedy School.

Judith Swift, Opening Panelist
"The Humanities and Grand Challenges" Opening Panel, 4:30 pm

Judith Swift is director of the Coastal Institute at the University of Rhode Island, and a professor in the Department of Communication Studies and Department of Theatre. As director of the CI, Swift blends traditional science communication strategies with innovative interdisciplinary approaches that engage the audience through right- and left-brain to create a more impactful message through sensory as well as analytical pathways. The CI under Swift’s leadership has an established capacity and record of producing and disseminating effective outreach products. As director of the CI, Swift leads emergency preparation and response collaboration with the RI Department of Environmental Management and statewide scientists, and also serves as director of North Atlantic Coast Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit, a consortium of 26 universities/NGOs and 9 federal partners to address complex coastal ecosystem management.

Swift has 25+ years of experience with conflict resolution and has received training through the Lily Foundation and Harvard University. In addition, she taught conflict resolution and presentation skills in the Executive MBA program at URI for ten years. She is also a professional theatre director who has focused on production of scientific works, dark comedies, and twisted dramas. She has developed over 40 scripts based on science and social justice: the NOLA Project and Buy the Bay as part of an NEH funded study of Narragansett Bay. Swift earned a certificate at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, a preeminent theatre conservatory; and a M.A. and B.A. of English from the University of Rhode Island.

Tom Rudin, Opening Moderator
"The Humanities and Grand Challenges" Opening Panel, 4:30 pm

Tom Rudin will serve as the moderator of the opening panel and is the director of the Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW) at the National Academy of Sciences—a position he assumed in mid-August 2014. BHEW provides government, academic and industry leaders with analyses and recommendations designed to inform action and public policy on issues in higher education and the workforce.

Prior to joining the National Academies, he served as senior vice president for career readiness and senior vice president for advocacy, government relations and development at the College Board from 2006-2014. He was also vice president for government relations from 2004-2006 and executive director of grants planning and management from 1996-2004 at the College Board. Before joining the College Board, Rudin was a policy analyst at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

In 1991, Rudin taught courses in U.S. public policy, human rights, and organizational management as a visiting instructor at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. In the early 1980s, he directed the work of the Governor’s Task Force on Science and Technology for North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., where he was involved in several new state initiatives, such as the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Purdue University, and he holds master’s degrees in public administration and in social work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Friday, November 3rd

Dr. Craig Steven Wilder, Capps Lecturer
2017 Capps Lecture, 5:15 pm

This year’s distinguished Capps Lecturer is Craig Steven Wilder, a historian of American institutions and ideas. Dr. Wilder is currently the Barton L. Weller Professor of History at MIT. His most recent book is Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), which Kirkus Reviews named one of the best nonfiction books of the year and which won multiple book awards. It inspired the Grammy Award-winning artist Esperanza Spalding’s song, “Ebony and Ivy” in “Emily’s D+Evolution” (2016). A book titled Ebony & Ivy was featured in the film “Dear White People” (2014). He is also the author of A Covenant with Color: Race and Social Power in Brooklyn (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000/2001); and In the Company of Black Men: The African Influence on African American Culture in New York City (New York: New York University Press, 2001/2004).

His recent essays include: “War and Priests: Catholic Colleges and Slavery in the Age of Revolution,” in Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman, eds., Slavery’s Capitalism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016); and “‘Driven . . . from the School of the Prophets’: The Colonizationist Ascendance at General Theological Seminary,” the inaugural essay in the digital journal New York History.

In 2004, Columbia University awarded Craig Steven Wilder the University Medal for Excellence during its 250th Anniversary Commencement.

Professor Wilder is a senior fellow at the Bard Prison Initiative, where he has served as a visiting professor, commencement speaker, and academic advisor. For more than a decade, BPI has given hundreds of men and women the opportunity to earn college degrees during their incarcerations in the New York State prison system.

He has advised and appeared in numerous historical documentaries, including Ken Burns’ “Race Man” (2016), which explores the transformative career of Jackie Robinson; “The Central Park Five,” which received the 2013 Peabody Award; Kelly Anderson’s groundbreaking and acclaimed exploration of gentrification, “My Brooklyn”; the History Channel’s “F.D.R.: A Presidency Revealed”; and Ric Burn’s prize-winning PBS series, “New York: A Documentary History.”

Professor Wilder serves on the board of the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg Center, New York Public Library. He has directed or advised exhibits at regional and national museums, including the Brooklyn Historical Society, the New-York Historical Society, the Chicago History Museum, the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s BLDG 92, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, and the Weeksville Heritage Center. He was one of the original historians for the Museum of Sex in New York City.

Professor Wilder began his career as a community organizer in the South Bronx. He has taught at Dartmouth College, Williams College, and Long Island University, and has been a visiting professor at the New School University and University College London.

About the Capps Lecture: The Walter H. Capps Memorial Lecture was established by the Federation Board of Directors in 1999 to honor the memory of Congressman Walter H. Capps – teacher, writer, public servant, and humanist. A member of the California state humanities council for six years, and its chair for three, Congressman Capps was also the Federation board chair from 1983 to 1985.