Shenandoah University To Host Virginia Humanities Conference In April

Winchester, VA – The 2017 Virginia Humanities Conference (VHC) at Shenandoah University, to be held Friday, April 7, and Saturday, April 8, is titled “The Unbearable Humanities.” Sponsored by the university’s College of Arts & Sciences, this conference examines the concept of that which cannot be endured or tolerated—with scholars, activists, and students from a wide variety of disciplines and institutions.

VHC 2017 examines how and what kinds of knowledge the humanities produce that existing structures cannot bear; how and why approaches to this unbearableness that are grounded in the humanities are met with resistance; and, finally, how those in the humanities value, make use of, and respond to contemporary, and sometimes unbearable, issues.

“I am thrilled that Shenandoah University has the opportunity to host this year’s Virginia Humanities Conference,” said Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Jeff Coker, Ph.D. “We have a great number of diverse and interesting panel sessions for those attending, and those on the panels not only represent our fellow Virginia academic institutions, but institutions and organizations from across the country and around the world as well.”

Two events which are free and open to the public are associated with the conference:

Pressures of the Unbearable: A Critical Conversation, a keynote address given by Lauren Berlant and Lee Edelman, is held from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, April 7, in Halpin-Harrison Hall, Stimpson Auditorium. Berlant, the George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor of English at the University of Chicago, and Edelman, the Fletcher Professor of English Literature at Tufts University, are co-authors of “Sex, or the Unbearable” (2014). Read more about the keynote speakers below.

Can the 21st Century America Bear the Humanities?, a humanities panel discussion, is held from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 8, in Henkel Hall, Hester Auditorium; moderated by Dr. Coker. Participants include: David Bearinger, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities; Robert Ehrenreich, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; David Smith, Department of History, Baylor University; and Robert Townsend, American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Those wishing to attend the full conference should visit to register. Register by Tuesday, March 28, to avoid a late registration fee. For more information, contact the President of VHC 2017 and Shenandoah University Director of Gender & Women’s Studies and Professor of Comparative Literature Petra Schweitzer, Ph.D., at or 540/545-7380.