2018 National Humanities Conference

November 08, 2018 at 12:00pm - November 11, 2018


The National Humanities Conference brings together the public humanities and academia to explore local and national opportunities and challenges, discover new ideas and research, learn about collaborations and best practices, and strengthen America’s humanities network. National Humanities Conference is co-hosted by the National Humanities Alliance and the Federation of State Humanities Councils. We’d like to extend our gratitude to the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities for hosting the 2018 conference, as well as the 2018 Conference Planning Committee. We hope you will join us in New Orleans in 2018!


Jesmyn_Ward_by_Beowulf_Sheehan.jpgMacArthur Genius and two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward has been hailed as the standout writer of her generation, proving her “fearless and toughly lyrical” voice in novels, memoir, and nonfiction. In 2017, she became the first woman and the first person of color to win two National Book Awards for Fiction—joining the ranks of William Faulkner, Saul Bellow, John Cheever, Philip Roth, and John Updike. Ward’s stories are largely set on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, where she grew up and still lives. Shortly after Ward received her MFA, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, and she was forced to evacuate her rapidly flooding home. Ward’s writing is deeply informed by the trauma of Katrina, not to mention its unimaginable social and economic repercussions. For Jesmyn Ward's full bio, please click here.

"The NHC conference was a revelation and an inspiration. I learned so much from my colleagues working in state humanities councils about how to engage the broader public on a range of issues and am now implementing what I’ve learned in a new public event series for my institute. I don’t know of any other conference that brings together so many humanists to exchange ideas about how to instill the values and lessons of the humanities in an increasingly fractured world."

— Molly McCarthy, Associate Director, UC Davis Humanities Institute

"I attended the 2017 National Humanities Conference as a participant in one of the working groups. This collaboration produced a robust conversation about humanities narratives and resulted in a lively and generative conference session. The working group identified timely and significant concerns related to humanities advocacy, raised provocative questions, and inspired creative new approaches to my work. I returned from the conference with a host of ideas to share with colleagues interested in humanities education and humanities programming." 

— Theresa A. Donofrio, The Esther and Robert Armstrong Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Chair, Coe College

"Public humanists and academics working together in concert have a unique opportunity to enhance the influence of the humanities in our world. The National Humanities Conference invites colleagues from the fields of public humanities and academia to closely examine shared interests in supporting and expanding humanistic knowledge. My own work has been greatly enriched at previous National Humanities Conferences and I am very much looking forward to the 2018 meeting in New Orleans."

— Mona Frederick, Executive Director, Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, Vanderbilt University

"I’ve come to look forward to these gatherings of academic and public humanities experts with enormous anticipation. Each year I’m inspired by deep, rigorous collaborations in which scholars, students, and community-based cultural experts are bringing art, history, and literature to bear on the immense challenges we face from immigration to climate change and from race relations to public education. As co-editor of the University of Iowa Press Humanities and Public Life Book Series, I can tell you that some of our most exciting new projects surfaced thanks to the National Humanities Conference!"

 — Teresa Mangum, Director, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, The University of Iowa

Event Details


Registration for this event is closed.


Conference Program

View the program here!



New Orleans Marriott
555 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA

Thank you to our sponsors!

Lead Partner



Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University
Routledge, Taylor & Francis


Humanities at the University of Arkansas
The Center for the Study of the Southwest, Texas State University
The University of Mississippi, College of Liberal Arts

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