College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Dr. Katherine Gilbert, Humanities and Ethics Center Director

Peter MeidlingerThe Humanities and Ethics Center was founded at Drury in 2013. The center serves as a vibrant interdisciplinary hub at the university that promotes the study and celebration of the humanities beyond the classroom. The term, humanities, builds upon the idea of the human, and indeed the humanities encompasses disciplines that study the records of human experience: Philosophy, Literature and Languages, History, Religion, Communication, Art and Art History, Music, and Theater. 

Through its Speaker series, Reading Discussion Group, Film series, and Thinking Aloud series, the Center cultivates intellectual rigor and public dialogue among faculty, students, the larger Drury community, and the region at large. Whether we are discussing free speech and human rights, the avant garde and democracy, Jane Austen, bell hooks, Plato, Buddhism, or the staging of Shakespeare’s plays, we find that at the heart of these conversations is the question of what it means to be human—in the past, and today.

While the humanities emerged during the Classical period and experienced a renewed attention during the Renaissance, we believe humanistic inquiry and dialogue about ethics are just as relevant today. The question—of how great thinkers, writers, and artists experienced the world and translated that experience into artifacts that inspire us to think about our own—never gets old.

Thus the Center aims to foster rigorous intellectual inquiry, but also inspiration about and celebration of the humanities, as we believe their study makes life richer and more meaningful. We also believe that the probing questions at the heart of these conversations help students to sharpen their critical thinking skills, and provide students with a unique footing as the move into the world after college. A strong democracy—and even a strong economy—require a vibrant humanities culture for nourishment and creativity; professionals of all types need the deep thinking, rational, and creative skills honed in the humanities to succeed.

The Center takes seriously the importance of public humanities, as it provides unique opportunities for students and faculty to engage in dialogue with each other and members of the larger community, both on and off campus. We invite you to participate actively in this project with us. To see what events have been offered in the past, and to learn more about what will be offered soon, please visit our calendar.