PHI News

The Center for Justice and the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University, in collaboration with the Media and Idea Lab at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, were recently awarded a grant for $1 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. These funds will support the “Justice-in-Education Initiative” over the next three years, a collaborative project to provide education to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated persons and to integrate the study of justice more fully into the Columbia University curriculum.

The New York Times collumnist Michael Cooper highlights the upcoming conference "Restaging the Harlem Renaissance: New Views on the Performing Arts in Black Manhattan" in ArtsBeat. Follow the link to read the full article. 

The Center for Justice at Columbia and the Heyman Center Public Humanities Initiative invite proposals for the development of new curricular offerings in justice studies. There is consistent and growing student interest in issues of social justice and the widespread cultural effects of mass incarceration in a number of fields including sociology, history, public health, education, arts, political science, psychology, women and gender studies, social work, law, African-American studies and more.  We therefore seek to develop courses in these areas (but not limited to them) that can be offered within current disciplinary structures, as part of already-existing majors and concentrations, but that bring significant attention to justice issues. The Justice Studies Curriculum Development Grant competition is open to tenured or tenure-track professors, Core Lecturers, and current PhD students (ABD) at Columbia.

In a March 24, 2015 op-ed in The Washington Post, Christia Mercer, the Gustave M. Berne Professor of Philosophy at Columbia, relates her experience volunteering as a teacher in a women’s prison, highlighting the need for prison education programs in the country with the highest number of incarcerated people in the world. Professor Mercer’s class is the first course offered as part of the newly established Justice-in-Education Initiative, a collaborative project by the Center for Justice and Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University to provide education to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated persons and to integrate more fully the study of justice into Columbia’s curriculum.

In June 2015, Morningside Opera, Harlem Opera Theater, and The Harlem Chamber Players will collaborate on a concert performance of the 1914 opera, Voodoo, by composer-librettist H. Lawrence Freeman. On the occasion of this rare performance of a work by a major, if nearly forgotten, figure, we are convening a two-day interdisciplinary conference on African-American performing arts to accompany an array of events related to the revival, including a talkback with performers, and an exhibit of Freeman’s papers in Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library. This conference seeks to contextualize Freeman’s 1914 opera, to address several trends in recent scholarship on African-American culture of the period, and to reflect on the new directions of Black performance studies. We invite submissions of scholarly papers and work-in-progress research presentations from any discipline for 20-25 minute conference presentations on a wide variety of topics.

This spring, the Heyman Center for the Humanities Public Humanities Initiative and The Center for Justice at Columbia University collaborate to present programming on justice through poetry, documentary film, and roundtable discussion. Spurred by the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, among others, the national conversation has turned to definitions of justice in relation to race, the rights of the accused, and racial inequities within the justice system. Three important spring events presented by the Heyman Center Public Humanities Initiative and The Center for Justice serve to further this discussion. Please follow the link for event details. 

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