Sarah Churchwell and Russell Goulbourne

Episode 5: Sarah Churchwell and Russell Goulbourne

Revealing the ‘invisible’ Humanities with Being Human Festival Director Sarah Churchwell

The Humanities can help us to understand so many aspects of this year’s crises – from the politics of fluctuating global COVID-19 statistics to the histories of plagues and pandemics past. The Humanities shape every major challenge of our time, and yet often remain on the sideline to the sciences in the public consciousness. So how do we advocate for a transformation in the public understanding of the ‘invisible’ Humanities?

Professor Sarah Churchwell holds the Chair in Public Understanding of the Humanities at the University of London and has some extraordinary insights to share on this topic. In this Dean’s Forum, Professor Churchwell sits down with Professor Russell Goulbourne to tackle the task of defining the Humanities and the need for Humanities scholars to communicate their work to non-specialist audiences. Professor Churchwell is the Director of the Being Human Festival, which the Faculty of Arts is participating in for the third time this November. She shares her perspective on the Festival’s ethos of getting Humanities research ‘out of the ivory tower’ and into the community.

Professor Sarah Churchwell
Professor Sarah Churchwell

About Professor Sarah Churchwell

Professor Sarah Churchwell is a Professor of American Literature and Chair in Public Understanding of the Humanities in the School of Advanced Study at the University of London. Her books include Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of The Great Gatsby (2013) and Behold, America: A History of America First and the American Dream. She has appeared on British television and radio and has been a judge for the Booker Prize, the Women's Prize for Fiction, and the David Cohen Prize for Literature. She is the director of the Being Human festival.

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Professor Russell Goulbourne
Professor Russell Goulbourne

About Professor Russell Goulbourne

Professor Russell Goulbourne is Dean, Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne and a noted French literature scholar. He was previously Professor of French Literature at King’s College London, where he also served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities from 2014 to 2018. Prior to this, he taught for more than a decade at the University of Leeds, after education at Keble College, Oxford. Professor Goulbourne has published and taught extensively on major figures in French intellectual culture of the 17th and 18th centuries including Voltaire, Diderot and Rousseau. His research interests include the history of the book and textual editing, and reception of classical antiquity in early modern France.

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