Geoffrion Family Fellows Public Humanities Project

May 22, 2019

As part of the annual interdisciplinary John W. Altman Program, the undergraduate Geoffrion Fellows were asked to develop a public project that took up the theme of Truth and Lies. Developed over the course of the 2018-2019 academic year, and supervised by Altman Graduate Fellow Casey Kuhajda, the Geoffrion fellows created a series of short ‘viral videos’ featuring the program’s guest lecturers. In the videos, the Geoffrion Fellows asked the speakers to reflect on how their research intersects with their personal lives and to the study of the humanities more generally. Designed to be quickly consumed on social media, the videos distill complex questions about Truth and Lies in the humanities and encourage others to engage with ongoing conversations about truth-telling. 

Resembling short viral videos that are shared on social media, the Geoffrion Fellows  developed their own design and focused on each of the speaker’s arguments about truth-telling in an era marked by phrases like “fake news” and “post-truth”. Breaking down academic lectures into a piece for the public can be difficult, let alone condensing a lecture’s main points into videos less than 2 minutes in length. However, this challenge was necessary for what the Geoffrion Fellows aimed to achieve after spending a year discussing truth and lies with faculty scholars and guest speakers. They aimed to share the conversations that speakers such as Jason Stanley, Eula Biss, and Viet Thanh Nguyen had given about truth-telling in the public sphere in a manner that was both easy to consume and familiar. 

Be sure to check out this year’s archival public project on Truth and Lies to see the cumulative work produced by this year’s Geoffrion Fellows: Amanda Brennan, Megan Zahneis, Madeline Mitchell, Margaret Hamm, Caroline Godard, and Hannah Abigail Clarke.

Applications for Altman Graduate Fellowships and the Geoffrion Family Fellowship for undergraduates are due in early March each year. For more information on how to apply please visit the Humanities Center website here.

Contributed by Sidne Lyon, Graduate Assistant