The OCH is delighted to announce its new 2021-2022 Annual Theme: Renewal
We have endured a battering year of plague and protest, distance and death, change and anxiety. Even our most enduring social patterns have become different, strange, and disorienting: celebrating a birthday, seeing someone in public without a mask, or settling in for a day’s work or school alone in front of a tiny camera. In our politics, we now look at each other with growing suspicion as we grapple with the aftermath of a violent insurrection that laid siege to the seat of our democracy. We find ourselves flooded with information from all sides and awash in a seemingly endless cascade of crises: racial injustice, accelerating climate change, and the yawning disparities in wealth, education, and health laid bare by the ravages of the pandemic.
Our era is not the first to face such extremities since change itself is an integral part of all existence. “Human beings,” Goethe wrote amid the chaos of his own era, “renew and rejuvenate ourselves through change; otherwise we harden.” According to Sean Latham, the Center’s director, “Our goal is to turn a critical yet imaginative gaze to the future while building on the lessons of the past. How have individuals and communities emerged from periods of suffering in the past? What do we need to keep from the past and what can we now change as we begin to think about the future? And what does it mean to build a future around the idea of emotional, cultural, and planetary thriving?
Throughout the 2021-22 academic year, the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities will explore the process of change, renewal, and recovery. This will mean looking to the past, crossing cultural boundaries, forcing new connections, and imagining alternative futures for ourselves, our communities, and our planet.