January 4, 2022
The atrium UCF's student union

In October, four units in the UCF College of Arts and Humanities were awarded Greater Good: Humanities in Academia Grants. According to Florida Humanities, the statewide, nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, this grant provides funding to humanities-related departments associated with Florida colleges and universities to support community programming that seeks to broaden public awareness of what it means to be human.

The grants were awarded to the following faculty members:

  • Jason Gregory, Lecturer, English
    • Co-PI: Chrissy Kolaya, Assistant Professor, English
  • Mark Kamrath, Professor, Center for Humanities & Digital Research
    • Co-PI: Bruce Janz, Professor, Philosophy
  • Jamila Kareem, Assistant Professor, Writing and Rhetoric
    • Support: Jeremy Carnes, Visiting Lecturer, Writing and Rhetoric
  • Lanlan Kuang, Associate Professor, Philosophy

Gregory will host CRT: A Critical Conversation About Race and History, an online in-conversation event moderated by Spectrum News 13 anchor Tammie Fields, and featuring Kiese Laymon, the Libby Shearn Moody Professor of Creative Writing and English at Rice University; Jamila Kareem, assistant professor of writing and rhetoric at UCF; and Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, assistant professor of physics and astronomy and core faculty member in women’s and gender studies at the University of New Hampshire. Chrissy Kolaya, assistant professor of English and faculty advisor for Writers in the Sun, will serve as the co-PI for the project. The event will take place on January 30, 2022.

“In a moment when controversies over Critical Race Theory are erupting around the country, Chrissy Kolaya and I applied for this grant to allow us to bring important writers to UCF to discuss the importance of race and history in their work,” explains Gregory.

Click here to learn more and register for this event.


Kamrath will host The Global Pandemic of 2020–2022: Historical Contexts and Current Perspectives on March 18, 2022 in the John C. Hitt Library, Room 402. This interdisciplinary panel discussion will feature associate professor of history Amy Foster, assistant professor of philosophy and medical education Dr. Luciana Garbayo, assistant professor of English Sarah Singer and Alvina Chu, director of infectious diseases for the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.

“This event is an effort to promote community dialogue with academic and other specialists and to reflect on the human experience during COVID-19,” says Kamrath. “This is especially important in today’s world where we are more socially and globally connected than ever, yet struggle to understand each other’s thinking and actions, especially when it comes to ending the pandemic.”


Kareem’s event, Honoring Indigenous Expression with Natalie Diaz, will take place on April 5, 2022 as part of UCF Celebrates the Arts 2022. Natalie Diaz, a Mojave-Latina MacArthur Foundation fellow and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet of Postcolonial Love Poem, will virtually present her work combining poetic verse, language activism, and celebration of the Indigenous experience. She will then open the session up to an audience Q&A to discuss her creative and activist work.

“The inspiration for the event developed through collaboration with our department’s Indigenous studies specialist, Jeremy Carnes,” says Kareem. “As UCF is working to become a more inclusive university, representative of the local demographic and cultural makeup of the city and state, this event is one way the Department of Writing and Rhetoric is helping us move towards that goal.”


Kuang will host Understanding Folk and Cultural Traditions in Our Time, a two-day workshop that aims to bring awareness and advance the public’s understanding of folklore and cultural traditions as an important part of humanities. Hosted by scholars, students and specialists, the workshops will have four tentative themes: “Treasures Everywhere: Folk and Cultural Traditions in Our Time,” “Performing and Recording: A Conversation with Curators,” “Celebrating our Roots: Implementing Humanities Projects” and “Planting Seeds: Advancing Humanities in Academia.” The workshops are scheduled for February 18 and 19, 2022.

“Perhaps more so than ever, it is critical for us to [re]discover our cultural roots and traditions as powerful factors that shape our understanding of the humanities,” says Kuang. “This workshop, with support from publicly engaging organizations like Florida Folklife Council and Florida Folklore Society, will put light on the human expressive culture at home and from abroad, in the past and from the present, that leads ultimately to humanistic inquiry and analysis, artistic performance and presentation, and public engagement.”

Funding for this program was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the Florida Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.