English Student Named 2021 Humanities Without Walls Pre-Doctoral Workshop Fellow

Kristen Figgins
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Kristen Figgins

The University of Arkansas Humanities Center and the Department of English are happy to announce that Kristen Figgins, a doctoral candidate in English, was recently named a 2021 Humanities Without Walls Pre-Doctoral Workshop Fellow.

Figgins was nominated by the University of Arkansas Humanities Center back in October.

She will be participating in HWW's 2021 virtual career diversity summer workshop from July 19 to Aug. 6. Workshop sessions will run four hours a day, Monday through Friday. Alternative forms of programming will be offered for the remaining part of each day.

HWW, a consortium funded by the Humanities Research Institute and comprised of 16 university humanities centers, "aims to create new avenues for collaborative research, teaching, and the production of scholarship in the humanities, forging and sustaining areas of inquiry that cannot be created or maintained without cross-institutional cooperation."

This year's pre-doctoral summer workshop will offer fellows "a series of workshops, talks, and virtual field trips" that will help them market their humanities skillsets "towards careers in the private sector, the non-profit world, arts administration, public media and many other fields."

As part of her application packet, Figgins, whose dissertation research focuses upon the adaptation of animals in 19th-century British literature, science, and philosophy, had to include a 1000-word explanation of her professional goals, speaking specifically to the issues of what "career diversity" means to her and what she would like to get out of the HWW workshop.

Figgins wrote, "I did not end up in the field of English because I like to read; I did it because I recognized something intensely valuable in the study of how we think about our environments. As we face a series of increasingly devastating crises in the twenty-first century, humanists will be needed outside of academia in the broader community to tackle these problems with a commitment to environmental and social justice.

"...A degree in the humanities shouldn't be a choice between the academy and a dead end. It is time for the narrative about humanists to adapt, for our own pecuniary survival as academic jobs disappear, yes, but also for the survival of vitally valuable fields. The humanities are how we ensure that scientists are ethical, that economists understand the impact of their discipline, and that engineers know who they're helping and why. The humanities help us to understand the world around us and help us determine not only who we are as individuals but also who we want to be as a society."

Figgins will be one of 30 doctoral students attending HWW's program. This year's cohort of workshop fellows will be representing universities from across the country, including (in addition to the University of Arkansas) schools such as Brown, Cornell, Michigan State, Stanford, UCLA, University of Notre Dame, and UT Austin.

Those participating in this summer's program also come from a broad range of disciplines within the humanities: American Studies, Anthropology, Chicana/o and Central American Studies, Communication Studies, English, German, History, Linguistics, Philosophy, Religion, Theatre, and other areas.


Leigh Sparks, assistant director of the Graduate Program in English
Department of English
479-575-4301, lxp04@uark.edu


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