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HX 2023-2024

Annual Theme

Each year, the HumanitiesX Advisory Council selects a topical theme that is both timely and lends itself to humanities inquiry. In 2023, in anticipation of an important year for American electoral politics and amidst ongoing, worldwide clashes over the nature and limit of rights, the Council selected Democracy & Rights as the theme for the 2023-24 academic year.


The 2023-24 cohort of HumanitiesX fellows includes three teams, each comprised of two faculty members from DePaul's College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, a community partner from a Chicago-area nonprofit organization, and two Student Fellows, who will be selected through a competitive application process and join the cohort in November 2023.

Each team will collaboratively develop a HumanitiesX course on the theme of democracy and rights, offered to DePaul students in Spring Quarter 2024.

Team Alliance Française de Chicago

  • David Lay Williams

    David Lay Williams

  • Matthew Maguire

    Matthew Maguire

    • Associate Professor, History/Catholic Studies
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  • Aimee Laberge

    Aimée Laberge

Experiencing Democracy in America 
This Humanities X seminar brings together a close reading of Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America (published in 1835-40) with experiences of contemporary democracy.  Democracy in America is often considered to be the greatest book ever written on American politics.  Tocqueville provides a systemic tour of the American constitution, America's politics, its tensions, its flaws, and its aspirations.  Throughout he presses readers to reflect on the role that equality has played in giving shape to American culture, society, and politics -- indeed, how that commitment to equality may animate the most diverse elements of American life.  While reading the classic, we will test Tocqueville's analysis with our own experiences, and what those experiences, our reading, and our conversations tell us about the possibilities and challenges of American democracy in the 21st century. As an experiential learning course, our work will culminate in a student-led public event that invites the public to learn about and engage with Tocqueville's ideas and their relevance today.   

Team Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN)

  • Susana Martinez

    Susana Martínez

      Associate Professor, Modern Languages/Peace, Justice, & Conflict Studies
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  • Lydia Saravia

    Lydia Saravia

    • Professional Lecturer, Writing, Rhetoric, & Discourse
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  • Jhonathan Gomez

    Jhonathan Gómez

Historical Memory Project: Ni Olvido, Ni Perdón    
QuIn this course, students will consider the connection between historical events, beginning in the 1960s, and current movements and injustices impacting Central America—specifically, in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Students will work collaboratively with our community partner, Chicago Religious Leadership Network (CRLN) to engage with and create public, political art and writing. Students will examine the ways in which organized communities in Central America have actively worked with human rights groups in the U.S. Through cultural, historical, and rhetorical frameworks, students will interrogate the Western idea of Democracy within the context of neoliberalism. Further, by directly working with CRLN, talking to local political artists, and visiting sites around the city, students will examine how local activists and artists participate in political movements and preserve historic memory. 

Team Gerber/Hart Library

  • Barrie Borich

    Barrie Borich

      Professor, English/LGBTQ Studies
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  • Heather Montes Ireland

    Heather Montes Ireland

    • Assistant Professor, Women's & Gender Studies
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  • Erin Bell

    Erin Bell

Do Say Gay: Banned Books and LGBTQ+ Freedom 
This Experiential Learning course is about contemporary book bans and their relationship to the democratic role of LGBTQ+ libraries and archives in the preservation, celebration, and continuation of intersectional queer lives. Queer books represent the possibilities, traumas, and beauties of LGBTQ+ lives, often in spite of forces attempting to remove these works from libraries and schools. Course participants will read banned books about LGBTQ+ lives, explore material collected in the Gerber/Hart Library and Archives, read about queer repression across time and place, and study theory about censorship, LGBTQ+ rights, and democracy. Students will work collaboratively to cre​ate a public exhibit on banned books and learn about the administration and maintenance of a nonprofit library that also functions as a community center and LGBTQ+ safe haven.