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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

Democracy in America will engage DePaul students and the broader Chicago community in fundamental democratic questions on the cusp of the 2024 election. The course will center the work of 19th century Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, who traveled to the United States and subsequently published his two-volume Democracy in America (1835-40). In partnership with the Alliance Française of Chicago, students will plan and facilitate a public book discussion that brings Tocqueville’s insights to bear on our democratic moment. We will engage questions such as “What does this text teach us about how to define or defend democracy and rights?” And “What can we learn about the stakes for democracy in the 2024 election by studying past cultures and past moments?”

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 will explore human rights and human rights activism in Central America, focusing on Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. With the rich history our partner organization CRLN brings, we will address questions such as, “What can we learn from Chicago citizens and organizations that have pioneered fights for rights?" "How can movements for rights be preserved and communicated to public audiences and future generations?" "How can we document and understand past injustices to prevent future injustices?” Students will help CRLN to historically contextualize their existing archive of documents, posters, and flyers from political and human-rights events in Latin America and the United States. In tandem with interviews with CRLN members, students will build a digital archive and physical exhibition that showcases how activist movements can fight against human rights injustices.

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 will link current challenges to LGBTQ+ freedom to in-tandem moves to remove LGBTQ+ themed books from libraries and schools. We will approach this material by exploring material ephemera and books collected in the Gerber/Hart Library and Archives, as well as through texts that explore issues of queer repression across time and geography and the relationship between the printed word and image, censorship, and democracy. Students will work with Gerber/Hart to develop pop-up exhibitions, in the tradition of Chicago Public Library banned book sanctuaries, as well as the Little Free Library movement. These exhibitions will both expand the reach of the Gerber/Hart collections and encourage public dialogue about LGBTQ+ histories and freedom.