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Humanities Highlights

Through the events we support, the Humanities Center aims to demonstrate and honor the rich heritage of the humanities as a common language for negotiating the complex issues and challenges of the 21st century. Many of the events highlighted below have created forums for exploring contemporary problems from the vantage of humanistic thinking.


Shakespeare Behind Bars

In March 2011, the Humanities Center, along with McGeorge School of Law, the Benerd School of Education and local prison outreach programs, hosted Curt Tofteland, founder of the "Shakespeare Behind Bars" program, and showed his documentary of the same name. The film follows the program, which affords prisoners the opportunity to participate in roles from "The Tempest," helping them use their characters to confront personal demons and work through forgiveness. Learn more from this article.


Download the Spring 2010 Humanities Events poster for examples of events we sponsor throughout the year, and see highlights of past events below.

Quartetto Prometeo performed at the Italian Festival.
Quartetto Prometeo performed at the Italian Festival.

  • Co-Sponsored, with the Conservatory of Music, a week-long Festival of Italian Music and Culture, starring Italy’s top string quartet, Prometeo.
  • Co-Sponsored, with Writing in the Disciplines and a variety of other campus-wide organizations, a presentation by legal scholar and activist Susan Estrich, titled “Don’t Say ‘No,’ Say Rape.”


Nina Thiel
Nina Thiel One-Woman Show

  • Presented standing-room only performance of Nina Thiel’s One-Woman Show “Always the Women: Jesus’s Encounters with Women in the Gospels.”
  • Co-sponsored, with Ethnic Studies and the English Department, a reading by internationally acclaimed poet Li-Young Lee in celebration of Asian Pacific Islander Month.
  • Co-Sponsored, with the Pacific Legal Scholars Program, a forum titled “The Fair Sex? Gender, Justice, and the Law,” featuring former Chief Judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Mary M. Schroeder and current Judge Consuelo Maria Callahan.


Festival of Japanese Music & Culture

  • Co-sponsored, with the Conservatory of Music, a week-long celebration of Japanese Music and Culture, featuring the avant-garde work of Joji Yuasa and Kiyoshi Furukawa.
  • Hosted arts activist Curt Tofteland, Founder of the Shakespeare Behind Bars program in Kentucky, featured in the award-winning film “Shakespeare Behind Bars.”


Iraq for Sale

  • Sponsored a free public showing of the highly controversial film “Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers.”
  • Brought students from across campus to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, where, in addition to attending critically acclaimed performances and seminars, students enjoyed a white water rafting adventure down the Rogue River.


The Subversive Stitch

  • Curated, in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness month, a National Exhibit in Fiber Arts titled “The Subversive Stitch,” which featured a broad range of work from breast cancer survivors and received national attention in American Craft magazine.
  • Co-sponsored, with Theatre Arts, the “Death Penalty Play Project,” which brought Sister Helen Prejean (whose story is told in the acclaimed film “Dead Man Walking”) to Pacific’s campus.


  • Sponsored and hosted Russian students from the Open World Jazz Delegation, in conjunction with Pacific’s Dave Brubeck Center.
  • Featured an evening with Joy McIntyre, internationally acclaimed opera singer, performing “Shades of Shakespeare: Scenes and Songs.”
  • Showcased Pacific’s own National Poetry Series Award-Winner Camille Norton (English) in her reading from her book Corruption.


Field trip to the Marine Headlands

  • Organized the Humanities Fellows field trip to the Marine Headlands.
  • Participated in the Stockton Library’s “Reach out and Read” program, through which Pacific students modeled literacy skills for parents and children in medical waiting rooms throughout the community. Their efforts were intended to not only promote the value of reading but also to ease the minds of patients awaiting treatment for dire medical conditions.
  • Hosted the first-ever Iranian Film Festival in the Central Valley.


  • The Humanities Center opened its doors to faculty and students by dedicating a 100-foot long mural, created entirely by students, representing “Revolutionary movements in the Humanities.”
  • Hosted a screening of Pacific student Ted Robb’s short film on 9/11 titled “One University, One World,” an Official Jury Selection at the Sundance Film Festival.
  • Held evening seminars in Tai Chi, Buddhist Meditation, Asian Theatrical Mask-making, and Renaissance Fencing.