Trinity 100/126, Thursdays 4-5:30 pm and Fridays 3-5 pm unless otherwise noted 

Director: Sarah Pike
Phone: 530-898-6341


* The Humanities Center’s theme for this year is “Play.”

Apr. 12From Full-House to Hip-Hop: On the Fierce Urgency of Play in Social Movements

5:00 pm in Trinity 100

Professor Lisa Yun Lee (University of Illinois at Chicago). Tuesday, April 12 at 5 p.m. in Trinity 100, reception to follow. 

Come for a rambunctious talk about the subterranean history of play at the Hull-House Settlement, founded in 1889, where collective joy and ideas of artistic permissiveness infused every aspect of social struggle. Learn about and participate in historic games developed by radical women organizers who understood play as a way of advancing a more participatory democracy and building community across barriers of difference. Hear about the connections between this history and more contemporary artistic and social movements, and how play continues to be fiercely urgent in the struggle for social justice. 

Lisa Yun Lee is the director of the School of Art & Art History and a member of the Art History, Museum and Exhibition Studies, and Gender and Women's Studies faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Lisa is the past director of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, and is the co-founder of The Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council, co-chair of the Executive Committee of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at UIC, a founding Board member of the National Public Housing Museum, and serves on the Boards of Rebuild Foundation, the American Alliance of Museums, Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, Young Chicago Authors, 3Arts, and the International Contemporary

Apr. 21Fairness, uncertainty and the role of play fighting in making and using the social brain

7:30 pm in Trinity 100

Professor Sergio M. Pellis (Department of Neuroscience, University of Lethbridge, Alberta). Thursday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. in Trinity 100, reception to follow. 

Sergio M. Pellis is professor of Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta. The author of numerous publications, Professor Pellis’s research is focused on the role of peer-to-peer play in the development of social competence. This talk will discuss the way that play fighting, like serious fighting, involves competing for advantage. For play fighting to remain playful, there has to be some degree of cooperation, and by juxtaposing cooperative actions with competitive ones, play fighting creates reciprocity between the roles of attacker and defender. The interplay between ambiguity and fairness, inherent in play fighting, reveals different uses in the juvenile period and adulthood and contributes to the development and evolution of complex and nuanced social behavior.

May. 06From Garden to Boxcar: Orphaning, Secrecy and Play in Children's Literature

Heather Altfeld, English
5:00 pm in Trinity 126

The inner life of the child, as reflected in numerous pieces of literature, often reveals children (or animalian counterparts) to have preoccupations with secrecy, and with orphaning. This tertulia will examine some literary examples as well as the work of Rousseau, Montessori, Pestalozzi, and Steiner for deeper understanding of this elemental aspect of childhood.

May. 12Play and Life: Some Philosophical Approaches.

Humanities Center Reading Group
5:00 pm in Trinity 126

Selected readings on play, facilitated by Troy Jollimore, Philosophy. For copies of the readings, contact Sarah Pike,