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The Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab

 The Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab (WPHL) serves as FIU’s hub for public-facing humanities research, teaching and engagement. Our lab uses FIU’s status as an urban research institution and its strategic location in Miami to capture and magnify the creative, scholarly and pedagogical expertise of faculty, staff and students who are committed to doing public-facing work.



“Our Stories: Summer 2020” is a photographic and reflective undergraduate student-based project and podcast series that hopes to document our present times through the eyes, voice, and language of our students. The FIU Honors College and the Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab had the idea of sending a small group of students a disposable camera to give them the opportunity to show us a glimpse into their life this summer.

  • Coffee & Conversations: Miami Book Fair 2020

    Season 4 of Coffee & Conversations welcomes local cultural institutions to discuss how they preserve, share, and highlight community stories and experiences. Thursdays at 10am EST/EDT.
  • Myths of Socialism: What's in a Name?

    Is there a more charged–and less understood–word being used in the run-up to the 2020 general election? Listen to New Yorker writer Peter Slevin and FIU History professor Mike Bustamante as they talk with WPHL Director Rebecca Friedman about the vocabulary of electioneering in 2020.
  • Who Gets a Say?: Voting Rights in Florida

    Watch our discussion of voting rights in Florida with Dexter Filkins, a New Yorker writer who just published a piece on this issue, and Melba Pearson, a former prosecutor and ACLU of Florida deputy director who is now the director of policy and programs for FIU's Center for the Administration of Justice.

Whither Criticism?

What is the state of architectural criticism today? How should criticism change to respond to the major crises of our time? We posed these questions to six prominent critics, who discussed their work in a series of live webinars. Hosted by Professors David Rifkind (Architecture) and Dan Evans (Journalism + Media), the series was sponsored by the Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab and funded by the Office of the Provost.

Storytelling for Social and Planetary Change

Storytelling is essential to what it means to be human. The process of knowing involves storytelling, and our value systems that determine what is just or unjust are all influenced by the stories we tell ourselves. In addition, human beings exist in a planetary context with many other entities (species, rivers, glaciers, oceans) that have a “story” to tell and that are parts of our own stories. Finally, the power of story and re-narration helps to rethink and create new communities, as we have seen with the MeToo, Black Lives Matter, and Fridays for Future movements. The Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab is proud to support this collaboration between Counterpoint and The Pachaysana Institute, a 4-part online workshop series that focuses on storytelling and its relationship to knowledge, justice, healing, and the creation of new possible futures for the planetary community.

Stories in the Time of Corona

This platform aims to hear - and record – the stories from the members of our FIU community and South Florida at large in this very difficult and unsettling moment. By hearing from you, the WPHL can learn from you, and create a community of knowledge and empathy as we struggle to understand how the ground is shifting beneath us. We will emerge stronger and with an archive of stories in a multitude of formats (textual, sound/visual, digital) able to remind us and teach us as we move forward together. We will encourage expression of all kinds, from photography to words in the form of free thought and poetry and art.

Coffee & Conversations: Miami Book Fair

Season 3 of Coffee & Conversations features interviews with six authors as part of the 2020 Miami Book Fair, October 20 to November 5. Listen to past conversations here. Season 2, Museums and Histories of Anti-Blackness, featured eight discussions with directors and leaders of museums and other cultural institutions to discuss how they and their institutions are addressing the challenges of working against institutional powers that have historically erased, marginalized, or whitewashed Black histories. Season 1, Cultural Institutions in Times of Crisis, featured ten episodes focused on the ways cultural institutions have adapted to the economic and social pressures induced by the novel coronavirus in 2020.

The WPHL cements FIU’s position on the vanguard of academia by creating an integrative research center, teaching lab, and degree program dedicated to a pioneering field now emerging at top universities across the country: public humanities. 
The lab positions FIU as a leader within the emerging field of public humanities by leveraging the resources of the university’s three cultural institutions:
  • The Wolfsonian—FIU
  • The Frost Museum
  • Jewish Museum of South Florida
frost photo
FIU Campus
Along with scholars engaged with the humanities across our campus, including:
  • Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs (including the Department of History’s thriving Public History program)
  • College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts
  • College of Arts, Sciences & Education