The Humanities Research Center’s Interdisciplinary Research Groups foster conversation and creativity across conventional disciplinary boundaries by bringing together faculty and graduate students from different departments with common interests. Group members meet on a regular basis to discuss books and journal articles of common interest and/or their own work-in-progress. The Humanities Research Center provides space and administrative support for group meetings.

Proposals for new groups are always welcome. Please contact the Director, Richard Godbeer, with any ideas you may have for an Interdisciplinary Research Group.

The following groups are convening in the 2016-2017 academic year:


Film and Media Studies

Contact: Oliver Speck, School of World Studies,

The Film and Media Studies group meets to discuss the history and theory of film and media. We discuss work-in-progress by VCU faculty and graduate students as well as important work of interest to the group. All approaches to film and media studies — historical, sociological, and theoretical — are welcome.


Premodern Society and Culture

Contact: Richard Godbeer, Department of History and Director, Humanities Research Center,

This group examines a broad range of questions and issues relating to medieval, early modern, eighteenth-century, and early nineteenth-century society and culture.  It meets two or three times a semester to discuss a participating member’s work-in-progress — usually a draft book chapter or journal article. All disciplinary and methodological approaches are welcome.


Race, Place, and Power

Contact: Adam Ewing, Department of African American Studies,

This group examines questions of race, along with related questions of identity and power, from a broad geographical and thematic perspective. We meet three times a semester to discuss a participating member’s work-in-progress — usually a draft book chapter or journal article. All disciplinary and methodological approaches are welcome.



Vernacular Languages in Media, Literature, and Culture

Contact: Winnie Chan, Department of English,

This group discusses published scholarship as well as draft chapters and essays by group members in which minority and vernacular languages (such as African American Vernacular English, Appalachian English, and Hawaiian Creole English, to give just a few examples), endangered languages, and the cultures associated with them play an important role. We will discuss the issues raised by these works both for scholarship and for education, including the specific challenges and opportunities that these issues present at VCU and in the Richmond community.


Writing the First Book

Contact: Christine Cynn, Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies,

This writing group provides a supportive and rigorous forum in which junior faculty can engage with each other as they work on their first scholarly monographs. The group reads and discusses draft chapters, book proposals for submission to presses, and applications for fellowships and grants. It also invites senior colleagues to visit, talk about their experiences in writing and publishing their first books, and share strategies for successful and timely completion of a book project.