In Conversation: Heather Cox Richardson and Brian Naylor on the Future of the Humanities


Friday, October 14 | 3:00 p.m.
Collins Center for the Arts

“The Future of the Humanities”: A Discussion with Dr. Heather Cox Richardson and Brian Naylor in Celebration of the McGillicuddy Humanities Center’s First Decade

A 2022 Homecoming Event, produced in collaboration with the University of Maine Alumni Association, the University of Maine College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center. The event is free and open to the public.
Join us for a discussion about the role of the humanities in our current social, cultural and political moment. Literature, art, music, history, and the other disciplines within the humanities offer students of all ages valuable tools for understanding, connection, and empathy. Whether it’s discussing a movie, reading a novel, or listening to a favorite tune, our appreciation for the humanities occurs daily yet too often passes unnoticed.
Brian Naylor, the veteran National Public Radio correspondent, will interview and discuss the future of the humanities with Dr. Heather Cox Richardson. As part of Homecoming, 2022, this celebration of the culmination of the McGillicuddy Humanities Center’s first decade will offer some ideas for the next decade – and beyond – for the future of the humanities.

Dr. Heather Cox Richardson teaches nineteenth-century American history at Boston College. Among her award-winning books examining political ideology are her history of the Republican Party, To Make Men Free (2014), and How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America (2020). Richardson is president of The Historical Society, an organization designed to bring academic history to general readers, and her expertise has been widely utilized by such journalistic organizations as the New York Times, Bloomberg,, BBC, Washington Post, and Chicago Tribune. Dr. Richardson is also the proprietor of the No. 1 most-subscribed Substack newsletter, “Letters From an American.” Read by millions daily (through both subscriptions and social media sharing), Richardson is one of the foremost interpreters of our current political environment through historical context. In recognition of her prominent role as a public intellectual, on February 25, 2022, Richardson was invited to interview President Biden “in the China Room of the White House to talk about American democracy and the struggles we face.”

A 1978 graduate of the University of Maine, Brian Naylor recently retired from National Public Radio where he worked for nearly 40 years as a Washington DC-based reporter covering politics, Congress, and federal agencies such as transportation and homeland security. A versatile broadcast journalist, Naylor worked as a newscaster during All Things Considered and filled in as host on many NPR programs during his career, including Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and Talk of the Nation. During his NPR career, Naylor has covered many major world events, including political conventions, the Olympics, the White House, Congress, and the mid-Atlantic region. Naylor reported from Tokyo in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, from New Orleans following the BP oil spill, and from West Virginia after the deadly explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine. While covering the U.S. Congress in the mid-1990s, Naylor’s reporting contributed to NPR’s 1996 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism award for political reporting. Naylor currently serves on the Advisory Board of the McGillicuddy Humanities Center, and in 2013 he was the Alan Miller Fund Visiting Journalist in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of Maine.
The Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center (MHC) supports excellent teaching, research and public engagement in the humanities to deepen understanding of the human condition. The MHC supports programs that foster intellectual curiosity, critical reflection, and creative innovation. Central to the Center’s work is the belief that study of the humanities inspires compassion across differences, develops empathy, strengthens critical thinking skills, and cultivates the emotional and intellectual agility needed to navigate an increasingly interconnected and complex global landscape.


Posted on

September 1, 2022