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Katie Monroe at the site of the 1892 Battle of Homestead in Pittsburgh.
Katie Monroe at the site of the 1892 Battle of Homestead in Pittsburgh.

Exploring the Humanities (and Philadelphia)

Katie Monroe ’12, an anthropology major, is spending the summer in Philadelphia interning at the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC). She is one of 20 Haverford students who received stipends for summer internships from the John B. Hurford ‘60 Humanities Center.

The PHC is a non-profit organization that works to promote and foster the humanities in Pennsylvania through a variety of different activities including sponsoring a speaker’s bureau, producing an arts- and culture-themed educational TV show and holding book clubs in libraries across the state. The PHC also offers summer opportunities to explore Philadelphia and learn about Pennsylvania’s Civil War and Underground Railroad history through the Live and Learn Program.

Monroe has spent much of her time at the Center working on the production of the second season of the TV show, Humanities on the Road. Some of her duties include tracking down the rights to images, helping with logistics at the sites and analyzing data about audiences. The series explores topics like Teenie Harris’ photographs of Pittsburgh’s black community, treatments of the Amish in literature and the legacy of abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens.

At the end of June, Monroe attended the taping of an episode about Pennsylvania’s Appalachian Civil War deserters. The episode features the work of Associate Professor of History at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania Robert Sandow on opposition to the American Civil War in rural Pennsylvania. Monroe appreciated that way that Sandow connected his research to broader themes of war opposition, and also recognized the PHC’s role in expanding research in the humanities to broader audiences. “It was cool to see a clearly brilliant professor getting an outlet to share his work with audiences other than [through] traditional undergraduate classrooms.”

Monroe is also working with the PHC to keep the humanities vital in K-12 education in the Pittsburgh area. Last week she traveled to Pittsburgh to help organize a meeting with education experts to discuss the importance of the humanities. The meeting was held at the site of the 1892 Battle of Homestead, which Monroe says is “one of the most important and bloodiest labor battles in American history.” Educators also met with the PHC to brainstorm how to make Humanities on the Road more accessible for younger audiences.

Monroe was interested in the PHC because it reminds her of the Hurford Humanities Center on campus. “I love what the Hurford Humanities Center does at our college,” she says. “Their seminars and programs always make me think and have really enhanced my Haverford experience. I was interested to see what a sort of state-wide version of that would look like. I think it's also great to learn about where you are living and this job is a great opportunity to explore and share some of the rich history and culture of Pennsylvania.”

--Jacob Lowy ‘14

Founders Green on a warm spring day.

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