Seminar Series

The Center for Global Humanities Seminar Series (CGH 490/505) introduces you to some of the greatest challenges humanity faces today. Whether you aspire to be a teacher, environmental scientist, doctor, or pharmacist, the course can play an important role in your education. 

A strong foundation in the humanities empowers you to be a more active and influential global citizen. As a student today, you belong to a generation that will soon supply a variety of fields with new leadership. The world will look to you to shape its future. A background in history, literature, politics and ethics helps you develop nuanced understandings of the complex issues affecting your field, so that you can make informed decisions about how to address them.

The class meets once a week on the Biddeford Campus, and travels to the Portland Campus (transportation is provided) four or five times per semester for community lectures that bring you face-to-face with some of the leading thinkers of our time. You read and discuss each scholar’s work prior to their visit, then have opportunities to interact directly with them during a reception prior to each lecture and during a question-and-answer session afterwards.  

Previous lectures have brought to campus such prominent thinkers as Sherwin Nuland, M.D., who discussed the suffering and cost associated with end-of-life care; Joseph Dumit, who discussed the pharmaceutical industry’s role in escalating patients and doctors’ acceptance of chronic treatments; and Noam Chomsky, who discussed the ironies of 2011’s “Arab Spring,” which saw people across the Middle East demand good education, health and employment, while Americans grew increasingly resigned to a future without such rights.​

The course enables you to deepen your understanding of past and present world issues, hones your skills of cultural analysis, and encourages you to apply your new knowledge to become a well-rounded contributor to your field. If you choose to enroll in two semesters of the course, you will be designated a CGH Scholar.


Our schedule begins in September and ends in April each year. Seminars are typically held on the last Monday of each month. 

Expected Outcomes

CGH 490/505 provides an extensive opportunity for you to explore major world issues from a broadly defined humanities perspective and outside the framework of traditional disciplines. By reading the equivalent of four or five books per semester, developing a personal bibliography related to worldly issues, sharing a lecture hall with non-UNE students of all ages, writing critical papers on the books and/or materials assigned, and meeting as a group with the instructor in follow-up sessions, you sharpen your written, oral and critical skills; explore different methodological approaches; engage in self-directed learning; and bring the specialized knowledge acquired in your discipline to bear on the assigned discussions and written work.

Requirements for Credit-Earning Students

Students taking the course for credit are required to attend a weekly class meeting with the course instructor to discuss and present course goals, objectives, content, learning outcomes, papers, projects and other materials. In addition, students attend four to five seminars per semester as described in the schedule. Students are assigned readings to complete prior to each lecture. They are also required to submit annotated bibliographies of relevant scholarly research or works. Each lecture is followed by interactive discussion and analysis of materials assigned by the course instructor, as well as presentations and discussion of the students' independently conducted scholarly activity.  


Students enrolled in the seminar are given letter grades. People participating in the seminar series who are not earning credit are expected to read all assigned material and participate thoughtfully in discussions.


For any questions related to the Center for Global Humanities' seminars, lectures, or other activities, please call Elizabeth Bennett at (207) 221- 4435, or send an email to