Fast-moving events, drawn from the headlines, are the focus of Humanities NOW panels, convened to offer thoughtful perspectives from UW humanities faculty on breaking issues. The suicide of a Rutgers University student spurred a discussion of the history, politics, and rhetoric of bullying, particularly of queer youth. The imprisonment of a Marine Corps Pfc (for turning documents over to WikiLeaks) drew hundreds to hear UW faculty weigh in on whistleblowing, journalistic ethics, U.S. paranoia, and restricted access to information. And a panel of faculty discussing the Occupy movement brought out a diverse crowd, from participants in the Madison version of that movement to impassioned students, area journalists, and community activists.
Humanities NOW panel discussions offer a rare opportunity for community members and faculty to sift and winnow together, in the time-honored tradition of the University of Wisconsin, offering deeper insights and perspectives not found in general media coverage of disturbing, urgent events.