Speakers in the Humanities

Launched in 1983, the Speakers in the Humanities program brings the best in humanities scholarship to thousands of people at hundreds of cultural organizations in virtually every corner of New York. Any not-for-profit organization in New York State is eligible to use the program. Speakers events must be open to the public and free of charge. If your application is successful, the Council covers the cost of the Speaker's honorarium and travel expenses.

How to apply to host a lecture

Confirm Your Eligibility
Speakers in the Humanities is available to not-for-profit organizations.
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Select a lecture
Search or browse presentation listings to find the right topic for your audience.
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Contact the Speaker to arrange a date and time
Get in touch with the Speaker you have selected, using his or her listed contact information.
Browse Speaker directory >

Apply to the Council for Funds
Once you have completed steps 1 through 3, apply to the Council for funding.
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Plan and Promote Your Event
Start publicizing your lecture as soon as you receive notice of Council funding approval.
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6. Submit Follow-up Evaluation
Within three (3) weeks of your event, it is required to submit the Host Organization Evaluation to report on aspects of your Speakers event.
Host Organization Evaluation >


Speakers in the Humanities lectures are made possible with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Browse new We the People lecture topics

Thomas Paine and the Flame of Revolution

J. Ward Regan
The lecture recounts the life and writings of Thomas Paine in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Starting with Common Sense and The Crisis Papers, the talk focuses on Paine's role in the American Revolution and the creation of an "American" political ideology.

The American Revolution: Iroquois Indian Perspectives

Laurence M. Hauptman
Pulled by both British and Patriot pressures, the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, Senecas and Tuscaroras were dramatically affected by the war and its consequences. Drawing from oral and archival sources, this lecture presents the war from diverse Iroquois Indian perspectives.

Celebrate African American History Month in February

Harriet Tubman: Myth, Memory, and History

Milton C. Sernett
Harriet Tubman is the most widely recognized icon of the Underground Railroad. This illustrated lecture introduces audiences to the surprising findings of the latest research on her life and the history of how this poor, illiterate woman became a "larger than life" symbol that has inspired many Americans.

Abstract Expressionism and the African American Artist

Jo-Ann Graham
This presentation explores the role of the African American artist in the historic and contemporary world of abstract painting. The program will impart a greater awareness of the breadth of paintings that have been created by African American artists. Too often, the common expectation is that Black artists' paintings are limited to representational works. This perception is often void of an informed awareness of the powerful and critically acclaimed work of Black artists who are abstractionists. The presentation will include consideration of the works of first-generation abstractionists such as Norman Lewis, second-generation abstractionists such as Ed Clark, mid-career artists, and emerging artists.