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.
Apply now >

Plan and Promote Your Event
Start publicizing your lecture as soon as you receive notice of Council funding approval.
View Planning Tips >

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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Explore lectures in Religion, Ethics, and Philosophy this holiday season

Race, Class and Violence: The New York Draft Riots of 1863

Durahn Taylor
The Civil War Draft Riots revealed New York's racial and class divisions and a violent opposition to the causes of Union and emancipation.

Frankenstein Lives! The Continuing Relevance of Mary Shelley's Novel

Timothy J. Madigan
Although written almost 200 years ago, Mary Shelley 's "Frankenstein" remains relevant today. The story of a man obsessed with creating artificial life, it eerily echoes today's discussions on fetal tissue research, life-extension, robots, and human cloning.

Browse new We the People lecture topics

The Amazing Nineteenth Century: A Century of Innovation

J. Ward Regan
This talk focuses on the development of specific innovations in the nineteenth century and examines how they formed the core of the industrial transformation of American society. The different subjects covered link the material transformation of the world with new ideas about society and government.

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.