Illustrative image for Humanities Research Initiative

Humanities Research Initiative

Principal Investigator: Erik Parens

Funder: National Endowment for the Humanities and private donors

The Hastings Center Initiative in Bioethics and the Humanities, begun in 2017, is a major research program to enlarge and deepen The Hastings Center’s core commitment to humanities-based scholarship in bioethics and to nurture future leaders in this area. The initiative is supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities challenge grant.

A component of the initiative is the Rice Family Postdoctoral Fellowship in Bioethics and the Humanities, awarded to an early-career humanities scholar selected through a national competition.

The 2020-2022 Rice Family Postdoctoral Fellow in Bioethics and the Humanities was Liz Bowen. Bowen does work at the intersection of disability studies, the environmental humanities, and bioethics. Her work explores how literature and the arts can help us better understand the possibilities for coalition between disability and interspecies justice.

The inaugural Postdoctural Fellow (2017-2019) was Joel Michael Reynolds.

The first theme of the initiative was “The Gift and Weight of Genomic Knowledge.” It included The Gift and Weight of Genomic Knowledge: In Search of the Good Biocitizen, a conference sponsored by The Hastings Center and Brooklyn Law School’s Center for Health, Science and Public Policy, cosponsored by Columbia University’s Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics and Harvard Medical School’s Center for Bioethics.