The Center for Humanities & the Arts (CHA) concentrated its programming for the 2023 - 2024 academic year on the theme of “Liberty, Freedom, Democracy: The Fight for Ideas.”

Liberty, Freedom, Democracy logo

CHA's official logo for their 2023-24 programming theme "Liberty, Freedom, Democracy: The Fight for Ideas"

These three words —liberty, freedom, democracy — are words associated with the United States, the belief that the US in the guise of “American Dream” imagery and mythology promises to all who come to its shores. In the last decade these words, and all they convey and connote, have also been wielded for political purposes, weaponized rhetorically to suggest that certain people and ideologies are more worthy of being American than others. That certain people belong in the US and are entitled to liberty, freedom, democracy — and everyone else is excluded from these terms and their concepts.

The CHA will investigate what the actual meaning of these terms are. What does “liberty” in the context of US civil rights means, particularly given the erosion of rights that the Supreme Court has been handing down in the last few years? And is it “freedom” to be who you want to be or “freedom” from various oppressions — and who decides what is considered “oppression” vs what is “freedom”? And in a time when democracy, globally, seems under threat — where for the first time in its history the United States was in danger of a peaceful transition of power on January 6, 2021—the question of what makes a nation a “democracy” and who “democracy” is for, are among the considerations that the CHA wishes to take up through this theme.

Spring 2024 Events and Programming:

Graduate Student Arts & Humanities Salon
Wednesday, January 24, 12:15pm - 1:30pm at the Rec Center - Ice Overlook Large Meeting Room

Why Don't You Think Like I Do? Navigating the Space Between Us
Difficult Dialogues: Community Conversations series (partnered with Colorado Chautauqua and their Voices at Chautauqua series)
January 31, 2024, 6pm - 7pm at Community House - Rocky Mountain Climbers Club

The Frontier of Free Speech: Are There Boundaries?
Difficult Dialogues: Community Conversations series (partnered with Colorado Chautauqua and their Voices at Chautauqua series)
February 28, 2024, 6pm - 7pm at Community House - Rocky Mountain Climbers Club

Faculty Celebration of Major Works: Showcase and Magazine Launch
Thursday, February 29, 4pm - 6pm at Norlin Library's CBIS Room M549

Difficult Dialogues: Reparations
March 20, 2024, 12:30pm - 1:45pm at CASE E390, Center for Teaching & Learning
University Libraries Resources Guide:

How to Have Difficult Conversations with Friends and Loved Ones—including talking about Gaza and Israel
Difficult Dialogues: Community Conversations series (partnered with Colorado Chautauqua and their Voices at Chautauqua series)
March 27, 2024, 6pm - 7pm at Community House - Rocky Mountain Climbers Club

Cox Family Process Speaker Series: Gabrielle Calvocoressi
Wednesday, April 17, 5:30pm - 7pm at Norlin Library's CBIS Room M549

Liberty, Freedom, Democracy: Maia Kobabe and Gabrielle Calvocoressi in Conversation
Thursday, April 18, 2024. 4pm - 5:30pm at University Memorial Center (UMC) 235 

Fall 2023 Events and Programming:

Difficult Dialogues: Antisemitism and Being Jewish in the US
September 13, 7pm - 8:30pm at Grace Commons Church
How the event relates to the theme
: The United States prides itself on religious “freedom,” and yet attacks on Jewish people have been all too common throughout human history, and antisemitism is also too common in places like liberal Boulder county. Through our semi-annual Difficult Dialogues event, we will engage in conversation about with the rise of antisemitism in the last decade — a rise that some might say has never disappeared and has resurfaced with events like the march on Charlottesville, the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue, and recent comments by celebrities.

Freedom to Read: Banned Books Week
October 1 - 7, 2023, Social Media Campaign

How the campaign relates to the theme: The CHA brings awareness to book censorship and celebrates freedom of expression by supporting and promoting books that have been banned or challenged during Banned Books Week. We invite people to participate in the campaign by submitted a video recording of themselves either reading aloud from a banned book OR sharing their support and reasons why a specific book should not be banned. Videos are to be featured on the CHA's social media, CHA YouTube Channel, and website.

Children's Book Festival: Banned Book Panel
October 25, 5:30pm - 7:30pm, Boulder Public Library

How the event relates to the theme: The CHA is co-sponsoring a panel on book bans at the Children’s Book Festival, because challenges to books, be they for children, teens, and adults, have risen exponentially over the last five years, especially books that affirm the experiences of LGBTQ+ people and most especially those that positively embrace and celebrate transgender and gender non-binary children, teens, and adults. We ask who has the “liberty” to decide what books children, teens, and adults get to read? Liberty implies choice — and removing the choice of reading material from library shelves, classrooms, and college curricula is distinctly un-democratic, leading us to ask how book challenges and curtailing academic “freedom” has any place in a true “democracy.”

Reparative Faculty Fellowship to Address Settler Colonialism 2024 - 2025
Deadline to Apply: October 1, 2023

How the opportunity relates to the theme: We introduced this Faculty Fellowship to engage in the repair process — because we believe that the acknowledgment of Indigenous land should come with reparations. To that end, we have created a faculty fellowship to address the harm of settler colonialism.