Humanistic Studies


Moses Jeune, MICA Class of 2020, winner of the Ginsberg Prize for Poetry for 2020

The Humanistic Studies Department is pleased to announce the winner of the Ginsberg Prize for Poetry for 2020, which w was judged this year by faculty member, Unique Robinson. About Moses's entry, Unique said this,

"Moses Jeune describes their poetry as "another extension of my imagery and emotional evocation". The collection is centered in their home state of Florida, a tale of their ever shifting, and often wrenching experiences in becoming. Their poem, "Brad's Honey", zooms the reader directly into a sea of sweat-sweltering anxieties of navigating social scenes, unspoken implicit policies, and eventual surrender to the all too familiar pain of dismissal, amidst a space of "belonging". Each stanza of the poem creates another layer to unpack, drawing up literary and literal contradictions of feeling alone while being fully surrounded, yet never fully seen. The last stanza, "Is it ever worth the one night of hoping for false affection / to step out to places / that'll always grin / when saying no?" hovered unanswered, displaying the vulnerability that we all attempt to stifle."

Thank you to all the applicants for your excellent entries and congratulations to Moses!


Study Freud with Firmin in the Summer

June 8, 2020 to July 3, 2020 | Monday, Wednesday, Friday | 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM | Firmin DeBrabander | Credits: 3.00 | Link to sign up here:

This course offers a chance for in-depth study of an influential 20th-century thinker. 

Readings from: The Interpretation of Dreams, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious Moses and Monotheism, Totem and Taboo, Beyond the Pleasure Principle

Ginsberg Prize for Poetry Call for Entries 2020

VIRTUAL 4U on the 4th

Thanks to everyone for participating.

Here is a video of the event. There's a slight glitch when the moderator's cat turned off the video, but other than that, it was great. 

MICA Pets with Sophie Wiggles and Louise Cracknell from Student Affairs

LRC Academic Coaches Rebekah and Thea shared about Adapting Studio Practice at Home

Keri Watley from Wellness shared EYE and BACK stretches for those of us staring at screens too much (guilty!)

HMST first semester Senior Saloni Shah shared her THESIS work

Nurse Cat from the Student Health Center shared tips about stopping the spread of COVID-19 

Soheila Ghaussy, HMST faculty,  read two original POEMS

Vicky Pass from Art History shared their online resources

Andrea Regenberg from Student Counseling shared a MEDITATION technique

View the Resources Tab to view 4U on the 4th documents and links and more items from the event!

Hi everyone. Follow us on IG and Twitter with our new thread #MICALibrariesAtHome 

Create your own entry and share your home library with us!

Eglute Trinkauskaite recently presented at the American Academy of Religion conference in San Diego, California.
1) Indigenous Religious Traditions
Theme:  Indigenous Muertos/Death Traditions of Mexico and Lithuania 

The dead are seen as important, active members in many indigenous communities; on some views, attending to relationships with dead relatives is a distinctive mark of indigenous religious practice. The papers in this panel considered both indigenous understandings of death and the dead and indigenous celebrations of the dead in three rather distinct settings: the vėlės (spirits of the dead) in the ancient Baltic region, Día de los Muertos celebrations in Mexico and among Mexicans elsewhere, and the Día de los Muertos in the context of an ethnographic museum (the Peabody Museum, Harvard). The papers examined indigenous ontologies, the psycho-spiritual consequences of ritual behavior, and the problematic and changing dynamics of ethnographic representation, especially in a context in which the people represented are themselves having greater presence and voice.  Eglute Trinkauskaite (Humanistic Studies) presented on "The Ecology of the Living Dead in Ancient Baltic Worldview.” Yuria Celidwen (Pacifica Graduate Institute) presented on "Día de Muertos: Ethics of Belonging and Rituals of Love” and Natalie Solis (Harvard)  on “Día de los Muertos in Boston: Indigenous Religious Celebrations at Harvard’s Peabody Museum.”  Seth Schermerhorn (Hamilton College) responded to the presentations. 


2)  Art/s of Interpretation: Science, Symbol, and Society
Epistemological Reassessments: Theoretical, Paradigmatic, and Practical Implications

Science and religion panel explored different and alternate ways various cultures have construed the acquisition of knowledge and its relationship to the created order--different and alternative to the familiar paradigms we have inherited from the binary of the Enlightenment Science and Religion. This particular session will be devoted to discussion of issues related to the theoretical and practical implications of a scientific worldview on the forms and structures of society. Eglute Trinkauskaite (Humanistic Studies) presented on "The Magic and Science of Lithuanian Healing Charms” along with  Elana Jefferson-Tatum (Tufts University),  Philip P. Arnold (Syracuse University),  Thomas Csordas (University of California, San Diego), and David Carrasco (Harvard University).

HMST Course with Dr. Mel in Spring 2020

IHST Class with Dr. Mel Lewis in Spring 2020 

IHST Course with Jeanette Gerrity Gomez in Spring 2020

Elizabeth Wagenheim and Jeanette Gerrity Gomez recently presented in Querétaro, Mexico at the MEXTESOL 46th International Conference of English Language Teachers. They presented on their initiatives in the English language supported first year humanistic studies classes to introduce extensive reading as a strategy for increased academic success at MICA.


Read our FALL 2019 Humanistic Studies Newsletter here.

Faculty in Focus

HMST at the Forum

SVA Spotlight

Upcoming Events

Hard copies available on the 4th Floor of the Bunting Center.

HMST Professor Ruth E. Toulson is at the University of Bath, England, to share her research on death and dying in Singapore. The conference, Death, Dying and Disposal, brings together scholars from more than 30 countries. 

Read more about the conference here:

Ruth is pictured here with Professor Tamara Kohn, University of Melbourne, Australia, part of the Death Tech research group.

You can reach Ruth at 

Professor and author Mikita Brottman has been shortlisted for the ALCS Gold Dagger Award for Non Fiction for her most recent book “An Unexplained Death” published by Canongate books. The winner will be announced on October 24th in London. If you haven't read the book, find it here: and more info on the awards here:

Dr. Mel Lewis (she/her/they/them) is thrilled to join the Humanistic Studies faculty at MICA! Originally from Bayou La Batre, on the Alabama Gulf Coast, Dr. Mel has called Baltimore home for almost twenty years and comes to MICA from nearby Goucher College where their roles included Associate Professor of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (WGS) and Africana Studies (AFR) and Director of the Center for Geographies of Justice. Previously, Dr. Mel was Associate Professor and Director of Ethnic Studies at Saint Mary’s College of California.   Dr. Mel’s recent publications and research include, “Communicating Variations of Blackness: An Intersectional Trans and Intersex Africana Studies Perspective” (Communication Teacher 2018), “Transcending the Acronym, Traversing Gender: A Conversation in the Margins of the Margins” (Women and Language 2019), and their forthcoming book project, Femme Query: Politics, Pleasure, and Queer of Color Pedagogies, engaging queer social justice educators, activists, cultural workers, and artists who articulate the power and possibility of femme liberatory praxis. Dr. Mel serves on the Baltimore Mayor’s LGBTQ Commission as member of the Education Committee and the Baltimore Public Library Enoch Pratt LGBTQ advisory board. Dr. Mel completed their M.A. and Ph.D. in Women’s Studies in the subject area of Bodies, Genders, and Sexualities at the University of Maryland, College Park. They hold an M.S. in Women and Gender Studies with a Public Policy concentration from Towson University and a B.A. in Women’s Studies and Sociology from Goucher College.   This semester they are teaching LIT 368 Queer Literature and Theory and LIT 330 Trans/feminism. Their office hours this semester are Tuesdays 12-1pm and Wednesdays 3-4pm in B427. Dr. Mel can be reached via email:

Welcome back to our returning students! And so nice to meet you to our new first year students! We are looking forward to an outstanding fall semester with you. Be sure to take some time to find your professors' offices and mark your calendars join our department on September 4th next week for 4U on the 4th, a Liberal Arts/Wellness event. 

Joe Basile, long time faculty member in Art History, Theory, and Criticism,  as well as most recently the former Associate Dean of Liberal Arts, passed away in June 2019, after a year long course of treatment for a brain tumor. The college plans for a memorial service in the near future. More information on this memorial will follow as it becomes available. 

From his obituary:  On June 15, 2019, Joseph John Basile, beloved husband of Monica Sylvester and devoted father of Nicholas Basile and Emma Basile, passed away following nearly a year of treatment for a brain tumor. Joe is survived by his wife, children, mother Lisa Basile and brother John (Lisa) Basile. He was a dear son in law of Daniel & Mary Sylvester, and brother in law of Janine (Scott) Lill, Susanne (Christopher) Falcone and Joseph (Lindsey) Sylvester. He will be missed by his nieces and nephews, Brian Lill, Michael Falcone, Samantha Lill, Robby Basile, Mia Falcone, Sara Basile and Matthew Falcone. Joe was preceded in death by his father Joseph Basile.

Joe was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He attended Our Lady of Angels School and was a 1983 graduate of Xavarian High School in Brooklyn. Joe graduated Magna Cum Laude from Boston University with a degree in Archaeological Studies in 1987. He completed his Doctorate in Old World Archaeology and Art from Brown University in 1992. Joe has been a professor of Art History at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) since 1994. He served as Associate Dean of Liberal Art from 2011 to 2018. Joe acted as the Associate Director of the Brown University excavations of the Great Temple at Petra Jordan. He also excavated sites in Corfu, Greece, Rome, and Cetamura, Italy. 

Joe enjoyed traveling and, with his family, visited London, Paris, Florence, Rome, Budapest, Cairo, Amman, Istanbul and last summer San Francisco. He also enjoyed cooking, the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and Jane Austen, collecting flags, visiting museums, Pokémon Go, and rooting for New York sport teams.

Most of all Joe loved and was loved by his family. He was dedicated to his children. He always supported and celebrated their interests and accomplishments. He will be dearly missed.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 am on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at St. Mary of the Assumption, 5502 York Road, Baltimore, MD 21212. Visitation will precede the mass at the church from 10:00 am.-11:00 am. An account has been created for the education of his children and donations may be made in lieu of flowers to the Joseph Basile Childrens Fund, c/o Sun East Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 2231, Aston, PA 19014.!/Obituary

The Humanistic Studies department is pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Ginsburg Prize for Poetry,  Sarah Purnell, '19. 

Department faculty member judge, Elizabeth Wagenheim, said of Sarah’s poems that they, “…are driven by internal rhyme and steer the reader through the mundane of the every day to fresh unexpected imagery.”

Sarah’s writing and drawings explore identity, and the ways we navigate social order, relationship dynamics, and psychological spaces. After graduating from the General Fine Arts program, she intends to develop her studio practice and pursue a career in curatorial studies. Please follow Sarah’s work on Instagram at @a_sentimental_lady or

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