Michael Patrick Lynch
Director (on sabbatical leave through January 2021)
Michael Patrick Lynch is a writer and the Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, where he directs the Humanities Institute. He is the author or editor of seven books, including, In Praise of Reason: Why Rationality Matters for Democracy, Truth as One and Many, The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data. and the New York Times Sunday Book Review Editor’s pick, True to Life. Michael is also the recipient of the Medal for Research Excellence from the University of Connecticut’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Lynch has held grants from the John Templeton Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Bogliasco Foundation among others. A frequent contributor to the New York Times “The Stone” weblog, Lynch lectures widely, including at TEDx, Chautauqua, and South by Southwest. In 2013, he authored an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the ACLU’s federal case against the NSA. His latest book Know-It-All Society: Truth and Arrogance in Political Culture was released in August 2019.
Alexis L. Boylan
Alexis L. Boylan is the director of academic affairs of the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) and an associate professor with a joint appointment in the Art and Art History Department and the Africana Studies Institute. She is the author of Visual Culture (MIT Press, 2020), Ashcan Art, Whiteness, and the Unspectacular Man (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017), co-author of Furious Feminisms: Alternate Routes on Mad Max: Fury Road(University of Minnesota, 2020), editor of Thomas Kinkade, The Artist in the Mall (Duke University Press, 2017), and editor of the forthcoming Ellen Emmet Rand: Gender, Art, and Business (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020). She has published in American Art, Archives of American Art Journal, Boston Review, Journal of Curatorial Studies, and Public Books.
Her next book focuses on the art created for the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City and how art and science antagonize and inspire cultural dialogues about truth and knowledge.
Acting Director of Academic Affairs
Assistant Director of Digital Humanities and Media Studies
Yohei Igarashi is assistant director of Digital Humanities and Media Studies at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute and an associate professor of English. He is the author of The Connected Condition: Romanticism and the Dream of Communication (2019). His articles have appeared in New Literary History, Romantic Circles, and Studies in Romanticism, the last receiving the Keats-Shelley Association of America annual essay prize in 2015. His current projects are on topics including the datafication of literary works and the history of the relation between high school and collegiate literary studies.
Jo-Ann Waide has been Program Coordinator at the Humanities Institute since its founding in 2001. She is also a grant manager for the Institute’s Humility and Conviction in Public Life program. She earned a Masters of Arts degree from UConn’s Communication Sciences department and a Bachelor of Sciences in Communication Disorders from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Before coming to UConn she completed interpreter training at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and worked as a free-lance sign language interpreter in Western Massachusetts. After graduate school, Jo-Ann was employed as a grant manager for a collaborative project between the American School for the Deaf (ASD) and the CT Department of Children and Families. At the conclusion of the grant, she was hired as a school administrator at ASD where she served on the senior management team for several years. She has lived in Storrs long enough to witness the transformation of Storrs to the Downtown Partnership from the small town center consisting of the Universal grocery, Phil’s five-and-dime store, Farr’s Sporting Goods, and the Cup O’ Sun restaurant.
Nasya Al-Saidy is the fiscal officer of the NEHC and financial coordinator of the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute. She is a Ph.D. candidate in the Economics department at the University of Connecticut. Her research focus is on Environmental Economics and Microeconomics. At the University of Massachusetts Boston, her thesis explored the cost-effectiveness of phytoremediation to reduce brownfield pollution in Boston’s low-income urban areas. Her current work seeks to extend and improve upon the game theoretic models used within the emissions permit market. She is currently serving as a financial coordinator for the Humanities Institute and fiscal officer for the Humility and Conviction in Public Life Project. Nasya is currently President of the Association of Graduate Economics Students and a senator in the Graduate Student Senate.
Elizabeth Della Zazzera
Elizabeth Della Zazzera is a historian of modern Europe and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016, and comes to the Humanities Institute after spending two years as ACLS/Mellon public fellow and digital producer at the magazine of history and ideas Lapham’s Quarterly. Her scholarship focuses on how ideas move on the ground—how their method of transmission and dissemination affects the ideas themselves—with a particular emphasis on the intellectual history of material texts and urban environments in revolutionary and post-revolutionary France. Her current book project explores the role of the periodical press, the theatre, and literary sociability in the bataille romantique: the conflict between romantics and classicists. It argues that this public conflict—in the press, on the stage, and in salons—helped to consolidate and define each genre. She is also working on a project about the relationship between new urban technologies and ideas in pre-Haussmann Paris. In her position as a research associate, Elizabeth will also serve as UCHI and NEHC’s social medial strategist, communications coordinator, and web designer.