J Nicole von Germeten | Interim Associate Dean, Director of the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion

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Currently as Interim Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and as Director of the School of History, Philosophy and Religion since 2017, Nicole von Germeten works hard to increase outreach, access to OSU’s degree programs, and innovate OSU’s curriculum. She inaugurated an African Diaspora-focused speaker series in Fall of 2020. She also led the creation of two new degrees: Applied Humanities which has been recognized by OSU’s 2022 Office of Institutional Diversity State of Diversity Address for Creating an Inclusive University Climate to Support the Retention and Success of All Students and Employees. The second degree program that Prof. von Germeten organized is a Master’s Degree in History which welcomed its first cohort in the Fall of 2021. Lastly, Prof. von Germeten won an OSU E-Campus Research Grant to create a highly interactive class called Crime in History, based on archival case studies from her scholarship, which will first be taught in Fall of 2022.

A specialist in Latin American History, Prof. von Germeten has received funding from the Ford Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the Fulbright Garcia Robles Scholarship and the Muriel McKevitt Sonne Endowment for her doctoral studies at Berkeley. She was a Fellow at the Princeton Center for the Study of Religion in 2004 (Theme: Women and Religion in the African Diaspora) and was affiliated with the Stanford University Center for Latin American Studies in 2008 and 2009.  She has written nearly 100 essays, reviews, and articles for edited volumes, online resources, and academic journals. She has published three single-authored books and one edited book-length translation since 2006 and has three books forthcoming in 2022 and 2023.

Joy Jensen | Research Program Coordinator

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Jensen joined the Center for the Humanities in 2013. She manages the Center's programs, communications, budget and facilities, and organizes events, lectures, and exhibits at the Autzen House. Originally from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, she studied at Centre College in Danville, KY and The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. Jensen is an Oregon Master Naturalist, and interests of note include attending to ecological priorities, good sentences, bad puns, birds, and the game of American football. 


In the stack: 
A World on the Wing: The Global Odyssey of Migratory Birds, Scott Weidensaul
Beloved Beasts, Michelle Nijhuis 
Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World, Barry Lopez
Eternal Night at the Nature Museum, Tyler Barton
Moby Dick, Herman Melville

David Robinson | Director Emeritus 

David Robinson served as Director of the Center for the Humanities from 2001 to 2017. Before retirement, Robinson held the position of Oregon Professor of English, the first endowed professorship in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University. In 1994, he was awarded an OSU Distinguished Professorship. His research has focused on the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau and other authors connected with the New England Transcendentalist movement. From 1988-2008 he was author of the chapter “Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller and Transcendentalism” in American Literary Scholarship, the annual review published by Duke University Press. And from 1989-1998, through grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, he conducted a series of Summer Seminars for School Teachers on the OSU campus that brought U.S and international educators together for intensive studies of Thoreau and American cultural transformation.

Robinson has held research fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in 2010, was elected a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society. His writings include a study of Emerson’s later work, Emerson and the Conduct of Life (Cambridge University Press, 1993), and a study of Thoreau’s work as a naturalist and environmental philosopher, Natural Life: Thoreau’s Worldly Transcendentalism (Cornell University Press, 2004).