Georgetown Humanities Initiative

Georgetown Hyperhistory Hub

The Georgetown HyperHistory Hub integrates humanistic forms of historical inquiry with social and hard sciences approaches to history. The study of the human past has been a key area of collaboration across the social and natural sciences, but key concerns from the humanities about human agency, historical contingency, and culture are usually left out of such collaborations. Either there is a lack of representation of disciplines like history, art history, archaeology, or folklore studies in ‘hard science’ research on the human past, or such disciplines are involved only after research questions and methods have been determined.

Playing on the multiple meanings of the Greek prefix ‘hyper,’ we see ‘hyperhistory’ as a form of interdisciplinary scholarship ‘over’ or ‘above’ conventional history in its collaboration with the natural and social sciences but also ‘in defense of’ the contribution of humanistic questions and concerns (from art history, history, literary studies, etc…) in our interdisciplinary approaches to the human past. Rather than simply critique other fields for advancing instrumental or determinist interpretations of our shared human past, we create opportunities for cross-training for scientists and humanists alike. 

Under the auspices of the Georgetown Humanities Initiative, the HyperHistory Hub will offer two new courses for undergraduate and graduate students as well as interdisciplinary bootcamps for graduate students and faculty interested in the historical sciences. Our goal is to create opportunities for training and research that better integrate the particularities of humanities approaches to the past with those of other non-humanities disciplines.

“Support from the Georgetown Humanities Initiative has been transformative for our efforts,” says Prof. Kathryn de Luna, one of the co-directors of the Hyperhistory Hub; she partners with professors John McNeillDagomar Degroot and Timothy Newfield on the project.”