An interdisciplinary look into where we come from—and where our world is going.

A mythical hero, a body of texts, an ancestral language, an accident, a set of principles, a tool, a technique, or a group of objects from which fields of inquiry develop and grow: how did it all begin? Origins encourages a detailed and critical reflection of the social, historical, political, and cultural contexts that inform our understanding of who we are as humans, where we come from, and the trajectory we choose to follow in an increasingly interconnected global landscape.

2017-2018 Courses

Origins Courses

2017 – 2018

These courses are designed to foster inquiry into a variety of subjects: astronomy, cultural foundations, artistic practices, environmental studies, evolution, gender and sexuality, history and historical archives, language, literary sources, national and ethnic identities, race, and religion.

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Origins events

Next Event

August 2, 2021

12:00 a.m.,


Theme Co-Sponsors

Shalini Le Gall is an art historian and museum educator with extensive experience in object-based teaching and learning. In her current position as the Curator of Academic Programs at the Colby College Museum of Art, she works with faculty across the College to integrate the museum’s collection into their teaching, assignments, and research, through installations and exhibitions. Le Gall received her Ph.D. in Art History from Northwestern University, specializing in nineteenth-century European art. Her publications include articles on the British Pre-Raphaelite painter William Holman Hunt (1827-1910), and the French photographer Charles Marville (1813-1879), and her research interests extend to photography, transnationalism, orientalism, and postcolonial studies.
Gianluca Rizzo is the Paganucci Assistant Professor of Italian Literature and Language. His research focuses on modern and contemporary macaronic writing, contemporary poetry, theater, and aesthetics. He published numerous articles, poems, and translations, both from English to Italian and vice-versa (in Or, Chicago Review, l’Immaginazione, il Verri, Autografo, Sudi Novecenteschi, etc.). He edited several volumes, including the latest On the Fringe of the Neoavantgarde (Agincourt Press, 2017). Last year, he published his first collection of verse entitled Il lavoro meccanico: Un’apocalisse in quattro tempi (Oédipus, 2016). He is currently finishing a manuscript on the theater of the Italian neo-vant-garde entitled Poetry on Stage.
Arnout van der Meer is an Assistant Professor in History at Colby College. He earned a PhD in history from Rutgers University, specializing in Southeast Asian, colonial, and global and comparative history, after receiving MA degrees from both Leiden University in the Netherlands and Rutgers University in New Jersey. His research explores the importance of material and visual culture, such as dress, architecture, deference rituals, and symbols of power, for both the legitimization of colonial authority as well as its contestation in turn of the twentieth century Indonesia.
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Celebrating the pivotal role of the arts and humanities in the intellectural life of the College and the community.

Students are at the heart of everything the center does; they suggest, shape, and profit from programming; they thrive in humanities labs and courses related to the annual humanities theme; they fulfill their most ambitious dreams through the center’s research grants.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Lake George in Woods, pastel on paper, The Lunder Collection.
© 2017 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Learn how you can shape our programming, thrive in Humanities Labs and courses, and fulfill your most ambitious dreams through the center’s research grants.

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