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Mellon Faculty Seminar Series

“The faculty seminar creates a space and time for something that has become all too rare in academia: a convivial discussion of ambitious, forward looking ideas and concepts to shape the future today.”

Douglas A. Hicks, Dean of Oxford College


The Mellon Faculty Seminar focuses on intellectual topics related to the history of labor, the evolving workforce, and how forces of the digital age and knowledge work might impact the future of the humanities. The underlying premise of the seminar is that by discussing canonical texts from different disciplines on issues of labor and work will help to understand how the future of labor will radically reshape our society.

Faculty from both Oxford and Emory campuses read, think, and converse freely in order to foster greater faculty engagement, develop new curricula, spark new research and projects which can be pursued in close partnership between the two campuses.

The 2019-2020 Faculty Seminar was led by Deans Elliott and Hicks and engaged 14 faculty participants in six meetings around the theme of Work, Labor, and the Professions. The moderators and participants selected and discussed a range of historical and contemporary texts from multiple fields to explore the themes and the connections of the humanities to the changing global workplace.

To learn more about the topics and readings discussed and view a participant list, please access the seminar syllabus

Tasha Dobbin-Bennett, PhD and Peter Höyng, PhD Mellon Grant Co-Directors

Tasha Dobbin-Bennett, PhD and Peter HöYang, PhD, Mellon Grant Co-Directors


Michael A. Elliott, Dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences

dean hicks

Douglas A. Hicks, Dean of Oxford College

2022-2023 Seminar

The fourth and final seminar will begin in Fall 2022. Watch this space for more details. 

2020-2021 Faculty Seminar

21st Century Labor: The Meanings and Future of Work

The landscape of work today is in profound flux. The 21st century is witnessing a new post-industrial revolution of sorts, with the growth of AI, the outsourcing of skilled, professional work, the evasion of employment protections enabled by tech "disruptors" and  "contract" work, as well as the economic, political, and social precarity heightened by the current pandemic and the growing social justice movements against racism.   At the same time, long-standing patterns of inequity and exploitation along lines of race, gender, and class remain remarkably stable.  How will the future of work unfold and what will its meanings hold for the next generation? What role will the Liberal Arts and Sciences play in this future? These are among the questions posed by the 2020-2021 Mellon Faculty Seminar. Syllabus