John K. Roth, the Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, and founding director of The Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights at CMC, has been elected to serve a four-year term on the board of directors of the Federation of State Humanities Councils, the national association of the state humanities councils affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Roth was selected from a number of candidates during a national search and will serve as an academic member of the board. He assumed his position on the board at the 2009 National Humanities Conference in Omaha, Neb., an annual gathering organized by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. Because of his appointment, Roth also became a member of the governing board of Humanities Washington, in Washington state.
Roth previously served as chair for two terms on the board of the California Council for the Humanities. He says his years of teaching at Claremont McKenna piqued his interest in what is sometimes called "public humanities," a reference to the important role that humanities education, research, and programming can play in the everyday lives of citizens.
Roth's goal for his term on the Federation's board will be to support humanities initiatives that can deepen American understanding "of the most important values that bind us together as a people, and that can help to bridge the divisions that are presently so counterproductive in American life."
Last April, Roth spoke at the California State Assembly's annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, emphasizing the significance of survivors and liberators alike during current "hard times," including a worldwide economic downturn, wars, and humanitarian crises.
"My experience as a professor at CMC helped me to see the importance for the humanities in public life," he says. "And my interests in ethics, religion, and Holocaust and genocide studies made me feel that I might be able to contribute to humanities education beyond the academy."
The Federation of State Humanities Councils, founded in 1977, is the membership association of 54 state councils. Through its program of research, conferences, collaborative projects, and communication to members, legislators, and others on issues of public interest, it provides support for the state humanities councils and strives for greater awareness of the humanities in public and private life. Tiffany Williams '05