Inside Scoop Events

Inside Scoop events bring University of Illinois undergraduates from any major into close conversation about humanities and arts-related topics with distinguished Illinois faculty and visiting scholars.

By creating opportunities for the exchange of ideas in a casual setting, scholars and artists can share with students the great moments of discovery, creativity, and excitement that fuel their research and their ongoing commitment to their work at the university and in the outside world. Intended for students from across the campus, Inside Scoop conversations invite Illinois undergraduates to engage with the vibrant developments and exciting work conducted by scholars whose work helps us understand what it means to be human in a world of rapidly shifting global complexities.

Fall 2022  

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Kirsten Ostherr headshot

Kirsten Ostherr

Thursday, November 3 at Noon

HRI is proud to partner with Campus Honors and the Honors Living Learning Community to offer their students a lunch conversation with Professor Ostherr, as part of their “Lunch and Learn” series. For additional information about this event, please contact Campus Honors. 


About the Speaker

Kirsten Ostherr, Kirsten Ostherr, PhD, MPH is the Gladys Louise Fox Professor of English at Rice University in Houston, Texas, where she is a media scholar, health researcher, and technology analyst. Her research on trust and privacy in digital health ecosystems has been featured in Slate, The Washington Post, Big Data & Society, and Catalyst. She has recently published research on medical humanities and artificial intelligence in The Journal of Medical Humanities, and her writing on COVID-19 has been featured in Inside Higher Ed and in American Literature. She is currently leading a multidisciplinary project called "Translational Humanities for Public Health" that will identify humanities-based (and humanities-inspired) responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, to document and help others build upon these creative efforts.

This event is part of the Medical Humanities Residency, made possible by a gift from Dr. Dan Shin ('91). 

Spring 2023  

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Headshot of NIkky Finney

Nikky Finney

Wednesday, April 19 at Noon

Location: Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center (1212 W Nevada St., Urbana, IL 61801)

At this edition of Food for the Soul/Inside Scoop, enjoy lunch and conversation with Nikky Finney, John H. Bennett, Jr., Chair in Creative Writing and Southern Letters, University of South Carolina. For UIUC undergraduate students of all majors!

About the Speaker

Nikky Finney was born by the sea in South Carolina and raised during the Civil Rights, Black Power, and Black Arts Movements. She is the author of On Wings Made of Gauze; Rice; The World Is Round; and Head Off & Split, which won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2011. Her new collection of poems, Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry, was released from TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press in 2020.

Hosted and Cosponsored by the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, as part of their Food for the Soul series.

Previous Inside Scoop Events

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Professional photo of Lerone Martin

Dr. Lerone A. Martin


About the Speaker

Lerone A. Martin is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and the Martin Luther King, Jr., Centennial Chair and Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. Previously, he was a member of the faculty in the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics and Director of American Culture Studies at Washington University in Saint Louis.

Martin is the author of the award-winning Preaching on Wax: The Phonograph and the Making of Modern African American Religion (New York University Press, 2014). 

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Headshot of Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith

About the Speaker

Tracy K. Smith was appointed the 22nd United States Poet Laureate in 2017. She is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Ordinary Light (Knopf, 2015) and four books of poetry, including her most recent Wade in the Water (Graywolf, 2018). Her collection Life on Mars won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and was selected as a New York Times Notable Book. Duende won the 2006 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and an Essence Literary Award. The Body’s Question was the winner of the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Smith was the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers Award in 2004 and a Whiting Award in 2005. In 2014 the Academy of American Poets awarded Smith with the Academy Fellowship, awarded to one poet each year to recognize distinguished poetic achievement. She is Professor of English and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.

Part of A Year of Creative Writers at Illinois. Supported by the Presidential Initiative to Celebrate the Impact of the Arts and the Humanities.