Monica Boyd is the Humanities Lab's Program Coordinator, Sr. The Lab is an experimental space in which interdisciplinary faculty teams work with students from a variety of academic and cultural backgrounds to work on complex, critical social issues like how we respond to natural disasters, immigration, and sexual violence. Why a Humanities Lab? Because these challenges can't be solved through science, law, or technology alone. These challenges are deeply entwined with human ideas, beliefs, assumptions, traditions, and values. Humanities research provides the histories, cultural contexts, and value considerations that are embedded within the social challenges facing us and missing from other disciplinary work related to these issues. Mixing the humanities with other disciplines teaches students to consider multiple ways of approaching a problem through inquiry rather than mastering content. Plus, students get to work with faculty researchers and research librarians to mentor them in the process.
Monica Boyd defended her dissertation, "Dismembering Rape Culture: Exposing Ghosts SexualViolence from London, 1870-1890" in March 2020. The dissertation examined narratives of violence against women, when thought to be committed by men, to ascertain how the Victorians in this period understood sexual violence. Boyd's study analyzed Victorian newspaper articles of adult female murder and dismemberment cases. While there are too many cultural difference to assume any key continuities between then and now, there do exist systemic forces that haunt us in complicated ways. Boyd's dissertation helped make the spectre of sexual violence more visible by elucidating the history of a period that is consider foundational to many of today's myths about sexual violence.
For more on the Humanities Lab, visit http://humanities.lab.asu.edu