How did you end up in the humanities non-profit line of work?
The humanities have been a major part of my educational/professional life since birth. Back in grade school, I naturally excelled in the various humanities disciplines and was awful in the sciences. This didn’t prevent me from initially majoring in business in college. I quickly came to my senses -- thanks to poor grades -- and eventually earned a BA in English from the University of Texas.
When I entered my doctoral program in Folklore & Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, I debated whether I wanted to enter the academic world or the public sector. I already had a deep appreciation for public humanities because my father worked in that world for much of my childhood. This appreciation increased as I went deeper into my program. In 2011, I received some experience in public programming through a co-sponsored fellowship with the Houston Arts Alliance and Houston Museum of African American Culture. Though I enjoyed writing, research, and presenting at conferences, those feelings did not compare to joy I received from staging a successful public program. By the end of my graduate career, I was firmly committed to a career in the public humanities.
What do you like (so far) about working for Humanities Tennessee?
I love that we create programs that are both enriching and accessible. Everyone at HT appears dedicated to the public humanities and that really shows in the work we do. Plus, everyone is so lively. It’s a fun place to work.
What do you do for fun?
Reading, listening to hip hop, watching teen and family dramas on television, and consuming all things true crime related. Also, pretty big sports fan. I watch/read everything involving the Houston Rockets, Houston Astros, Houston Texans and Texas Longhorns...oh, and the Indiana Hoosiers.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I don't like driving. I would walk everywhere if that was possible. However, I have a bit of a problem walking into things. I've walked into poles and walls. Recently, while at the mall, I confused a glass window for a glass door and attempted walk into it. The result was a terribly bloody mess. But, hey, I survived!
Why/how are the humanities important in your life?
The humanities is my life. It influences my sense of self, my morals, and my understanding of the world. It also allows me to engage with peoples, places, and ideas that I would otherwise have little to no access to.
Humanities Tennessee is pleased to welcome Langston to our team. Please say 'hi' the next time you see him!