Center for Humanities, Arts and Technoscience (CHATS)


The Center for Humanities, Arts and Technoscience (CHATS) is a bold interdisciplinary initiative within the College of Arts and Sciences dedicated to promoting the human dimension of scientific and technological discovery and exploring their profound impact on individuals and society.

CHATS is designed to promote exchange between the sciences and the humanities and to serve as a forum providing UAlbany and the wider community with a model of intellectual and aesthetic innovation and outreach.

Operating for over 20 years, CHATS has evolved into a University-wide initiative in which faculty, students, administrators, community members, artists, technology experts and nationally recognized scholars are exploring the boundaries between academic fields and engaged in interdisciplinary programs and performances.

We invite proposals and project ideas from scholars, students and creative artists in all fields.

Our Mission & Vision

The Center's mission is to revitalize the humanities at UAlbany by asserting its critical role in raising issues and questions about the impact of scientific and technological advances.

CHATS seeks to:

  • Develop innovative learning environments and curricula that include incubating new aesthetic and research programs and projects, and fostering research and new emerging knowledge in the areas of science, technology, ethics, aesthetics, media, culture and humanities
  • Encourage exchanges among humanists, scientists, artists, architects, filmmakers, educators, technology experts, business people and the public through in a wide variety of public programs and initiatives
  • Integrate UAlbany’s programs with other regional, national and international resources and initiatives in the humanities
  • Draw on the University's strong profile in the sciences, its independent New York State Writer's Institute and the Center for Advancement in Teaching, Learning, and Online Education (CATLOE) to anchor and transform the humanities through active synthesis with other fields
  • Establish new funding streams to support the arts and humanities in a global culture to enable scholarship and research at the borders where the humanistic disciplines intersect with those of science and technology
  • Transform and expand the humanities into a dynamic cultural legacy that engages in sustained, interactive conversations and programs across disciplines and professions

We welcome participation, partners, research projects, roundtable ideas and seminar topic proposals from all fields.

Donate to CHATS

The Center for Humanities, Arts and Technoscience (CHATS) is dedicated to promoting the exchange between the sciences and humanities and exploring their profound impact on individuals and society.

Our work would not be possible without the support of alumni, parents, friends and faculty — and donations of any size make a remarkable difference.

Donate to CHATS now. Or visit the Giving website to learn about the many ways to give.

Named Giving Opportunities

  • Professorship in the Humanities: Professors who demonstrate on-going intellectual development and leadership in their fields are crucial in furthering the efforts of CHATS. A gift of $1 million would allow us to fund such individuals and continue the growth of our projects.
  • Visiting Scholar or Artist Endowment: Creativity is a big part of what shapes CHATS, and involving new scholars and artists is key to on-going creativity of our Initiative. A gift of $500,000 would allow a Visiting Scholar or Artist to join our team in creating new innovative projects, and expand CHATS' impact.
  • Endowed Lecture Series: Lecture series encourage, inform, and open discussions on a vast array of topics. A gift of $100,000 would support the importance of educating our academic community in Bioethics, Media Studies, Humanities (general), Technology and Ethics, and/or Medicine and the Humanities.
  • Lecture or Program Fund: Lectures and programs are critical in continuing our efforts to educate our academic community, and offer additional educational opportunities for our students. A gift of $2,500 or more would allow the naming of a lecture or program.
  • Sponsored Event: Events encourage our students, faculty and community to experience the efforts of CHATS. A gift between $1,000 and $2,500 would allow us to continue such events.

CHATS Leadership

Mary Valentis
Mary Valentis
Visiting Associate Professor; CHATS Founder & Co-director
Department of English
Humanities 337
Charles Shepherdson
Charles Shepherdson
Professor; CHATS Co-director
Department of English
Humanities 318

Humanities Labs Project


About the Project 

The Humanities Lab Project is an initiative by the Center for Humanities, Arts and Technosciences (CHATS) to revitalize the humanities and create a platform for interdisciplinary study that reflects STEM programs.

This initiative aims to garner student interest and strengthen participation in the humanities. Our goals include: 

  • To provide a more robust sense of academic community for undergraduate students by creating an interdisciplinary area of study in the English department 

  • To develop undergraduate opportunities by initiating presentational collaboration with regional institutions inside and outside the Albany community 

Course Instructors
Additional Collaborators
  • Richard Barney, Department of English  

  • Alexander Dawson, Department of History 

  • Ryan M. Irwin, Department of History 

  • Farhana Islam, Department of English 

  • Rafia Rahman, Department of Anthropology  

  • Lotfi Sayahi, Department of Languages, Literature and Cultures  

  • Niloufer Siddiqui, Department of Political Science 

  • Stephen Soucy, Department of Art and Art History  

  • Zara Zahler, Department of Languages, Literature and Cultures 

  • Amie Zimmerman, Department of English 

Future Plans
  • Investigating student relationship and positive outcomes of artificial intelligence (AI) 

  • Expanding Humanities Labs to more disciplines 

  • Outreach and events

Humanities Labs Courses 

Students enrolled in Humanities Labs courses engage in film festivals, lecture series, author craft talks, artist visits, museum visits, cooking demonstrations and other speaker-centered events.

Read news coverage of the Humanities Labs at UAlbany. Visit the Schedule of Classes for current offerings.

AENG 350: Contemporary Writers at Work

Instructor: Mary Valentis

Spring 2023 Enrollment: 30 students 

Students enrolled in AENG 350 during the Spring 2023 semester attended the following visiting author craft talks, hosted by the New York State Writers’ Institute

AENG 374: Visual Culture

Instructor: Mary Valentis

Spring 2023 Enrollment: 20 students 

Students enrolled in AENG 374 during the Spring 2023 semester analyzed Black Swan, The Phantom Thread and more, and attended the following events and field trips: 

  • Presentation on visual culture at the University Art Museum 

  • Presentation on narrative theory, folklore and the history of the labyrinth by Rae Muhlstock, a lecturer with the Writing & Critical Inquiry Program 

  • Screening of short films by UAlbany alum Stephen Soucy ‘91, followed by a presentation by Soucy on the entertainment and film industry 

  • Presentation on Director David Lynch and his films by Associate Professor of English Richard Barney 

AENG 412: Toxic Families in Literature and Film

Instructor: Mary Valentis

Spring 2023 Enrollment: 15 students 

Students enrolled in AENG 412 during the Spring 2023 semester analyzed Prince of Tides, Silver Linings Playbook and more, and attended the following events and field trips: