From the past to the future with HATH

By Tala Alsharif

The 10th annual History Across the Humanities conference at Youngstown State University will take place Feb. 22 through 24 of 2024 at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor. 

The HATH conference was started by YSU students as an opportunity for students to learn from experts in the field of humanities.

The conference is open to students from any university.

History professor Amy Fluker said this year, the YSU history program is partnering with the Department of English and World Languages at YSU and the Trumbull County Historical Society for this year’s HATH theme. 

The theme revolves around science fiction in film, literature and popular culture. It’s called “Understanding the Past, Improving the Present, and Imagining the Future.” 

The Trumbull County Historical Society is building a national science fiction museum in Warren.

The idea for the museum came to be when Warren native John Zabrucky, who had a career in Hollywood making props in the film industry for 30 years, donated all his props and materials to his hometown.

“That’s going to be the heart of the museum in Warren,” Fluker said. “The Trumbull County Historical Society reached out to us that they’re looking for a place to spread in the community that they’re building this museum.”

Fluker said she thought it was a great opportunity to involve the students in the process and introduce them to future work and internship opportunities within the museum. 

“That’s really the intent of this year’s particular theme, to connect our students to that really important local project,” Fluker said.

Guest keynote speakers, such as academic historians and public history professionals, are always invited to the conference, and students can speak about what they’re learning regarding history and the humanities. 

“It was always intended to be interdisciplinary and to bring in as many perspectives on the past as possible,” Fluker said. 

The 2024 HATH Conference will feature multiple guest speakers and among them is Tiffany Knoll from Bowling Green State University, an associate professor who teaches about science fiction and film. 

“[Knoll is] going to do a talk for us related to her research and so that will be one of the highlights of HATH this year for sure,” Fluker said. 

The conference invites students who want to speak at the conference to submit 250-word proposals describing the chosen topic related to the humanities and how they would like to be involved.

Fluker said the conference benefits students by exposing them to the value of history outside the classroom and the variety of career paths within history and the humanities.

“We always make an effort to … feature students but also put them in paths of people that they can network with in history related fields,” Fluker said.

Students interested in learning more about HATH and submitting a proposal can visit its website