Clemente Course in the Humanities

Empowering people and communities through the humanities

For over 25 years, the Clemente Course in the Humanities (CCH) has created transformative educational experiences for adults facing economic hardship and adverse circumstances. Clemente’s free college humanities courses empower students around the United States to further their education and careers, become effective advocates for themselves and their families, and engage in cultural and political life.

The Program

The New Jersey Council for the Humanities is proud to support CCH in New Jersey through the Clemente Veterans’ Initiative Newark (CVI Newark), a free college course in the humanities operating in partnership with Rutgers University-Newark.

The 16-week course, open to Newark-area veterans and military-connected civilians, offers an opportunity for adult learners to explore themes of war and reconciliation through literature, art, history, and philosophy.

  • The course is offered free of charge to participants
  • Books and course materials are provided
  • Transferable college credit is available from Bard College

The Impact

CVI Newark, now in its third year, is a part of a national initiative developed in 2014 by the Clemente Course in the Humanities to provide a meaningful intellectual community to veterans and military-connected civilians.

CVI Newark courses have included veterans of the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy, and National Guard, as well as friends and family members of service members. Students overwhelmingly report positive experiences and praise the course for building a sense of community.

For Jonathan Ruiz, a U.S. Navy Veteran who graduated from CVI Newark in 2020, the experience was one of resonance and healing.

“It really allowed me to process some of my experiences by reading about others’ experiences in different time periods, analyzing different artworks, and having discussions with my classmates,” he said. “This class stretched my mind.”

The Class

the class will be led by an academic director, Charity Anderson, and a faculty member, Lance Thurner. A peer facilitator will also help lead class discussion and offer support. Each evening typically begins with check-ins and a writing exercise.

The reading list is wide-ranging, but texts from the current and previous courses include:

And yes, it’s really free of charge! This class is made possible by a grant from NJCH. Additional support for CVIN comes from an educational justice grant provided by Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice and a seed grant from the Chancellor’s Impact Program, both at Rutgers University-Newark.

For more information about the course, please visit the CVI Newark page ( or contact CVIN’s Academic Director, Dr. Charity Anderson, at

Lance Thurner, PhD

Faculty Member

Lance C. Thurner (PhD Rutgers, 2018) is currently an adjunct professor in the History Department of Rutgers University-Newark. He is deeply involved in exploring how tools of the digital humanities can be used and repurposed to achieve feminist, decolonial, and anti-racist teaching goals. For examples of his pedagogical projects and his students’ work, see Empire’s Progeny: Race and Imperialism in the Americas and its sister project, States of Belonging: Citizenship, Identity, and Globalization in Modern Latin America.

Professor Thurner’s research and writing address knowledge production, political subjectivities, and racial and national identities in eighteenth and nineteenth-century Mexico. He is host of the podcast "New Books in Science, Technology, and Society," for which he interviews authors of new works that speak to the methods and politics of applying a global perspective to the history of science and medicine and the role of the humanities in the age of the Anthropocene. Learn more about Professor Thurner at:

Lance Thurner, PhD