Emphasizing critical perspective and imaginative response, the humanities...foster creativity, appreciation of our commonalities and our differences, and knowledge of all kinds.

-- American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Heart of the Matter


On Okihiro’s TWS

Quite directly Gary Y. Okihiro’ piece touches on Ferguson’s discussion on incorporation and the archive, as an institutional mechanism for exercising power. Okihiro offers thus an explicit example of a power dynamic in which liberation is substituted for a mainstream and celebratory notion of freedom, a concept that is rife in contradictions but that somehow [Read More]


Archives for what?

Last week we discussed the history of the university and its relationship to building the nation-state, expanding capitalism, and US neocolonial and imperial powers.  Ferguson and Neufield look inward to the US in order to explore how the university as an institution, the privatization of the university and knowledge, the commodification of higher education, the rise and [Read More]


Public Scholarship, Why Now?

As a budding Black scholar, public and community-based scholarship, is not something that I think about, but more or less just do. While completing my M.A. thesis I had a critical moment in my development where I asked myself, “if my Nana can’t understand my work and its purpose, what am I doing?” Moreover, my [Read More]


On Archives of Feeling

The second set of readings on archival power and normative technologies of absorption place racial and social minority groups as examples of how liberatory grassroots movements become, to a degree, depoliticized by their inclusion into archiving institutions of the nation-state. In doing so, a genealogy of power within American universities is presented as an articulation [Read More]


Scholars in Crisis

After completing the readings for week 1, I have a clearer understanding of the objectives, goals, and purposes of public humanities and scholarship of engagement. Although the authors stress the importance of thinking of conceptual definitions as a process rather than monolithic theoretical structures, they insist on developing a new epistemology that combines humanistic inquiry [Read More]


What to expect from a seminar for public scholarship?

What is public scholarship or community-engaged scholarship? What can this engagement look like? What counts as ‘giving back’ or establishing reciprocal relationships with the communities we study? These are all difficult questions to answer that I have grappled with and tried to disentangle. I am excited to be part of this year’s cohort of Mellon [Read More]


The Nebulous In Between

  Thinking about the readings for the week in relation to my project, made me think critically of the role of archives. Its noteworthy to me that both Newman and Guzman referenced Michel Rolph-Trouillot’s classic piece Silencing the Past. Especially because a running theme through the readings is this question of power and privilege and [Read More]

Alana Stein

The Role of the University in Knowledge Production

What is knowledge and who creates it? How is knowledge different from scholarship? These are questions that I have been grappling with over the past week, following our class discussion and as I went through this week’s readings. For me, an important distinction exists between knowledge and scholarship – the role of the university is [Read More]


Space in the Archive: Decolonizing Critical Scholarship

This week, the readings for class focused on issues related to the role of universities, archives and interdisciplinary studies as critical scholarship. The idea that public scholarship is outside of the realm of critical scholarship has never occurred to me. As I read Guzman’s article, I thought about how public history is inherently a collaborative [Read More]


Why do universities exist?

In following from last week’s discussion on scholarship, this week’s readings focused on the role of Universities.  Do they have a responsibility to promote and pursue public good beyond the accrual of knowledge, especially in this era of rampant Capitalism in which inequalities abound and the gaps between social strata are larger than ever before? [Read More]


Reactions to Readings: Rethinking the Archive

This week, our readings examined the idea of the “archive”–its meaning as an institution and as a social formation, ways to expand what constitutes an archive, and, consequently, how to move away from the colonial archive. I am struck by the effort to trace the “archive” back to (and subsequently disentangle it from) its ancient eurocentric [Read More]


Public Scholarship: Defining Boundaries

This has been a week of reflecting on definitions and their larger implications: “Scholarship”? “Public”? “Community”? “Humanities”? “Engagement”? Our discussions, writings and reading have all pondered over the problem and opportunity of words and their meanings. More gradually than I would care to admit, it dawned on me that definitions make boundaries, they define the [Read More]

Rachel Reeves

FAQ: Mellon Public Scholars Program 2017

Frequently Asked Questions   So you want to apply to the Mellon Public Scholars Program. Great! Below we have answered some of our frequently asked questions. Please also take a look at our call for proposals and contact our program manager, Rachel Reeves with any questions: rlreeves@ucdavis.edu.   Applications are due January 4, 2017 by [Read More]

Rachel Reeves

Update: Interactive Map of Akwesasne Mohawk Territory

From 2016 Public Scholar, Loren Michael Mortimer Niawen: Saying Thank You For Mohawks, the importance of history begins with the Ohenten Kariwatekwen. While Ohenten Kariwatekwen translates into English as “The Thanksgiving Address,” the literal Mohawk rendering means “the thing we say before everything else.” When Mohawks recite this ancient greeting, they express gratitude to one [Read More]

Rachel Reeves

Update: Voices from a Mexican Women’s Prison

Voices from a Mexican Women’s Prison (We Tell Our Stories Through these Walls) Audrey Harris from UCLA sent in this update about her project: This summer, I headed to the Yucatán to teach and document a creative writing workshop in the women’s area of a prison (known as a Cereso, or Center for Social Reinsertion) [Read More]

Rachel Reeves

Update: The Maya Music Project

Two realizations brought Jared Katz to a central valley elementary school with a 3D printer and a handful of Google Cardboard virtual reality viewers: First: Even though many school children in the U. S.  have family in Mesoamerica and South America, the history of Mayan, Incan, and Aztec cultures often takes a back seat to lessons on [Read More]

Yessica Garcia

Ready, Set, Go!

My public scholar project Mariposa de Barrio is part of my dissertation research which examines the ways in which late singer Jenni Rivera’s fans, remember her locally (Long Beach, CA), transnationally (Mexico), and through cyber culture (YouTube and social media). I am interested in the intersections of music as a day-to-day listening practice in both digital [Read More]

Jennifer Sedell

Camaraderie in the Field

As I head into the field, I know I am not alone. Several overlapping circles of community come with me: the cohort of Mellon Public Scholars, staff and faculty mentors at UC Davis, and a community partner I trust. It has been enormously educational to hear how my cohorts are navigating both the logistics of [Read More]

Maggie Bell

Asking the Right Questions

It has been interesting to watch my questions change since the beginning of the Public Scholar seminar–both expanding, and becoming more focused. I have encountered many questions that I realized I hadn’t yet addressed in a rigorous way upon entering this program. For instance, our initial question “what is a public?”, made me consider more [Read More]

Michele Brewster

Into the field

I am already busy, working on research for the museum exhibition here in Southern California. I do feel much more prepared. The MOU process was especially helpful and productive, so I am grateful that assignment was in place. I am using nozbe.com in order to organize my tasks (Thank you, Cleve Justis!). That tool is [Read More]