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

Emma Silverman

What Can I Do Over a Summer: Surrendering Expertise

Many of my peers in this program are tackling summer projects that are an extension of their academic research, or of long-term passions volunteering in prisons or running educational programs in schools. My project dropped in my lap when my initial proposal for the Public Scholars program fell through—I had never even heard of Pond [Read More]

Bridget Clark

Mind the Gap!

“A toaster only becomes a toaster when a person plugs it in and pops a piece bread in it” joked one of my community partners in expressing their frustration at the lack of consideration of human and social behavior in many existing evaluations and planning of energy systems and climate adaption strategies. My partners at [Read More]

Loren Michael Mortimer

Planning for a Season; Building for a Lifetime

Among academics, May brings a sense of optimism and excitement about the summer research season ahead. Summer break brings a welcome respite from bluebook exams and offers a chance to do some broken-field running on critical projects. Summer, we tell ourselves, will be the chance to atone for all of the things we did not [Read More]

Chelsea Escalante

What can be accomplished in one summer: The growing to-do list

When I first began envisioning this project, I imagined being able to interview dozens of people—both former volunteers and local Ecuadorians—of hearing about their fascinating experiences and all of the ways in which volunteerism has affected the way that they relate to the world around them. I envisioned pouring over the results, piecing together some [Read More]

Yessica Garcia

Public Scholar Rule #1 “It’s not about you”

For this public scholar project, I am returning to the public library that I attended growing up. I selected this place because I feel that I have a commitment to stay local and work with community members that I grew up with. As Professor Natallia Deeb-Sossa stated at the Public Scholars launch event that took place Winter [Read More]

Cinthya Ammerman

“How to not let corporate university steal your heart”

Last week I attended a two-day symposium that I helped organize for Native American Studies graduate students. Our keynote speaker, Dr. Dian Million, had advice for us: “you have to get strong and fight” she said, “this fight is about how to not let corporate university steal your heart.” Her advice was well timed. In our Mellon [Read More]

Lily Hodges

Some Thoughts on Fiction

We live in a world full of fiction. That is, at least, according to a reporter named Walter Lippmann writing in the 1920s. He coined the term “pseudo-environment” to describe a kind of fiction that people use every day to navigate the nuances of life. The reduced version I’m going with: The stories we tell [Read More]

Jonathan Favero

Exponential Possibilities in Public Engagement

As an artist I am regularly concerned with the audience, or my public. I compose what most would call “classical music,” so it probably goes without saying that my public in that realm is, unfortunately, pretty small, and often not too diverse (i.e., sometimes it’s only other composers).  All of us in the public scholars [Read More]

Jared Katz

Situating the Public: Putting Them First

The goal of this post is to discuss the community with which I will be working in terms of the topics that we have been analyzing in our Public Scholars meetings.I have been looking forward to running this community outreach program for some time (I discuss the overall structure of the program in my first [Read More]

Trisha Barua

Cultivating Transformative Relationships Alongside the Academic Industrial Complex

The academy is designed to fail women of color and domesticate the decolonial politics of ethnic studies. As a woman of color and critical ethnic studies scholar, I’m in a vexed position. Before I can situate my “public” in relation to the academy, I need to explore two ontological questions: Who am I in relation [Read More]

Simon Abramowitsch

The Dream/Nightmare of the Public

Is the declaration “public scholar” a statement of ambition? Is it a dream? A statement of contradiction that either cannot or should not be resolved? For anyone working in the legacy or shadow of ethnic and women’s studies movements–what Roderick Ferguson discusses in The Reorder of Things as the “interdisciplines”—the answer is probably all of [Read More]

Michele Brewster

Part of my own “public” sphere

The public I will address are those whom I can predict such as K-12 instructors and visitors to the Laguna Art Museum. The public I work with also includes those whom I cannot predict or know about at this time. I hope that my future work will do that which Walter Lippman describes as “an [Read More]

Emma Silverman

Amongst the Redwoods: Digital History for Multiple Publics

At Armstrong Redwoods State Park in Guerneville California, tourists crowd a well-marked interpretive nature trail, eagerly marveling at the aged, massive trees. Most are unaware that on the steep hill above them stands a small complex of weathered, wood-paneled buildings. This is Pond Farm, and though it is not as immediately awe-inspiring as the towering [Read More]

Jennifer Sedell

Bending Cal Ag Toward Justice: Audiences, Publics, and Community

“So who is your audience?” asks the newest addition to the advisory committee, a free-lance historian with over twenty years of experience. A small group of us are gathered around farmer’s market nectarines and cherries in a bright dining room in Walnut Creek, discussing the projects for Cal Ag Roots, a program of the California [Read More]

Chelsea Escalante

International volunteerism and the exchange of psuedoenvironments

During the past two decades, there has been an unprecedented expansion of international volunteering and service, both in numbers of volunteers and sponsoring organizations1. Despite the popularity and growth of international volunteerism, scholarship on the long-term impacts of such service has been scarce. Proponents of such service suggest volunteer opportunities inspire ordinary people to get [Read More]

Kendra Dority

Situating a Public of Humanities Educators

The primary “public” that my project—a collaboration between the non-profit performing arts organization Santa Cruz Shakespeare and the UC Santa Cruz research center Shakespeare Workshop—addresses is middle and high school educators. Secondary school educators have the great task of navigating not only their own goals for teaching and their students’ goals for learning, but also [Read More]

Maggie Bell

Finding My Experts in Isla Vista

Across the readings that we have been doing over the last five weeks for the Public Scholars seminar, my marginal notes have been full of questions, which, I believe, indicates that these texts and our resulting discussions have offered fertile ground for the development of my project. My questions are different from those that I encounter [Read More]

Loren Michael Mortimer

Alliance and the Academy

During a research trip to Akwesasne Mohawk Territory in the autumn of 2014, I visited the Akwesasne Cultural Center. The facility is home to both the Akwesasne Museum and Library and serves as a hub for daily community life. On a typical weekday in September, the library pulses with human activity—the laughter and muted gossip from [Read More]

Bridget Clark

Engaging the pseudoenvironment of Energy Efficiency

My project, in partnership with the R&D “silo” of the California Energy Commission (CEC), is an examination of how we can conceive of and create measure of energy efficiency/consumption that can more fully capture how energy is actually being used among consumers, and identifying how these new measures, along with other institutional barriers that exist, [Read More]

Audrey Harris

Three Intended Publics for this Project

The readings we have done for this course provide several ways to think about ‘publics’ and how academics can engage them as part of our work. The closest description I came across in our readings to my project appears in the description of one of the types of projects offered by the NEH’s Humanities in the [Read More]

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