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



Jared Katz

Why I Am Here: Making Archaeology Accessible

Since I was young, I intended to go into academics. Several members of my family were involved in academia, and I found the idea of perusing knowledge in order to educate a wide audience to be a very compelling career path. I was surprised, however, to find that the more involved with my research in [Read More]

04.25.2016    
Emma Silverman

Why I’m Here: Ethics and Ponds

I’m here because I want a place to think about what it means to do publicly engaged scholarship. Because in the competitive, individualist context of academia the Public Scholars program creates a community of peers with whom to think deeply and collaboratively about these issues. Because I want to stay in the university and I’m [Read More]

04.21.2016    
Jennifer Sedell

Why I Am Here: Bugs, Public Scholarship, and Histories in California’s Ag Land

I originally went to graduate school to study rural economic development through the arts and humanities. The plan, however, was immediately derailed by bugs. Or rather, a study on the controversies around killing bugs. Six years later, I somehow seem to be bending the two back toward each other: learning how to tell the histories [Read More]

04.21.2016    
Maggie Bell

Why Am I Here: Off-Campus Art History

In 2009, I entered graduate school in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at UC Santa Barbara, seemingly when the budget crisis was at its worst. The departmental mood was grim, due largely to financial anxiety, but also to the perception that the world had forgotten about us. My colleagues and I [Read More]

04.21.2016    
Michele Brewster

To learn from others, and to teach

After completing my master’s degree, I taught World History at a community college in southern California. I was dismayed that I could say very little about how California history fit into larger world history paradigms and global trade networks of the nineteenth-century. I felt I should be able to do better, especially given that most [Read More]

04.21.2016    
Simon Abramowitsch

Why I Am Here: 3 Institutional Motivations for Public Scholarship

Berkeley High School – When I graduated from Berkeley High School in the 1990s, it—like the other Berkeley public schools I attended—was still very much under the influence of 1960s and 70s activism around a whole host of issues, from ethnic and gender equity in curricula to environmental conservation. My education in ethnic studies classes in Black [Read More]

04.21.2016    
Audrey Harris

Why am I Here

This summer I plan to facilitate a women’s creative writing workshop at the CERESO (Centro de Reinserción Social) de Mérida, in the Mexican Yucatán Peninsula. My project is entitled, “Stories from a Mexican Women’s Prison.” I write, and teach writing, because a story is a place where we can write our truths, and where no one can say [Read More]

04.21.2016    
Bridget Clark

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair!”

I am here because I want my research to speak to a larger audience. As a doctoral candidate in sociology, I work on tax incentives and local economic development. Economists have argued for 40-plus years that more often than not tax incentives for business do more harm than good, and yet local practitioners and politicians [Read More]

04.21.2016    
Chelsea Escalante

Why I am here: Engaging with an international public

As graduate students, we are deeply committed to our individual research projects, but often our topics are very specific inquiries and those without a background in our area have difficulty understanding the implications of our studies. We spend countless hours inside labs, libraries, and specialty archives, but do our findings make it past academic journals [Read More]

04.21.2016    
Jonathan Favero

Why Am I Here?: The Age-old Question

Why am I here? It’s the ever-present, utterly perplexing question, and it underlies many of the decisions I make, whether they’re day-to-day, or big-picture. I’ve been asking myself this question for years, and am forever hopeful that, overall, life has at least some sort of meaning, and that mine in particular has a purpose. I [Read More]

04.21.2016    
Trisha Barua

Why I Am Here: Grappling with Public Humanities Praxis

I’m in Mellon Public Scholars because of an unrelenting curiosity on the possibilities of connecting humanistic research with the initiatives of community organizations. I’ve attempted to negotiate the boundaries between academic and public life since I entered the university, and this program is an opportunity to meet colleagues who share similar goals. In college, academic [Read More]

04.21.2016    
Loren Michael Mortimer

Why I Am Here: Alliance, Engagement, and Scholarship

Despite my boisterous persona, I recoil when people describe me as “passionate” about history. As a scholar of the eighteenth century, the word “passion” carries negative connotations in a historical context. Its twenty-first century meanings are no less problematic, evoking the image of an overwrought reality show contestant spouting clichés about his or her “passion” to [Read More]

04.20.2016    
Lily Hodges

Why I Am Here: Education Behind Bars

The word “criminal” holds a lot of moral judgment. Only “bad” people get arrested and go to prison, right? Wrong. Statements like these fail to explain why people of color and poor people are disproportionately represented in prisons in the United States. Those without the privileges of claiming whiteness aren’t disproportionately immoral. Nor are those without the means to hire [Read More]

04.20.2016    
Cinthya Ammerman

Why Am I Here: Aspiring to our Collective Well-being

Beneath the daily sensationalist headlines of the political spectacle there are also news of communities struggling against environmental degradation, inequality and oppression. Occasionally, trending articles pop up on our newsfeeds: “Teens Sue U.S. Government Over Climate Change,” “Indigenous Leaders Are Being Killed Because They Want the Right to Live.” Before we allow the information to [Read More]

04.20.2016    
Kendra Dority

Why I Am Here: Creating Community around Humanities Teaching

In the first scene of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost, a character deliberates whether to join his colleagues in their pursuit of learning. When he asks, “What is the end of study?” his question addresses, in part, the circumstances required to learn. His friends have decided to seal themselves off from their communities for three years [Read More]

04.20.2016    
Stephanie Maroney

Why I Am Here: Thinking and Practicing the Public Humanities

I applied to be a Mellon Public Scholar in the hope that the program would provide an institutional space, a cohort, and the financial resources to both think and practice the public humanities. My interest in the public humanities developed from my experiences as an interdisciplinary humanist in a Cultural Studies PhD program with its [Read More]

04.19.2016    
Rachel Reeves

Introducing the UC Davis Mellon Public Scholars Program

Across the country, humanities institutes are offering graduate students an opportunity to speak to the relationship between universities and their communities through public scholarship. Now’s the time for UC Davis to join the conversation. We at the UC Davis Humanities Institute are excited to be launching the Mellon Public Scholars Program to address two related [Read More]

03.04.2016    
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