A team of interdisciplinary faculty members from across the arts, humanities, and social sciences selected the inaugural cohort of Mellon Public Scholars. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the UC Davis Humanities Institute $400,000 to inaugurate the program, which will support community-engaged scholarship and provide experience for graduate students interested in diverse careers.
The ten members of the 2015-16 Mellon Public Scholars cohort represent eight departments and programs, and their interests address issues and problems in history, education, incarceration, gentrification, and citizenship.
- Simon Abramowitsch (English), Multi-Ethnic Publishing in the San Francisco Bay Area: A Community History
- Cinthya Ammerman (Native American Studies), Social Media Strategy for a Q’eqchi Community Association
- Trisha Barua (Cultural Studies), Racial and Political Possibilities of Counter-Development Projects in East Oakland
- Bridget Clark (Sociology), Creative Destruction- An Oral History of a Gentrifying Neighborhood
- Chelsea Escalante (Spanish and Portuguese), Exploring the Long-term Effects of International Volunteerism
- Jonathan Favero (Music), Music Education in Juvenile Corrections Rehabilitation
- Lily Hodges (History), Education Behind Bars
- Stephanie Maroney (Cultural Studies), Theorizing the Public Humanities within Institutions: Cultural Studies Pedagogy and Public Science Education
- Loren Michael Mortimer (History), “You Are on Indian Land:” Visualizing Indigenous Spaces on the US-Canada Border
- Jennifer Sedell (Geography), Race, Citizenship, and Agrarian Histories: Situating Immigrant Contributions to Sustainable Agriculture in California
The cohort will be present at the official launch of the Mellon Public Scholars program on Monday, March 7 (1-5:00pm), titled “The Humanities Engaged.” The launch event begins with a roundtable discussion with California-based professionals and UC Davis scholars in the public humanities addressing questions of, “Who is the public?” “What does public engagement look like in the humanities?” and “Who benefits from public humanities?”
The panel roundtable is moderated by UCD English Professor John Marx and features:
- Julie Fry (CEO & President, California Humanities)
- Chet Hewitt (CEO, Sierra Health Foundation)
- Natalia Deeb-Sossa (Professor, Chicana/o Studies, UC Davis)
- Jonathan London (Director, Center for Regional Change, UC Davis)
- Brett Snyder (Professor, Design, UC Davis)
The keynote address from Sara Guyer, Director of the Center for the Humanities at University of Wisconsin, Madison will begin at 3:00pm, followed by a moderated discussion and reception.
The UC Davis Mellon Public Scholars Program, together with the Department of English and Medieval and Early Modern Studies at UC Davis, follow the launch event with a morning public humanities presentation on March 8 from Irina Dumitrescu, titled “Rumba Under Fire: On Public Humanities and Times of Crisis” (9-10:30a, 228 Voorhies, breakfast served). Dumitrescu is Junior Professor for English & Medieval Studies at the University of Bonn and will address questions raised by her co-edited collection, Rumba Under Fire: The Arts of Survival from West Point to Delhi (Punctum Books, Spring 2016), which proposes we think differently about what it means for the arts and liberal arts to be “in crisis.”
“This is a truly exciting, innovative and collaborative program that will have a vital and long-lasting impact on our students and faculty alike, and we are so proud that the Mellon Foundation will be a part of bringing it to life,” said Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.
While other universities have developed public humanities programs and offer degrees or certificates in the public humanities, few combine the research-oriented goals of nurturing public scholarship with professional development for graduate students. The Public Scholars seminar at UC Davis will provide students with training in areas such as project management, digital methods and communication at the same time they are developing new research skills.
In addition to the ten Public Scholars selected from UC Davis, the program will be joined by eight students from every other UC campus, except UCSF, who were selected by their humanities centers and institutes. Their participation was made possible by a 2015-2016 Humanities Center Collaboration grant sponsored by the UC Humanities Research Institute. The award allows the Mellon Public Scholars program to have an impact across California since the students, after participating in the spring 2016 Public Scholars seminar, will work with community organizations in their own areas.
“The Public Scholars Program will take the Humanities Institute into new territory since it has the potential to foster innovation across the humanities at UC Davis. We’re especially excited and hopeful about this opportunity since it reimagines, and reaffirms, what humanities centers can do,” said David Biale, the Emanuel Ringelblum Distinguished Professor and institute director.
Visit the Mellon Public Scholars website (http://publicscholars.ucdavis.edu/) to learn more about the program. The website offers information on events in the public humanities at UC Davis, and will feature blog entries from the scholars as they move through the program.