Julie Ellison Explores Higher Education’s “New Public Humanists”

Interested in scholarship with a public dimension? Don’t miss the essay, “The New Public Humanists” by Julie Ellison, which appears in the March 2013 issue of PMLA, the flagship journal of the Modern Language Association.

In it, Ellison considers the roles of academic humanists in civic engagement initiatives in higher education. She explores public humanities graduate programs at schools such as Brown University and Yale University, as well as the University of Washington’s Certificate in Public Scholarship, which she names “the most robust graduate program for the new public humanists” in the country. 

Housed at the Simpson Center, the Certificate in Public Scholarship is a fifteen-credit portfolio- and project-based curriculum that offers students a space in which to both document and reflect upon their scholarship in, with, and for public audiences. It enrolls students from departments across the humanities, social sciences, arts, and professional schools and connects them with an advising network of forty faculty and professional staff members from more than twenty UW units. Central to the Certificate are projects that involve collaboration between the UW and cultural organizations in the greater Seattle area.

Ellison is a professor of American Culture and English at the University of Michigan. She is co-author of the report Scholarship in Public: Knowledge Creation and Tenure Policy in the Engaged University (2008) and author of Cato’s Tears and the Making of Anglo-American Emotion (1999). She served as founding director of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life from 2001 to 2007, a consortium of universities and organizations dedicated to advancing the public and civic purposes of the humanities, arts, and design, and is currently lead organizer of Citizen Alum, a multi-institutional project that re-imagines university alumni beyond the role of donors.