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2024 Public Humanities Symposium

Join the Kaplan Institute for our annual celebration of the Public Humanities May 9-10, 2024! All events are free and open to the public—drop in any time.


Claudia Kinahan (Theatre and Drama)
Bridgette Hulse (Anthropology)
Trish Bredar (Kaplan Humanities Institute)
Thomas Burke (Kaplan Humanities Institute)


Thursday, May 9, 2024
4:30 - 6:00 pm CT
Kaplan Artist Studio (Kresge Hall #2315)
Northwestern Evanston Campus

Join us for an opening reception and interactive exhibit to kick off this year’s Public Humanities Symposium! Guests can explore samples from podcasts, websites, videos, and hands-on learning experiences, all created by Northwestern graduate students who are this year’s Kaplan Public Humanities Fellows. Refreshments will be served. Drop in any time between 4:30 and 6:00 pm!


Friday, May 10, 2024
9:30 am - 6:00 pm CT
Kaplan Seminar Room (Kresge Hall #2350)
Northwestern Evanston Campus


Claudia Kinahan (Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama)
Bridgette Hulse (Department of Anthropology)
Trish Bredar (Kaplan Humanities Institute)
Thomas Burke (Kaplan Humanities Institute)

This all-day event seeks to engage members of the Northwestern and wider community in conversation around public scholarship. This year’s symposium will feature: 

All events are free, open to the public, and designed to be accessible to academic and non-academic audiences alike. Drop in at any time!

Full Symposium Schedule

Thursday, May 9
Opening Reception and Exhibit, 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Kaplan Artist Studio (Kresge Hall 2315)

An interactive showcase of public humanities projects. Food and drinks will be served.


Friday, May 10

All Friday events will take place in the Kaplan Seminar Room (Kresge Hall 2350)

Breakfast, 9:30-10:00 am
Welcome, 10:00-10:30 am

Opening Remarks
Dr. Adrian Randolph, Dean, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Trish Bredar, Director of the Public Humanities Practicum

Roundtable 1, 10:30-11:45 am
Dialogue, Identity, Connection

Moderator: Thomas Burke, Associate Director, Kaplan Humanities Institute 


Keynote Lunch, 12:00-1:30 pm
Creative Futures: New Directions for the Public Humanities

Lunch will be served. Click HERE to learn more and to RSVP.pacheco-and-winegar-350x160.png

Lauren M. Pacheco, Co-Creative Director, Chicago Humanities, in conversation with Dr. Jessica Winegar, Director, Kaplan Humanities Institute.


Roundtable 2, 1:45-3:00 pm
Place, Objects, Performance

Moderator: Claudia Kinahan, Co-Convener, Kaplan Public Humanities Graduate Practicum


Roundtable 3, 3:15-4:30 pm
Food, Culture, History

Moderator: Bridgette Hulse, Public Humanities Intern, Kaplan Humanities Institute


Public Humanities Award Ceremony and Reception, 4:30-6:00 pm

Food and drinks will be served.

Honoring Kaplan Public Humanities Award recipient Dr. Ashley Cheyemi McNeil with remarks from Jason Matsumoto, Co-Executive Director and Co-Founder of Full Spectrum Features, and Dr. Helen Cho, Visiting Assistant Professor in Northwestern's Asian American Studies Program.


To read full descriptions of the fellows’ projects, please click here.

Archita Arun and Clara Lee, “Craving Together: A Digital Archive of What We Eat”arun-260x320.jpg

Archita Arun (she/her) is an interdisciplinary researcher, writer, and singer from India. She studies the embodiment of desire, pleasure, and refusal by South Asian femme and queer artists in the diaspora across music, performance art, and visual culture. Her areas of research include sound studies, minoritarian performance theory, and psychoanalysis.


lee-260x320.pngClara Lee (they/she) is a researcher, writer, and cultural worker from Singapore. Traversing affect theory, media studies, performance studies, and queer of colour critique, in their work they pursue what moving/being moved is and does, and under which techno-aesthetic conditions does movement express itself as a particular mode of feeling.



Lauren Cole, “Gender and Medieval Studies: A YouTube Series”cole-lauren-260x320.png

Lauren Cole is a third year PhD student in the Department of History, researching how a 12th century nun created a network of medical knowledge. She is also a public historian on the platform TikTok, where she posts videos about medieval history to over 90,000 followers. 



comerford-jennifer-260x320.jpgJennifer Comerford, “The Experiential History Project”

Jen Comerford is a PhD candidate in English. Her dissertation explores how hands and touch structure female experience and knowledge-making practices in the long eighteenth century. Her work has been supported by the Newberry Library and the Jane Austen Society of North America.


green-peri-260x320.pngPeri Ella Green, “Community Crawls TikTok Series”

Peri Ella Green is a second-year doctoral student in the Learning Sciences program at the School of Education and Social Policy. Hailing from Decatur, Georgia, she now collaborates with high school students in Chicago's South Side to explore and document how young people utilize their time outside of school. Her research examines how individuals navigate both physical spaces (like local neighborhoods) and digital environments (such as online social networks) to engage in informal learning throughout their lives. After completing her degree, she plans to return to Decatur to develop sustainable, lifelong learning opportunities in underserved local neighborhoods and to create a digital tool that supports informal learning across online spaces.

ligaya-jennifer-260x320.pngJennifer Ligaya, “Life in Blasia: A Podcast”

Jennifer Ligaya is an AfroPinay sound and performance composer and artist scholar born and raised in Chicago with an interdisciplinary background in visual art, vocal performance, dance, and theater. Mother to a Scorpio son, and PhD candidate of Performance Studies, her original work includes solo and collaborative performance compositions and sound installations. Her creative work highlights critical conversations around identity, liberation, ancestral indigenous knowledge systems, and moments of communal healing, through the weaving of traditional and contemporary sound, performance, and personal ancestral folk arts practices. Ligaya’s research interests sit at the intersections of performance, sound, and dance studies, alongside Cultural Studies and Womanist Theory. Website:

pham-victoria-260x320.jpgVictoria Pham, “Mapping Connections: A Vietnamese American Webinar Series”

Victoria Pham is a doctoral student in History and a Mellon Cluster Fellow in Comparative Race and Diaspora. Her interests include memory studies of the Vietnam War, Asian American history, refugee migration, settler colonialism, and queer theory.


ranjan-devika-260x320.jpgDevika Ranjan, “THIS IS NOT A MEMORIAL: a performance, an act of community care”

Devika Ranjan (she/her) is a writer, ethnographer, theater-maker, and educator who tells stories about migration and technology. She creates communities of care through devised immersive performance and has facilitated workshops with migrants worldwide. As a Marshall Scholar, Devika holds degrees from Cambridge, RCSSD, and Georgetown. Devika is currently studying “data doubles” at Northwestern.

sebastian-bipin-260x320.jpgBipin Sebastian, “Minorities and Majorities”

Bipin Sebastian is a PhD candidate with the program of Rhetoric and Public Culture. He studies minoritarian responses to ethno-religious majoritarianism, with a focus on the so-called democracies of South Asia. 


stevens-craig-260x320.jpgCraig Stevens, “AfriSem: 3D Humanities Speaker and Workshop Series”

Craig Stevens is a futurist archeologist and curator. His work seeks to express anthropological and archaeological data through creative processes and immersive products. His archaeological research investigates the placemaking strategies of nineteenth-century Black American and Caribbean Back-to-Africa settlers and their descendants in Liberia. Through the use of 3D digitization and innovative curatorial strategies, Craig seeks to expose broad and diverse audiences to African and African Diasporic material culture. He recently developed and curated the Augmented Curiosities exhibition for the Herskovits Library of African Studies, which leverages Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies to provide opportunities for intimate engagement with African object collections. Craig is completing his doctoral research in the Anthropology Department.

walters-kylie-260x320.jpgKylie Walters, “Psychoanalysis and the Climate Crisis”

Kylie Walters is a PhD candidate in Screen Cultures studying the visual culture of oil corporations from the postwar era through the 1973-1974 oil crisis. Her broader interests include architecture, Marxist cultural theory, and psychoanalysis.


yen-sreddy-260x320.jpgYuan-Chih (Sreddy) Yen: “Race from Africa: Four Literary Commentaries”

Yuan-Chih (Sreddy) Yen is a PhD candidate in English whose research considers the re-enchantment of humanism in contemporary African literature. They received their MA from the University of the Witwatersrand, and post about the books they’re reading on Instagram at @sreddyen.