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Past Events: Public Humanities Graduate Practicum

2022-2023 Events


Public Humanities Graduate Research Symposium 2023

May 12, 2023 (Fri.)
9:30 am - 6:00 pm CST
Northwestern Evanston Campus

FREE! Public welcome. No RSVP needed (except for the lunch keynote); drop in any time!

This all-day event will showcase the interdisciplinary projects of the Kaplan Public Humanities Graduate Research Workshop participants and feature a keynote on the future of the Humanities PhD with Teresa Mangum (Obermann Center for Advanced Studies). Northwestern Associate Dean and Professor Miriam Petty will provide opening remarks, and the Workshop will also present a public humanities award to Dino Robinson (Northwestern University Press and Shorefront Legacy Center).

We invite the broader Northwestern community to a multifaceted conversation about the public humanities at the university and beyond!

Click HERE to read more about each workshop participant's project.

Location Key

9:30 - 10:00 am  •  Breakfast (Kaplan Seminar Room)

10:00 - 10:15 am  •  Opening remarks: Miriam J. Petty  (Trienens Forum):
Associate Dean for Academic Programs, The Graduate School; Associate Professor, Department of Radio/Television/Film; Faculty Affiliate: African American Studies, Performance Studies, Gender & Sexuality Studies; Charles McCormick Deering Chair in Teaching Excellence

10:15 - 11:15 am  •  Panel #1 (Trienens Forum)
Digital Stories: Reckoning with the Past, Imagining the Future
Moderator: Wan Heo

11:25 am - 12:25 pm  •  Panel #2 (Trienens Forum)
Taking It Slow: Cultivating Patience, Resilience, and Community
Moderator: Bridgette Hulse

12:30 - 1:00 pm  •  Lunch (Kaplan Seminar Room)

1:00 - 2:00 pm  •  KEYNOTE (Kaplan Seminar Room; details below)
The PhD of the Future: Humanities Scholarship Beyond Boundaries
Teresa Mangum (Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, University of Iowa) in conversation with Kelly Wisecup (Kaplan Humanities Institute, Northwestern)

2:15 - 3:00 pm  •  Panel #3 (Trienens Forum)
Humanities in Translation: Language and Literature Beyond the University
Moderator: Tom Burke

3:10 - 4:10 pm  •  Panel #4 (Trienens Forum)
Life in Bloom: Visual Storytelling for Public Audiences
Moderator: Trish Bredar

4:15 - 6:00 pm  •  Public Humanities Award Ceremony and Reception (Kaplan Seminar Room)

Dino Robinson will receive a Kaplan Humanities Institute Public Humanities Award in recognition of his substantial contributions to the humanities at Northwestern and the Shorefront Legacy Center, and for his modeling of thoughtful, careful, community-engaged research.


the-phd-of-the-future--humanities-scholarship-beyond-boundaries_05_12_23-300px.jpgThe PhD of the Future: Humanities Scholarship Beyond Boundaries

Dr. Teresa Mangum in conversation with Dr. Kelly Wisecup

May 12, 2023 (Fri.)
1:00 - 2:00 pm CST
Kresge #2351 (Kaplan Institute)

Lunch will be served at 12:30pm!

Register here:

As juggling multiple crises increasingly feels like the new normal in many humanities fields, how are graduate students, faculty, and partners beyond the academy transforming what it means to be a successful scholar? What might the future of humanities scholarship look like, and at what point in the transition are we now? Teresa Mangum (University of Iowa) will join Kelly Wisecup (Northwestern) in conversation about new directions in graduate education, career paths, and publicly-engaged scholarship. This event is free and open to the public—we welcome graduate students, faculty, administrators, and anyone with an interest in the future of humanities scholarship to join us.

teresa-mangum-2022-260x260.jpgDr. Teresa Mangum is a professor in the departments of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies and English and director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Iowa. She began her career working on rebellious women, ageism, and surprising human-animal relationships in 19th-century British art and literature. More recently, she has been asking how humanities scholarship and practice might intervene in profound social challenges from social inequities to climate change and how graduate studies in the humanities can prepare future generations for those responsibilities. She is currently directing a multi-year Mellon Grant focused on “Humanities for the Public Good”: an interdisciplinary team of faculty, staff, graduate students, and community partners is designing an “applied” humanities graduate certificate and MA degree. Mangum serves on the Advisory Board of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes and the Public Humanities Network within CHCI and is chair of the planning committee for the October 2023 National Humanities Conference, a collaboration of the National Humanities Alliance and the Federation of State Humanities Councils.

wisecup-kelly-260x260b.jpgDr. Kelly Wisecup is a professor in the Department of English, Interim Director of the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, and affiliate faculty at the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research. She coordinates several collaborative public humanities projects at the intersections of archives, rivers, cities, and Indigenous literatures, including most recently a Humanities without Walls funded project on the Indigenous Mississippi River and a digital archive of Chicago’s Indigenous literatures and arts, Archive Chicago.



Arts and Humanities Funding Workshop

Friday, February 10, 2023
12:00-1:00 pm CST
Via Zoom; register here:
Free! Open to Northwestern PhD, MA, and MFA students in all arts and humanities disciplines

Do you need funding for your research, a public event, or a creative endeavor? In this workshop, Stephen Hill (Office of Fellowships) and Trish Bredar (Kaplan Humanities Institute) will provide advice on how to identify and apply for competitive funding opportunities. We will cover award search resources, fundamentals of proposal writing, and special considerations for creative and/or public-facing work.


ethically-engaged-work_12_02_22_event-poster-300px.pngThe Ethics of Community-Engaged Work

Friday, December 2, 2022
12:00-1:00 pm CST
Via Zoom (registration required):
Free. Public welcome!

Research that engages with communities beyond the academy often involves serious ethical considerations on both a theoretical and practical level. How can scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences create meaningful, mutually beneficial community partnerships? How should ethical considerations inform research aims and outcomes? How can those within the academy manage competing institutional expectations and timelines? This free, virtual event will bring together three panelists from leading public humanities initiatives to share their perspectives on the topic of ethical community-engaged work. Moderated by Ruth Curry of Northwestern’s Center for Civic Engagement, this discussion will offer diverse perspectives and strategies useful to anyone who is exploring or pursuing community-engaged work.


Morris (Dino) Robinson, Jr. -260x260px.jpgMorris (Dino) Robinson, Jr.
is the Production Manager at Northwestern University Press. Previously, he served in creative positions in advertising, and later operated Robinson Design. He holds a BA degree in Communication Design and a minor in African American Studies. Dino is the founder of Shorefront Legacy Center, an organization he pioneered in 1995. Within Shorefront, he has authored books, facilitated subject specific speaking engagements and exhibits, and consults on community-based archiving and organizing programs. Throughout the last 20 years, Dino built a collection measuring over 500 linear feet, representing the local Black communities on Chicago’s suburban North Shore.

Dr. Mónica Félix -260x260px.jpgDr. Mónica Félix
is the Executive Director of the Chicago Cultural Alliance (CCA), a consortium of over 40 Chicago-area cultural heritage museums, institutes, and historical societies representing over 30 different cultures. Dr. Felix’s previous nonprofit leadership experience includes serving as the first Chief Administrative Officer of the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA, 2019-2021). She also served as the Museum & Development Director of the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center in Chicago’s Lincoln Square (2017-2019) where she oversaw exhibit curation, development, and cross-cultural programming. She received her PhD in Comparative Literature (Russian/German) from the University of Chicago in 2017.

Dr. Bradley Dubos -260x260px.jpgDr. Bradley Dubos is the current Public Humanities Fellow at the New-York Historical Society, where he is at work on a traveling exhibit and educational initiative titled Acts of Faith: Religion and the American West. Brad recently completed his PhD in English at Northwestern University. His research and teaching focus on pre-1900 American literatures, religions, and placemaking, particularly through the works of Native American and African American poets. In Chicago, he also contributed to a public humanities project aimed at improving tribal communities’ access to collections at the Newberry Library.


Dr. Ruth Curry -260x260px.jpgDr. Ruth Curry
is a postdoctoral scholar at Northwestern’s Center for Civic Engagement, where she directs the Center’s programming for graduate students. She has launched a number of initiatives to support public scholarship and to connect students with the local community, including a practicum program for humanities PhDs, a public writing workshop, and a graduate assistantship to support Chicago-area Black archives.




2021-2022 events


Public Humanities Graduate Research Symposium

May 12, 2022 (Thurs.)
9:30am-5:00pm CST
Kresge Hall (various rooms)

FREE! Public welcome!

This all-day event will showcase the projects of the Kaplan Public Humanities Graduate Research Workshop participants. We invite the broader Northwestern community to a multifaceted conversation about the public humanities at the university and beyond.

Event conveners

Negar Razavi, ACLS Emerging Voices Fellow of the Kaplan Institute
Rebekah Bryer, doctoral candidate in the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama Program

Location Key

Each presentation will be followed by Q&A/discussion. You can read about each presenter's projects here.

9:30 am – Breakfast (Kaplan Seminar Room)

9:45 am – Welcome, Jessica Winegar, Kaplan Institute Director, and Panel 1 (Trienens Forum)

11:10 am – Panel 2 (Trienens Forum)

12:30 pm – Lunch (Kaplan Seminar Room)

1:30 pm – Panel 3 (Trienens Forum)

2:55pm – Panel 4 (Trienens Forum)

4:15pm – Reception (Kaplan Seminar Room)


2022_04_20_the-pandemic-job-search-300px.jpgThe Pandemic Job Search: Launching a Career Outside the University

April 20, 2022 (Wed.)
5:00-6:30pm CST

Via Zoom (registration required)
Free. Public Welcome!

Featuring panelists:
Rachel Grimm (
Los Alamos National Lab), Emily Sekine (SAPIENS Magazine), and Angela Tate (Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture)

Moderated by Ruth Curry (Northwestern Center for Civic Engagement), this panel will offer practical advice for grad students about finding—and applying for—jobs in the public humanities. Each panelist found their position during the pandemic and will offer tips for current grad students about navigating the job market.

thompson-author-photo-2021-260x260.jpgWhen What You Research Becomes Breaking News

Erin Thompson
Associate Professor of Art Crime
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY

March 9, 2022 (Wed.)
5:00-6:30pm CST
Via Zoom (registration required)
Free. Public Welcome!

As an expert in art crime, monuments, and repatriation, Erin Thompson will discuss how scholars working on topics that become the subject of public controversy can develop strategies to effectively weigh into these debates and weather the storm of public outrage. 

Thompson will be in conversation with Jessica Winegar (Director of the Kaplan Humanities Institute and Professor in Anthropology) and Rebekah Bryer, doctoral candidate in the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama Program.

Erin Thompson is Associate Professor of Art Crime at CUNY's John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Known as the "Art Crime Prof," Thompson studies the black market for looted antiquities, art forgery, museum theft, the ethics of digital reproductions of cultural heritage, art made by detainees at Guantánamo Bay, and a variety of other overlaps between art and crime.

Her book, Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America’s Public Monuments (Norton, February 2022), traces the turbulent history and abundant ironies of our monuments. She has written and spoken about the science of public art, the history of protests, the legal barriers to removal of controversial art, and examples of innovative approaches to the problem in venues including Art in America, Hyperallergic, Smithsonian Magazine, bitch, and the New York Times.


staff-antonio.jpgEthical Community Engagement Through the Lens of Environmental Justice

A conversation aimed at rethinking the university-community power dynamic with Dr. Antonio Reyes López

January 10, 2022 (Mon.)
12:00-1:30pm CST
Via Zoom (pre-registration required)
Free. Public Welcome!

Environmental Justice (EJ) communities experience a disproportionate burden of harmful contaminants and pollution, and are often most vulnerable to climate related disasters. In addition to leading grassroots campaigns to protect their communities, EJ organizations experience tremendous pressure to accommodate university-based researchers and student projects.

As a trained historian and the former Executive Director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) in Chicago, Dr. Antonio López has worked to bridge university and grassroots communities so that university projects are in deep alignment with grassroots strategies and campaigns. In this session, Dr. López will share about his efforts to experiment with collaborative research designs so that participants understand common mistakes that limit community-based research approaches. Arguing that humanities and science professors should resist the extraction of knowledge from communities, and valuable time and resources from Environmental Justice organizations, Dr. López will facilitate a grounded conversation aimed at rethinking the university-community power dynamic. 

Dr. Antonio Reyes López is currently the director of the Chicago Frontlines Funding Initiative, a grassroots-led funding strategy that supports five place-based EJ organizations in the city. Dr. López was born in Gary, Indiana, raised in Chicago, and was awarded a doctoral degree in Borderlands History from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Presented by Northwestern's Kaplan Institute for the Humanities and Center for Civic Engagement in partnership with One Book One Northwestern, this event is open to all scholars and students interested in developing ethical, sustainable community partnerships.



Critical Race Theory, Politics, and the Future of Critical Public Scholarship

November 9, 2021 (Tues.)
5:00-6:30pm CST
Via Zoom (pre-registration required)
Free; public welcome!

As many school districts across the U.S. move to ban the teaching of “Critical Race Theory” (CRT) in their schools, university-based scholars working on education, race, and racism are struggling to assert their expert voices in this now highly polemical public debate. This event brings two leading critical scholars in these fields to further contextualize the backlash against CRT in broader histories and structures of anti-black racism, while discussing what role critical scholars can/should play in engaging, empowering, and critiquing different publics on this issue. 

Panelists and moderator

kihana miraya ross (panelist) is an assistant professor of African American Studies at Northwestern. Her research examines how Black students live antiblackness in what she calls the afterlife of school segregation. 

David Stovall (panelist) is an associate professor of Educational Policy Studies and Black Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). His research focuses on critical race theory and the relationship between schooling and prisons. 

Shirin Vossoughi (moderator) is an associate professor of Learning Sciences at Northwestern, whose work focuses on how learning can contribute to projects of educational justice. 

2020-2021 EVENTS


Recruitment Perspectives for PhDs

May 21, 2021 

A Career exploration event for humanities and social sciences with Dr. Dana Bilsky Asher, Dr. Kimberly Singletary, and Dr. Greg Acs.

Career Workshops with Elysse Longiotti

April 23 and May 7, 2021


Creating Careers in Public Institutions

April 2, 2021
12:00 - 1:30 pm CST via Zoom
Free. Public Welcome!

A career diversity event with Matti Bunzl (Wien Museum), Livia Alexander (ArteEast), and Michelle Wilkinson (National Museum of African American History and Culture).

Please join us for a dynamic gathering of scholars to consider what it means to work publically. The Kaplan Humanities Institute will host a lively discussion and Q&A with Matti Bunzl, Livia Alexander, and Michelle Wilkinson—scholars who successfully pivoted from academia to forge rewarding careers in public institutions (and still maintain a "foot" in the academy). You’ll learn ways to think about linking your work and interests to thrive in jobs with potential to shape broader publics.

About the speakers

Matti Bunzl is Director of the Wien Museum, Vienna’s municipal museum. Before taking up this position, he was Professor of Anthropology and History at the University of Illinois and Artistic Director of the Chicago Humanities Festival.

Livia Alexander is a New York-based curator, writer, and Assistant Professor of Global Visual Cultures at Montclair State University and co-founder of ArteEast, a global platform for promoting the arts of the Middle East.

Michelle Joan Wilkinson is a curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), where she works on projects related to contemporary black life.
More speaker details on the PlanitPurple event:

Community Collaboration and Public Engagement

February 26, 2021

With Patricia Nguyen, Elliot Heilman, Nadine Naber, and Dino Robinson.

Digital Storytelling Mini Workshop for Graduate Students

February 12, 2021
11:00 am - 12:00 pm CST via Zoom
Free. Public Welcome!

What are the various forms of digital storytelling that academics often turn to share their work? Podcasts sure, but what about visual essays, short films, interactive websites, or online photo exhibits? How can you get started and what do you need to know to share your work? Join C.A. Davis, digital storyteller and producer of the Weinberg Media and Design Studio, for this informal workshop to discuss basic principles of digital storytelling and resources for graduate students. You will be sent different examples of digital storytelling ahead of the workshop. Space is limited, so please register ahead of time!


Defining your Expertise for Public Engagement

January 29, 2021

With Elysse Longiotti (Northwestern Career Advancement) and Amy Güth (writer/screenwriter, broadcaster, and producer) about the ins and outs of social media presence and promotion.


Adapting Your Work to Respond to Public Need

November 13, 2020

Panel discussion with Cynthia Nazarian (French and Italian), Doug Kiel (History and Kaplan Institute), and Jessica Winegar (Anthropology and Kaplan Institute) on how scholars translate and adapt their academic work to different publics in moments of societal crisis or public need. Breakout sessions invited participants to discuss their own motivations and stakes in doing public humanities work, and how they would position their research and expertise.

Initial Meeting—Introductions and Overview

October 30, 2020

For our first workshop event, participants had an opportunity to introduce themselves and discuss their own interests in the public humanities. In addition, Ruth Curry, the Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Civic Engagement, helped participants contextualize and understand the place of public humanities within the university structure.