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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. 


This listing of Northwestern events is curated with an eye toward programs that may be of interest to graduate students considering activities or careers in public humanities. They include topics such as:

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