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Lecture: "Fostering Dialogue through the Public Humanities: Spaces and Subjects"
WhenTuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Campus locationCommunications Building (CMU)
Campus room202
Event typesAcademics, Lectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsScandinavian Studies, Fielding Endowment for Norwegian Studies…
Target AudienceUW faculty and staff

The achievements of a 2017-18 NEH-funded project, "War, Trauma, and the Humanities," offers models and strategies for the public humanities. Project co-director Rosemary Johnsen will talk about the project's design, implementation, and reception. "War, Trauma, and the Humanities" was built around a for-credit class at Governors State University (Illinois), and taught with the assistance of five trained student-veteran discussion leaders. Additional project components included two outside speakers, a televised town hall event recorded live before a public audience at the end of the fall semester course, and a roundtable at the university's spring research day. This NEH project serves Johnsen as a jumping-off point for responding to the developing scholarly engagement with the public humanities (theory, practice, and challenges) and to develop practical suggestions for how others might replicate or extrapolate project elements.

"War, Trauma, and the Humanities" was funded by one of the grant programs of the NEH's Standing Together initiative, and the specific grant program's title indicates key themes for those interested in the public humanities: "Dialogues on the Experience of War." In April, 2014 the NEH launched Standing Together: The Humanities and the Experience of War, offering grants to support the "study and discussion of important humanities sources about war, in the belief that these sources can help U.S. military veterans and others think more deeply about the issues raised by war and military service." In December, 2014 the NEH announced another new initiative, The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square. The creation of these two NEH initiatives in the same year, one on war experience and the other on public scholarship, overlap in important ways. Not only do they reflect a heightened investment in the public humanities in various forms, but Johnsen's talk will demonstrate how work done under the auspices of Standing Together ripples out into the territory of The Common Good.

Rosemary Erickson Johnsen is Professor of English at Governors State University, south of Chicago. She has published a book, Contemporary Feminist Historical Crime Fiction (Palgrave Macmillan), and articles on crime fiction, Irish literature, and pedagogy; her current book project is a comparative study of contemporary Irish and Scandinavian crime fiction. Johnsen's public scholarship activities include appearances as guest scholar for four productions at Chicago's Tony Award-winning Lookingglass Theatre,  articles in the Los Angeles Review of Books, and serving as online curator for In Media Res. She has spoken on public scholarship as a research subject at conferences and for campus service, and she published "Public Scholarship: Making the Case" in Modern Language Studies (2015). Johnsen received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in 2017. She is on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Popular Culture, and is a former member and co-chair of the MLA's Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession. See her website for more information.

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