2022 Scholars and Society Fellows Convening, Los Angeles, November 2022 by Heather Mangrum

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ACLS hosted twelve Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellows and thirteen humanities graduate students from their schools in Los Angeles on Thursday, November 10, 2022. The meeting took place as a parallel event to the 2022 National Humanities Conference, for which ACLS sponsored attendance for
these special guests.

The Scholars and Society program, which named three cohorts of fellows in 2019, 2020, and 2021, was designed to support doctoral faculty in advancing publicly engaged humanities research projects with community organizations and promoting change in doctoral education to create space for more public scholarship. The program was made possible by a grant from the Mellon Foundation.

At the Los Angeles meeting, participating fellows and graduate students represented a variety of colleges and universities from across the country including Brandeis University, Texas Tech, University of Hawai‘i, University of Washington, and several schools in the University of California system.

ACLS convened the workshop participants to gain insights and perspectives of faculty and graduate students about the value of community-engaged humanities research and how best to support it in doctoral curricula and as part of graduate student professional development.

During this full day of small group conversations and sharing approaches, participants explored:

  • What might Scholars and Society Fellows, graduate student collaborators, or community partners tell us about training publicly engaged scholars?
  • What kinds of support and scholarly infrastructure might help to advance publicly engaged scholarship at the doctoral level?
  • How do academic career structures constrain the possibilities for publicly engaged research, and how might we activate them to enable the same?

The pre-conference was one of the highlights for me, it allowed me to spend time thinking with PhD students at UCI. I was invigorated to have the time and space to really connect about the successes and challenges that other faculty and graduate students face while working in the humanities. The greatest pre-conference benefit was that it created a place for us to further our connections and establish our own community, there’s deep value in that and I am already thinking of ways to incorporate this ethic into collective projects and work.”

Tiara R. Na’puti F’21
Assistant Professor, Global and International Studies University of California, Irvine

2021 Scholars and Society Fellow for the project “Sovereignty & Climate Change in Guåhan: Creating Sustainable Futures” for which she partnered with with the Guåhan (Guam)-based community organization Independent Guåhan.

At the National Humanities Conference, the Federation of State Humanities Councils and the National Humanities Alliance bring together representatives from colleges, universities, state humanities councils, cultural institutions, and other community-based organizations to explore approaches to deepening the public’s engagement with the humanities. Following the ACLS workshop, fellows and graduate students participated in several sessions together and contributed to active conversations on subjects including Indigenous rights [sovereignty] movements, equitable community partnerships, and participatory research design.

“Ultimately, we will be sharing information gathered in this meeting and others, documenting what is working and where more support is needed,” said Desiree Barron-Callaci, Senior Program Officer at ACLS. “We want to create the best ecosystem for scholars interested in publicly engaged research and for preparing doctoral students in these methods, which is critical to the continued vitality of the community of practice growing around efforts like the Scholars and Society program.”

Supporting Scholars Beyond the Fellowship Term

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