Publics for the Humanities?

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Literature, Humanities

Publics for the Humanities?
University of Toronto Quarterly – Volume 85, Number 4 (Fall 2016)

Now available online at and at Project MUSE


Meeting Our Publics: A Search for the Right Questions in Public Humanities
Robert Gibbs

This volume contributes to ongoing discussions about the possibilities for the humanities to relate to publics beyond the university. The essays offer a harvest of thinking from a two-day workshop sponsored by the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) and hosted at the Jackman Humanities Institute of the University of Toronto in June 2015. Scholars from North America, Europe, Africa, and Australasia gathered to develop a global perspective on issues that have changed radically since the broadcast and public lecture models of the mid-twentieth century. We focused on how to reinterpret the engagement of humanities scholarship with diverse publics, moving beyond the quasi-missionary outreach model of the traditional public humanities. What can we learn from our publics as well as bring to them? We explored the history of universities; theories of publics; public lectures and festivals; and, to a lesser extent, the task of justifying humanities to public funders and critics. Themes of inquiry and of education helped contain what we discussed, and our reflection was located in the spaces of humanities centres and research institutes – not in the main university locations of departments and disciplines.

What Are the Public Humanities? No, Really, What Are They?
Matthew Wickman

In Search of Peace: Public Humanities and the Face in Creative Arts
Jolyon Mitchell

Why the Humanities Must Be Public
David R. Shumway

The Public Role of Humanities Scholarship, in the Humboldtian Tradition
David Thunder

Theory Follows from Practice: Lessons from the Field
Doris Sommer and Pauline Strong

Public Humanities as Third Space: Memory, Meaning-Making and Collections and the Enunciation of “We” in Research
Cara Krmpotich

The Publics of the Adelaide Festival of Ideas
Robert Phiddian

Public Humanities in the Age of the Ideas Industry and the Rise of the Creatives
Jonathan Elmer

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