The Public Humanities Labs Initiative is a scholarly and pedagogical project that aims to integrate Humanities skills and expertise into public facing and/or community curated projects addressing topics of cultural, social, and intellectual importance.
These projects may involve storytelling, oral history, historical analysis, public writing, digital humanities, ethical inquiry, medical humanities, archival work, and many other areas of knowledge.
Public Humanities in the News
Professor of History Rebecca Bennette was featured in a September 2023 Seven Day’s article, A Middlebury College Professor Uses Graphic Novels to Breathe New Life Into the Study of History. The article highlights Bennette’s efforts to make history more accessible and relevant for today’s students—and how the general public can benefit.
As practitioners of public humanities, students experiment with different forms of public scholarship designed to translate their intellectual output to a broader community beyond the classroom. In doing so, they learn to combine serious intellectual rigor with commitment to civic awareness and responsibility. Some Labs classes include the opportunity to develop students’ Humanities coursework into projects co-created with community interlocutors.
Explore Humanities Projects on Campus
Students enrolled in classes with Public Humanities Laboratory will see firsthand how skills they are developing in the class can be mobilized and tested in productive new ways outside the classroom.
Projects may involve any and all of the following as students engage in work of tangible importance to their own intellectual development:
- Mining Library Special Collections to create an exhibit or workshop about local history.
- Collecting oral histories about immigration to Vermont.
- Working with local museums to explore unexamined archives or create new archives.
- Learning from journalists how to craft op-eds on issues of local and national importance.
From 2021 to 2024, the Public Humanities Labs Initiative at Middlebury College will operate with the help of a grant from the Davis Educational Foundation established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis’s retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc.
If you’re interested in teaching a Public Humanities Lab course, or simply learning more about this program, please contact contact Ian Barrow.
- Rebecca Bennette: FYSE 1045 History, Representation, and the Graphic Novel
- Laurie Essig: GSFS 0225 Making Feminist Media
- James Fitzsimmons: FYSE 1064 The Artistry of the Maya Scribe
- Rachael Joo: AMST 0380 The Immigrant Memoir
- Adi Livny: INTD 0224 Town & Gown Middlebury History
- Bettina Matthias: GRMN 0285 Weimar Germany Revisited (in English)
- Otilia Milutin: JAPN 0290 The Tale of Genji (in English)
- Rebecca Mitchell: HIST 0465 Nuclear Cold War
- Stefano Mula: ITAL 0375 Italy Today: From the Margins to the Center
- Linda White: JAPN 0285 Sustainable Japan: Nature, Culture, and Env. (in English)
- Holly Allen: AMST 0109 U.S. Origin Stories
- Eliza Garrison: FYSE 1032 Bayeux Tapestry
- Markus Gerke: SOCI 0218 Sociology of Sport
- Rebecca Mitchell: HIST 0313 Revolutionary Russia
- Marybeth Nevins ANTH 0225 Native North America
- John Spackman: PHIL 0354 Philosophy of Language
- Carly Thomsen: GSFS 0329 Politics of Reproduction
- Catharine Wright: GSFS 0291 Feminist Joy
- Ellery Foutch: AMST 0314 Vermont Collaborations Public Humanities Lab
- Genie Giaimo: FYSE 1004 Meaningful Writing
- Elsa Mendoza: FYSE 1001 Baseball, Society & US History
- Marybeth Nevins: ANTH 0125 Language Structure & Function
- Sarah Rogers: HARC 0374 WWI: Art and Photography
- Linsey Sainte-Claire: FREN 0330 Education in the Caribbean
- Erin Sassin: HARC 0364 State of Emergency/Aftermaths
- James Davis: RELI 293 Ethics in Health Care
- Hemangini Gupta: GSFS 308 Gender, Technology & Future
- Rebecca Mitchell: HIST 465 Nuclear Cold War: Americans, Soviets and the Fate of the World
- Katy Smith-Abbott: HARC 356 Awe
- Carly Thomsen: GSFS 289 Introduction to Queer Critique
- Catharine Wright: GSFS 290 Feminist Joy
- Genie Giaimo: WRPR 1008 The Art and Science of the Interview
- Lana Povitz: HIST 1028 Practicing Oral History
- Dima Ayoub: ARBC 241 Blackness and the Arab Imaginary
- Justin Doran: RELI 271 Death in Latin America
- Heidi Grasswick: PHIL 214 Science and Society
- Will Nash: AMST/ENAM/BLST 358 Reading Slavery and Abolition
- Sarah Rogers: HARC 243 Art and Protest
- Erin Sassin: HARC 339 Home: The Why Behind the Way We Live
- Shawna Shapiro: FYSE 1405 Language and Social Justice
- James Davis: RELI 293 Health Care Ethics
- Ellery Foutch: AMST 314 Vermont Collaborations: Public Humanities Lab
- Eliza Garrison: HARC 257 The Bayeux Tapestry: Models, Contexts, and Afterlives
- Genie Giaimo: WRPR 212 Issues and Methods in Tutoring Writing
- Hemangini Gupta: GSFS 308 Gender, Technology and the Future
- Jamie McCallum: SOCI 405 Pandemic Sociology
- Will Nash: AMST 259 Re-Presenting Slavery
- Marybeth Nevins: ANTH 395 Environmental Communication: Conflicts over Renewable Energy in Vermont
- Rebecca Tiger: SOCI 288 Deviance and Social Control
- Hector Vila: WRPR/ENVS 210 Social Class and the Environment