Mellon Mini-Course: Understanding Research Career Pathways through Health Humanities

This is the first in a new series of blog posts by participants in Mellon Public Humanities Mini-Courses.  By Amanda Greene, PhD Candidate, English Language and Literature I decided to go to grad school because I wanted a research career. When I began my program, I assumed that this was necessarily synonymous with the elusive R1 university, tenure track position. Over the last year, though, I’ve come to understand that the university is not the only place where rigorous humanities research is possible and have started to see a diverse […]

A Defining Humanities Experience

By Rachel Cawkwell, PhD Student in English Language and Literature Humanties. It was one of the several misspellings of the word humanities that I made while transcribing four hours of audio from focus groups I conducted this summer. Each new sentence seemed to result in a…creative…new version of the word. But this one gave me pause. It may be a fault of my humanistic training that I look for meaning in too many places, including my spelling mistakes, but it seemed important to dwell on the connection of humanities with human […]

The Next Generation of the Humanities, or A Good Problem to Have

By Malcolm Tariq, PhD Candidate, Department of English Language and Literature On my first day at the National Endowment for the Humanities, I met the Director of Human Resources. When the director learned in which division I’d be working he responded, “Oh, he’s going have fun.” The staff member agreed: “Yeah, he’s going to have fun.” The receptionist nodded her head in agreement. “Yes, fun.” I didn’t know what to think of this. Months before, I had a Skype interview with three staff members and some phone calls with the Director of […]

Storytelling and Community-Building through Mellon Public Humanities Fellowships

By Christina LaRose, PhD Candidate, English & Women’s Studies I discovered the power of storytelling in the early 1990s when Princeton historian Dr. Alixa Naff interviewed my Syrian great-grandmother, Najla Simon, for her book, Becoming American: The Early Arab Immigrant Experience (Southern Illinois University Press, 1993). I became intrigued by Najla’s oral history, which Dr. Naff had recorded on several cassette tapes, and listened to them often while visiting my grandparents. By answering Dr. Naff’s thought-provoking questions, Najla traced her journey from a minority Christian community in Damascus to the United […]

A Historian’s Experience in Software Development

By Ana M. Silva, PhD Candidate, Department of History Can a History PhD provide the skills for a career in software development? Two months ago, when I started working at the MATRIX Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences at Michigan State University, I didn’t have a clear answer to that question. I had no previous training in computer science and, frankly, after five years in a PhD program in Latin American History, I thought that it was a little late to venture outside of my field to learn something […]

“More Than You Think You Are”

By Emily Macgillivray, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of American Culture In 2002 pop-rock band Matchbox 20 released their third studio album, More Than You Think You Are. At the time, I was an angst-y, insecure, awkward, teenager. Fourteen years have passed, but grad school and particularly talks about the job market and “life after the dissertation” can easily bring up feelings of anxiety and self-consciousness, making me feel like a 15-year-old walled up in my room badly singing along to Unwell. When I received a Mellon Public Humanities Fellowship at the Charles […]

Diving into Philanthropy at the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation

By Jennifer Alzate González, PhD Candidate, English Language and Literature Nonprofit grantmaking, impact assessment, the philanthropy sector — before my 8-week fellowship at the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, I had only the haziest idea what these terms meant.  And I often joked, to appreciative laughter, that my dissertation had nothing to do with these concepts.  But with the help of mentor Jillian Rosen and AAACF’s small, tight-knit staff, I found myself and my whole outlook on academia changed through this eight week immersion into the world of community foundations. You […]

Is Public Scholarship About Telling Stuff To More People?

By Cassius Adair, PhD Candidate, Department of English I love to talk at people, which is one of the reasons I speak on more panels than maybe I should. Last month I ran– literally jogged across the Diag like a tardy freshman– from academic job market training in Angell Hall to a public scholarship panel on Rackham. In a way this is a heavy-handed metaphor for my academic life: my research lives in one building, my community engagement work elsewhere. Out of breath and sweaty, I arrived at the public […]

Putting the Humanities into Practice

By Shana Melnysyn, PhD Candidate, Anthropology and History When I first considered applying for a Mellon Public Humanities Fellowship, I wasn’t very familiar with what the Michigan Humanities Council did, nor was I aware that every state in the U.S.A. has its own humanities council. But as soon as I started investigating their support for small-scale, community-based projects, I learned about their focus on the arts, literacy, history, and racial equity, and I knew it was the place for me. I’d been a fellow at the Institute for the Humanities […]

How I Spent my Summer Vacation: A Historian’s Report

By Jacqueline D. Antonovich, PhD Candidate, Department of History I’ll be honest with you. One of the best perks of being a historian are the summers. While grad student historians toil away the school year teaching, reading, writing, and attending lectures, we have the unbelievably cool perk of traveling all over the world during summer break. For historians, summer means hopping in a car, train, or airplane (often a combination of all three) and spending weeks, even months in archives and libraries in cities across the globe. We get the […]