In the “Scholar as Human” project, a group of Cornell University faculty, staff, and graduate students met once per week for an entire year to explore the intersections of their academic interests and research projects with their private lives and identities.  We know that our personal histories drive and shape our pursuits, and we are aware of the sacrifice involved in stripping our scholarship of those personal dimensions, but the academy has only so much tolerance for “other” voices, for approaches that are not recognizably “scientific,” or for “soft” topics like children, justice, and love.  In our meetings, we discussed issues ranging from teaching philosophies to immigration policies. We then took our discussions to the streets and the community organizations in Ithaca. We worked with people on campus and off, in many different settings. We thought deeply about what it means to collaborate with a range of communities, including elementary age children participating in a local festival, area activists incensed by recent political developments, as well as learners of all ages and backgrounds.

The central question guiding our exploration was: what does academic work look like when it is conceived in, with, and for different public spheres. Our projects represent a broad range of possibilities.

This website serves as an archive for some of our thinking about public scholarship, and it provides a preview of a book in-progress.

Participants in the Seminar

About the Mellon Grant

This seminar was part of a five-year Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences to fund a diversity fellowship program. Diversity and inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage, and these Mellon fellowships are designed to support the early development of scholars who show promise of distinguished research careers and who are from sectors of the population historically underrepresented on the professorial faculties of U.S. colleges and universities. Recipients might come from underrepresented minority groups, have faced economic hardship, be first-generation college graduates, or work on topics related to these areas.

Years, Seminar Leaders, and Themes

2012-13 :: Gerard Aching: “Indigeneity”
2013-14 :: Eric Cheyfitz: “Diverse and Divergent (Post)Modernities”
2014-15 :: Leslie Adelson: “Lived Worlds and Possible Futures”
2015-16 :: Sandra Greene: “Conformity and Its Discontents”
2016-17 :: Debra Castillo: “Scholars as Humans: Enacting the Liberal Arts in Public”