The Dresher Center for the Humanities at UMBC
and the Anti-Racism and Action Faculty Working Group
Inclusion and Public Humanities:
Challenges and Opportunities for Justice-Oriented Teaching and Learning
Friday, April 8, 2022
UMBC, Virtual, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (EST)
The Humanities Symposium encourages connection among area scholars, students, and others who share a commitment to diversity and inclusion in the pursuit of the humanities. The Symposium presents innovative ideas and resources for engaged research, teaching, and programming to facilitate equity and social justice.
The 2022 Symposium spotlights the public humanities, which we define as research, teaching, and/or programming that has evolved through collaboration with individuals and organizations outside of the academy.
Public humanities assert that diverse groups of people can come together to engage in a meaningful and productive dialogue on subjects of common concern. Public humanities work also requires us to acknowledge significant barriers that continue to limit access to public spaces, humanities disciplines, and educational institutions. Through public humanities inquiry and learning, we think critically and concretely about how to ensure our practice is diverse, equitable, inclusive, and oriented toward social justice.
Recorded presentations are linked in the sessions below.
10:00 A.M. – 10:15 A.M.
Dr. Kimberly Moffitt, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, UMBC
Dr. Denise Meringolo, Dresher Center Acting Director, and Director of Public History, UMBC
10:20 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.
Keynote Address: “Art as a Site of Dialogue: Making Visible the 21st Century Social Justice Conversation”
Carol Rhodes Dyson, Community Curator, Busboys and Poets
11:10 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.
BREAK-OUT SESSION ONE
A. The Baltimore Field School Community Fellows Program
This panel discussion explores the Baltimore Field School project and its Community Fellows (CF) pilot program, a grant-supported public humanities partnership among Baltimore community members and organizations and UMBC’s Public Humanities program, Department of American Studies, and Orser Center for the Study of Place, Community & Culture. The CFs are developing models for collaborative humanities projects that are ethical, community-centered, and built on expertise that has originated outside of academia. These include projects related to journalism and public information, and racial equity, organizing and land justice.
Dr. Nicole King, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of American Studies, UMBC
Curtis Eaddy, Southwest Partnership, Baltimore Field School Community Fellow, 2021
Lisa Snowden, Baltimore Beat, Baltimore Field School Community Fellow, 2022
Dr. Tahira Mahdi, Psychology, UMBC, Baltimore Field School Evaluator
B. Emerging Scholarship: New Insights on Topics in the African Diaspora
This facilitated roundtable discussion among Coppin State University faculty and students shared perspectives on issues of social justice through the historical lens of the African Diaspora. During this deconstructed session, students analyzed topics surrounding police brutality, race relations, gentrification, war, the environment, historic interpretation, and preservation to address the continued quest to explain challenges faced in the past, and the effort to create a more equitable and inclusive future. The historical landscape, space, time, and memory are essential to understanding how social justice/in-justice has and continues to impact the African Diaspora. The extension of this knowledge is essential as it creates a collaborative space to define outcomes both inside and outside of the academy.
Dr. Abena Lewis-Mhoon, Associate Professor, Department of Humanities, Coppin State University
Dr. Katherine Bankole-Medina, Professor, Department of Humanities, Coppin State University
Dr. Teisha Dupree-Wilson, Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities, Coppin State University
Coppin State University History Students: Nichelle French, Lanice Holmes, Michael Johnson, William Johnson, April Lee, Sabriaha Poole, DaShay Rascoe, Tynesha Smith, Shayla Williams
C. “Doers Do”: Public History and the Pleasant View Historic Site
This facilitated dialogue highlights an ongoing and impactful collaboration between UMBC at Shady Grove’s Public History Program and the historic community of Pleasant View Historic Site, a nineteenth-century African American church, schoolhouse, and cemetery in Quince Orchard, Maryland. This project has empowered students to take part in hands-on history in their own community, and it has built strong peer-to-peer connections that transcend the classroom. At the same time, by opening the site to the university’s involvement and sharing their stories, trustees of Pleasant View have engaged a new generation of Montgomery County residents in the site’s long-term preservation. The dialogue will offer suggestions for undertaking similar engaged public humanities projects.
Dr. Melissa Blair, Senior Lecturer, Department of History and Public History Program, UMBC/Universities at Shady Grove
Reverend Dr. Gerard A. Green, Jr., Chair, Board of Trustees, Pleasant View Historical Association
12:10 P.M. – 1:00 P.M.
BREAK-OUT SESSION TWO
A. Lakeland’s Legacy: Public Humanities and Restorative Justice
The panel shared the story of the Lakeland Digital Archives (LDA) to explore how humanities projects can advance equality and racial justice. Begun by a community group in 2002, the LDA is a collection of heritage materials from residents of a group of closely connected historically African American communities in Prince George’s County, just outside of Washington, D.C. The project is modeled after community-based collections practices including oral history, commemoration, scrapbooking, and remixing. It has inspired the creation of a restorative justice process to address the harm urban renewal programs inflicted upon Lakelanders in the 1970s and 1980s.
Courtnie Thurston, M.A. Student, African American Studies, Morgan State University
Violetta Sharps-Jones, Vice-Chair, Lakeland Community Heritage Project
Trevor Muñoz, Director, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), University of Maryland, College Park
Maxine Gross, Chair, Lakeland Community Heritage Project
B. Uncovering Baltimore’s Real Heritage: Using UMBC Student Research for a More Inclusive Story
Over the last year, Baltimore Heritage has expanded and diversified the story it tells about Baltimore, while also exploring new methods of telling that story. The non-profit historic preservation organization has worked with UMBC students through a newly created internship focusing on diverse content for a place-based app and through history classes researching Baltimore’s historic neighborhoods, including Chinatown. Panelists addressed bridging the gap between scholarly research and public consumption, the importance of new student research, and the excitement of finding new ways to engage the public in their local history.
Molly Ricks, Community Engagement and Communications Manager, Baltimore Heritage
Aimee Pohl, M.A. Student, Historical Studies Program, UMBC
Garrett Freas, M.A. Student, Historical Studies Program, UMBC
Caitlin Schoen, Ph.D. Student, History, University of Maryland, College Park
1:10 P.M. – 2:00 P.M.
BREAK-OUT SESSION THREE
A. “Project Neutral Grounds”: At the Intersection of People, Street Food, and Hustle
Project Neutral Grounds is an innovative partnership project exploring the history of and relationship between Black and Brown street-food vendors when navigating space and place in post-Katrina New Orleans. Panelists discussed the planning process for the project with its core collaborators and the ways we hold each other accountable. This project is a “graduation” of past projects, and we hope to illustrate how we build from our ineluctable mistakes and constant processes of checking in to do better as we design a public humanities methodological paradigm that is ethical, intentional, and collaborative.
Dr. Sarah Fouts, Assistant Professor and Director of Public Humanities Minor Program, Department of American Studies, UMBC
Fernando López, New Orleans-based Cultural Documentarian
Toya Ex Lewis, Organizer, Southern Project Hustle
B. New Forms of Responsiveness: Reshaping Conversations with Peer Writing Consultants about Orientations to Anti-Oppression and Antiracist Practices in Baltimore University Writing Centers
How can writing center staff redistribute power and so “exceed” traditional training frameworks, curricula, epistemologies, practices, and spaces to develop new forms of responsiveness rooted in antiracist and anti-oppression orientations to writing in the academy and beyond? We will introduce the collaborative Baltimore Writing Center Project (BWCP). Panelists introduced how the BWCP engages multimodal strategies, egalitarian processes, and intersectional theoretical orientations to interrogate our roles in writing center practice and (re)position our work to radically confront linguistic racism and the reproduction of white language supremacy in our writing centers.
Elaine MacDougall, Lecturer and Writing Center Director, Department of English and Academic Success Center, UMBC
David Kelly, Writing Services Coordinator, University of Baltimore
James Wright, Writing Services Specialist, University of Maryland at Baltimore
University of Maryland at Baltimore Students: Ayushi Mohadikar, Callie Cromer, Holly Mancuso, Parth Bhatia
University of Baltimore Student: Hannah Collins
2:00 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.
Through the Inclusion Imperative Program, partners UMBC, Bowie State University, Coppin State University, and Howard University are cultivating a regional network of scholars who are committed to diversity and inclusion in the humanities. The Inclusion Imperative’s Diversity Teaching Network expands conversations on diversity in the curriculum, helps advance community-engaged and other socially aware humanities pedagogies, and creates a supportive environment for faculty. The Inclusion Imperative is funded through a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.