Faculty Coleaders

The Center for the Humanities is currently seeking 6 full-time CUNY Faculty Coleaders to participate in the Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research at the CUNY Graduate Center.


What is the Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research?

The Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research is a two-year public humanities initiative generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The seminar, which will run from 2019 – 2022, builds on The Center for the Humanities’ successful past two iterations of the initiative to promote the diverse ways the humanities function in public life as a public good. Bringing together a network of at least 38 faculty, students, adjuncts and art professionals, and–uniquely–civic, cultural, and community partners, the seminar produces and circulates research through public projects, engaged scholarship, and interdisciplinary activities at the City University of New York and in New York City itself.

For more information about projects produced by past Seminar participants, click here.


In order to activate a range of academic disciplines, the seminar is organized into three distinct research teams. The overall seminar and its integrated research teams provide a tiered, networked structure to promote both broad inquiry into public research methodologies as well as focused scholarship on specific critical topics that bridge the arts and humanities, the digital humanities, the humanities-related social sciences, and social justice. Each research team (of 8-10 participants) is led by 2 Faculty Coleaders.

The Seminar will support various forms of intellectual and cultural production exploring research related to three open-ended themes. These themes are meant to serve as springboards rather than prescriptions: themes, methods, and outcomes will ultimately be designed collaboratively by participants:

  • Blue Humanities: What implications does “the oceanic turn” in modernity have on colonial, imperial, and environmental humanistic scholarship? How does the social construction of the global ocean shape life on land and notions of the nation state? This research team could explore the ways in which any number of waterborne issues transform how societies perceive, construct, and manage coastal ecologies and economies. As an archipelago, New York City is fertile territory for public scholars to inquire into and act in concert with numerous communities engaged in waterfront advocacy along its historic rivers, parks, shores, and ports.
  • The Humanities and Public Discourse: How can humanistic research and activities enrich public discourse on topics including education, democratic practice, and civic inclusivity? In an increasingly polarized culture, might public humanities practices and community engagement  create opportunities to better understand, and thus mitigate, the personal, social, historical, and cultural conditions that prevent open, democratic conversation across difference? This group will research, analyze, and deploy strategies for transforming conflict into constructive public debate.
  • Urban Neighborhoods: What role does humanistic research play in bettering urban life at the neighborhood level? How can the public humanities help preserve the uniqueness of diverse and integrated cultural and ethnic enclaves in cities increasingly homogenized by rising rent, local development, and the global real estate market? We envision this theme bringing together a diverse cohort of humanists and social scientists to activate topics ranging from immigration and sanctuary to equitable food distribution; from community control of public and green spaces to community archives and oral histories; from gentrification and displacement to public art and the production of culture; from local governance and participatory budgeting to racial, religious, and linguistic inclusivity.

What is a public humanities project?

Some examples of public projects collaboratively produced through the seminar include: archival research, intervention, and presentation; artworks; exhibitions; films; choreographic works and performances; classroom initiatives; translations; co-authored articles; public syllabi; workshops and classes; interpretive websites and interactive digital platforms; theatrical productions; books and publications; and community actions. Public projects are seated in serious scholarly research and connect communities working both inside and outside the university setting through engaged activities. For more information, view here.


Full-time CUNY faculty in the humanities or humanities-related social sciences with experience in the public humanities will be considered. Both individual and collaborative applications with other full-time CUNY faculty from the GC and senior and community colleges are welcome. If you apply as an individual and are selected you will be paired with another CUNY faculty coleader to lead one of three research teams (themes and structures outlined above).


This highly competitive two-year position offers four course leaves over four semesters as well as a substantial programmatic budget with which to produce public humanities projects in collaboration with a research team. The Center for the Humanities will provide logistical support for these collaborative activities.

Seminar Structure 

SPRING 2020: Faculty coleaders will meet monthly in spring 2020 to build plans, set goals, establish community partnerships, and share strategies for student and public engagement with senior advisors, doctoral students, and Center staff. This R&D period will help feed into the production of ongoing public projects.

FALL 2020–SPRING 2022): Faculty coleaders will head one of three research groups working under the rubric of the seminar to plan and promote public humanities activities in collaboration with community partners. These activities will take place throughout the duration of the grant.

SPRING 2021–SPRING 2022: Public activities culminate. Faculty coleaders will have an opportunity to work alongside teaching fellows and digital fellows in reflection, analysis, and documentation of ongoing projects, resulting in digital, new media, and print interfaces that model and analyze public scholarship for a wide readership


– Attend weekly monthly meetings and/or professional development workshops at the GC in spring 2020;

– Lead regular planning meetings with research team comprised of 8-10 participants from fall 2020-spring 2022

– Assist in the selection of community partners and other participants;

–  Plan and promote public projects in the humanities in collaboration with other faculty, staff, students, and community partners;

– Contribute timely writing and reflections about public humanities work to a collaborative white paper and for the Center for the Humanities website at the conclusion of the first and second year of the grant;

– Advise doctoral student digital fellows, teaching fellows, and independent study students to produce digital, pedagogical, and interpretive offshoots of their research.

Information Session Video

Click here or below to watch the Information Session, which outlines eligibility and application instructions and offers an overarching framework of the goals, values, and organizational structure of this expansive public humanities initiative:


Please download and fill out the PDF below as your application. The PDF should be saved as Last Name_First Name_CUNY AFFILIATION and emailed, along with your CV to ch@gc.cuny.edu

*We highly suggest taking a look at the application now. However, we will be releasing informational videos and offering past project examples throughout the summer, so we encourage you to take your time with this application. There will be several informational sessions at the Graduate Center in early September.

Click here or below to download the PDF Application Form.