Research Seminars & Workshops

Public Humanities Programs

Past Events

Michael Hardt Public Works

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

Michael Hardt
Professor of Literature, Duke University

Thursday, April 20, 2017
4:00pm - 5:30pm
126 Memorial Library, 728 State Street

Leadership has become a conundrum that today's movements seem unable to solve, but the leadership problem in revolutionary and progressive movements is not entirely new.  In this lecture, Hardt will use some examples from past theory and practice to situate and clarify some of the issues and alternatives involved in the organization of social movements today.

Shamus Khan Public Works

Bringing the Elites to the Masses: Shamus Khan on Writing Beyond Academia

Shamus Khan
Associate Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

Friday, October 21, 2016
12:00pm - 1:00pm
313 University Club

Sociologist Shamus Khan studies high society and the exclusive private boarding schools that have shaped generations of the rich and powerful. But his writing on this research has reached very broad audiences, from the New York Times and the New Yorker to Time magazine.

In this brownbag conversation, he’ll share his own experiences of writing for larger publics as well as discuss the hows and whys of doing so.

Shamus Khan Public Works

Pitching Public Culture: Writing for Scholarly Audiences

Shamus Khan
Associate Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
12:00pm - 1:00pm
313 University Club

When Shamus Khan took over as the editor of Public Culture in 2015, he outlined his editorial vision in an interview: scholarly rigor and clear writing. As a sociologist, Khan was familiar with the intellectual tradition of the journal, but as someone who often wrote for broader audiences, he had also come to appreciate clear prose.

In this brownbag conversation, Khan will talk about what he’s looking for at Public Culture, from how to pitch your idea to how to polish your writing, as well as his thoughts on the state of academic writing more broadly.

Molly Harris and the Wisconsin Veteran’s Museum HEX Program

Warrior Book Club

Molly Harris and the Wisconsin Veteran’s Museum

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
7:00pm - 8:30pm
Wisconsin Veteran's Museum, 3rd Floor, 30 W. Mifflin St.

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum introduces WARRIOR BOOK CLUB. This fall, the group will explore the theme of deployment in the books The Things They Carried, Redeployment, and a modern translation of Philoctetes. Books will be provided. The events are free, but registration is requested.

For more information or to register, contact Erin Hoag at: (608) 264-7663 or email:

You can also register online at: or through Facebook.

A pop-up hosted by Drunk Lunch

Fête des artistes: An evening celebrating Madison-based design, inspired by agnès b.

A pop-up hosted by Drunk Lunch

Thursday, April 21, 2016
5:30pm - 8:00pm
807 E Johnson St

Join us for a celebration of Madison's design and art communities, inspired by the work of French fasion designer agnès b.

Hosted by Drunk Lunch Art Gallery, the event will include:
DJ Jack Neiweem
Video installations
Collage-making, inspired by point d'ironie
Wm. Chocolate
Dinner by Underground Catering
Discussion with featured artists Michael Doyle Olsen, William Marx, Mollie Martin, and Center Director, Sara Guyer
and more

agnès b. will visit Madison a week later, on Thursday, March 28, at Madison Central Public Library, for a conversation with Center Director Sara Guyer, and pre- and post-receptions.

Eric Cline Public Works Seminar

Translating Scholarship for Grants and Popular Audiences

Eric Cline
Professor of Classics and Anthropology, and Director of the Capitol Archaeological Institute, at George Washington University

Friday, December 4, 2015 @ 12:00pm University Club, Room 313

Join Eric Cline, NEH Public Scholar and National Geographic Explorer, for a roundtable discussion with UW-faculty Nick Cahill (Art History) and Jeff Beneker (Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies). They will discuss how to translate scholarship for grant applications and popular audiences, and how to maintain one's academic credibility while doing so.

Jeannie Suk Public Works Seminar

Law and Literature in the Public Sphere

Jeannie Suk
Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

Friday, November 13, 2015 @ 12:00pm University Club, Room 313

Professor of Law and scholar of French literature Jeannie Suk will discuss the impact her study of the humanities has had on her career in law, including her work as a law clerk to Justice David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court; as a prosecutor at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office; and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence.

Craig Eley and Steve Paulson Public Works Seminar

The Art of Radio: Making Scholarly Voices Public

Craig Eley and Steve Paulson
ACLS Fellow; Executive Producer of the To the Best of Our Knowledge

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 @ 4:00pm University Club, Room 313

In this seminar, Steve Paulson and Craig Eley will discuss the tension between scholarly knowledge and public audiences, the power of radio as a platform, and provide some practical tips for scholars at any stage of their career interested in amplifying their own voices to broader publics.

Jeremy Morris, Dean Blackwood, Craig Eley, Amanda Petrusich, and more Public Humanities Symposium

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Paramount Records

Jeremy Morris, Dean Blackwood, Craig Eley, Amanda Petrusich, and more

Thursday, April 23 through Saturday, April 25 Multiple Locations

Jointly released by Jack White’s Third Man Records and John Fahey’s Revenant Records, The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records 1917-1932 is a two-volume omnibus of art, words and music from the label that “would become a ‘race records’ powerhouse, its sound and fortunes directly linked to the Great Migration.” Join us for three days of music, conversation, and workshops to celebrate this historic release, and explore the legacy of Wisconsin's own Paramount Records.

For the symposium schedule, see Conferences.

Debjani Ganguly Public Works Seminar

Global Humanities and the Problem of the 'Public': An Antipodean Perspective

Debjani Ganguly
Head, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 @ 4:00pm University Club Building, Room 313

Debjani Ganguly will address the political economy of the global in the way that it impacts the functioning of humanities in contemporary Australia; and the thematics of the global as reflected in the intellectual agenda of humanities research in the Australia and the Asia- Pacific region, how this gets calibrated in terms of its worldly consequences, and the idea of the 'publics' for such research.

Julia Reinhard Lupton Public Works Seminar

Design and the Public Humanities

Julia Reinhard Lupton
Associate Dean for Research and Director of the Humanities Commons, University of California-Irvine

Friday, March 13, 2015 @ 12:00pm Banquet Room, University Club Building

Shakespeare scholar and DIY designer Julia Lupton talks about the role of branding, story-telling, and a girl named Helvetica in humanities scholarship, teaching, advocacy, and creative life. Topics include humanities courses that engage design and design research; how a little design can go a long way in humanities settings; and tales from the contemporary experience economy, including service design, user-oriented design, social marketing, and design for the 99%.

Lunch will be provided at this event. A reservation is required.

Please email to reserve a spot.

Laura Anderson Barbata Public Works Seminar

Art in the Social Realm

Laura Anderson Barbata
2015 Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence, UW-Madison Arts Institute

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 @ 4:00pm Room 313, University Club Building

Our Public Works Seminars continue this spring with 2015 Artist-in-Residence at the UW Madison Arts Institute, and professor at the Escuela Nacional de Escultura, Pintura y Grabado La Esmeralda of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, México, Laura Anderson Barbata. Best known for public art performances that reinforce respect for cultural heritage and strengthen a sense of identity in underserved and impoverished populations, Barbata will focus on collaboration, local and broad-based community engagement, and the role of the arts in public discourse and social change.

Anthony Grafton and Sara Guyer Public Works Seminar

Moving Beyond Plan B: Humanities Careers Outside Academia

Anthony Grafton and Sara Guyer
Henry Putnam Professor of History, Princeton University; Director, Center for the Humanities, UW-Madison

Thursday, November 13, 2014 @ 4:00pm University Club, Room 313

Brad Zellar Public Works Seminar

Two Guys in a Van: Image, Text, and the Pleasures and Perils of Collaboration

Brad Zellar
Author, Journalist, 2014 Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence, UW-Madison Arts Institute

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 @ 4:00pm University Club, Room 313

Jesse Stommel Public Works Seminar

New-Form Scholarship and the Public Digital Humanities

Jesse Stommel
Assistant Professor, Department of Liberal Arts and Applied Studies, UW-Madison

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 @ 4:00pm University Club, Room 313

Alexandra Rudnick and the Madison Children’s Museum HEX Program Presentation

KidShare Screening: Digital Storytelling from Truax

Alexandra Rudnick and the Madison Children’s Museum

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 @ 4:00pm Madison Children's Museum, 100 N. Hamilton St.

Join us for the debut of student filmmakers from the East Madison and Meadowood Community Centers. These four films - conceived, written, produced, and edited by middle and high schoolers - represent what matters most to the students, from the Center itself, friends, and sports, to simply having a safe and welcoming place to call their own. Join them at the Madison Children's Museum (MCM) to celebrate the films' debut, meet the filmmakers, and learn more about the MCM's new KidShare initiative.

Project Director: Alexandra Rudnick, 2013-14 Public Humanities Exchange Scholar. This project is a program of the Madison Children's Museum's KidShare Learning Lab.

Free and open to the public. Please email Jeff Kollath to register.

Self-Publishing Basics Public Humanities Fellow Presentation

Self-Publishing Basics
Kelly Hiser & Madison Public Library

Saturday, December 14, 2013 @ 1:00pm Room 302, Madison Central Library, 201 W. Mifflin St.

Join a team of librarians and published authors for a workshop that will introduce you to the basics of self publishing online. Learn about free tools that you can use to turn your work into an eBook. Hear about the issues and challenges that face authors who publish on their own. Get practical advice about marketing and building an audience for your work. Learn about library resources that can help at every stage of the process, from writing to cover design.

Project Director: Kelly Hiser, 2013-14 Public Humanities Fellow, Madison Public Library.

This program is part the Wisconsin Book Festival's year-long programming.

Free and open to the public. Please register here.

Elizabeth Barr (Communication Arts) and Students from Malcolm Shabazz Alternative High School HEX Program Presentation

Zine Workshop

Elizabeth Barr (Communication Arts) and Students from Malcolm Shabazz Alternative High School

Saturday, December 7, 2013 @ 9:30am Bubbler Room, Madison Central Library, 201 W. Mifflin St.

Malcolm Shabazz High School students who have been participating in a semester-long zine workshop will facilitate a workshop at the Madison Public Library. They will talk briefly about the basics of zine making and help workshop participants make their own zines on the theme of winter in Madison. At 1:30 pm, they will share their own work from this semester-long Public Humanities Exchange (HEX) project.  Don't know what a zine is?  Read more here.

Project Director: Elizabeth Barr, 2013-14 Public Humanities Exchange Scholar.

This program is part of the Meet Your Makers series at the Madison Public Library.