Broadening the Reach of the Humanities

A challenge for humanities scholars has been reaching beyond an academic audience. Below are some programs, resources, and reports exploring the different ways the humanities can rise to meet a larger audience.

At Georgetown

Connected Academics explores how doctoral students in the humanities can be trained for a wide variety of careers, both within and outside of the university context. Connected Academics aims to equip the next generation of humanists to work and engage with various audiences outside of academia.

The Arts & Humanities Program at Georgetown's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center promotes an optimum life experience for patients, family members, and caregivers with activities, resources, education, and environments that encourage a creative and constructive response to illness.

Humanities: Arts, Literatures, and Cultures - Georgetown College students are required to take at least one course in the humanities. "Through reading, writing, and creative practice, students acquire the intellectual and practical tools to interpret and critique the world."

A Home for Humanities' Scholarship - In December 2015, Provost Robert Groves appointed a working group to explore the feasibility of building a Humanities Institute at Georgetown.

Grant Funding

ACLS Beyond the Academy
The ACLS Public Fellows program aims to expand the reach of doctoral education in the United States by demonstrating that the capacities developed in the advanced study of the humanities have wide application, both within and beyond the academy. The program places recent humanities PhDs in staff positions at partnering agencies in government and the non-profit sector for two-year appointments. 

NEH - Humanities in the Public Square
This program provides support for programs that demonstrate the vital role that humanities ideas can play in our civic life and supports projects that draw on humanities scholarship to engage the public in understanding some of today’s most challenging issues and pressing concerns

NEH - Public Scholar Program
This program supports well-researched books in the humanities intended to reach a broad readership. Books supported by this program must be grounded in humanities research and scholarship; they must address significant humanities themes likely to be of broad interest and be written in a readily accessible style.

NEH-Mellon Fellowships for Digital Publication
These fellowships support individual scholars pursuing research projects that require digital expression and digital publication. Project must be conceived as digital because the nature of the research and the topics being addressed demand presentation beyond traditional print publication. Successful projects will likely incorporate visual, audio, and/or other multimedia materials or flexible reading pathways that could not be included in traditionally published books.

Mellon Foundation - Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities
This program assists select colleges, universities, and research institutes in the work of training scholars and producing scholarship in the humanities broadly conceived, and thereby contributing to culture and society.

Mellon Foundation - Scholarly Communication / Electronic Publishing
This program supports the development of digital reference resources, editions, journals, and book-length works.  These grants are made for programs that build the capacities of not-for-profit academic presses and other organizations that act as publishers to produce high-quality, broadly accessible, digital products.

Mellon Foundation - Diversity
This program (not limited to the humanities) seeks to help diversify the next generation of college and university faculty through the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) and other pipeline programs; it also aims to strengthen institutions that improve educational attainment of historically underrepresented groups.

Articles and Reports

Academics Can Change the World - If They Stop Talking Only to Their Peers
This article follows a report examining the citation pattern of humanities papers, finding that 82% of those published are never cited thereafter. Where does comprehensiveness end and complexity begin for readers? For authors?

Applied? Translational? Open? Digital? Public? New models for the Humanities
In this blog post, Professor Steven Lubar of Brown University considers the 5 most common adjectives put before the word “humanities” to try to understand and compartmentalize the potential ways forward to reaffirm the value of studying and advancing the humanities.

The Case for Academics as Public Intellectuals
This article weighs in on the importance of making research understandable to wide audiences; if the goal is to better and advance the world, the world should be able to read it.

The Humanities Matter!
This infographic from provides statistical data to show how the humanities benefit society.

Humanities Unbound: Supporting Careers and Scholarship Beyond the Tenure Track
This report from the University of Virginia considers what non-curricular skills need be taught in PhD programs as to best prepare their graduates for careers inside and outside of a university setting.