Public Humanities and Digital Publishing Are Meant For Each Other

The public humanities present unique opportunities to researchers and publishers seeking greater engagement with non-academic audiences and local communities. Research in the publicly engaged humanities is produced in collaboration with the public and meant to be read by the public. This turn towards the public changes the game a little for researchers and publishers typically engaged in a more closely held exchange of ideas amongst experts in the field. Last year, I had the opportunity to join a group of professionals from publishing and academia to discuss the most important concerns when considering publishing in the public humanities.

Convened by Kath Burton of Taylor & Francis and Daniel Fisher of the National Humanities Alliance, the group brainstormed the most salient points to emphasize for anyone preparing to publish in the field. We split into focus groups to dig deeper into some of the points we collectively raised. You can find a list of sections and their authors below. I joined with Darcy Cullen of the University of British Columbia Press to lay out the potential and unique opportunities when using the affordances of digital publishing to further the goals of the public humanities, paying special attention to the publishing lifecycle.

Besides us, Catherine Cocks of Michigan State University Press and Anne Valk, CUNY Graduate Center, discuss the “Value of Publishing Public Humanities Scholarship.” Janneken Smucker, West Chester University, and Rebecca Wingo, University of Cincinnati, cover “Inclusivity in Publishing Public and Publicly Engaged Humanities Scholarship,” and Barry M. Goldenberg, Teachers College, Columbia University, and Dave Tell, University of Kansas, offer advice on “Capturing the Process of Public Humanities Scholarship.”

Head over to to read the full paper and to join the discussion group.

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