College of Arts and Sciences
Dean's Office

Varner Hall, Room 217
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-2140
Fax: (248) 370-4280

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John Corso-Esquivel, PhD, MFA
Co-Director, Center for Public Humanities
Associate Professor of Art History
Wilson Hall, Room 320
(248) 370-3380

Andrea Knutson, PhD
Co-Director, Center for Public Humanities
Associate Professor of English
O’Dowd Hall, Room 526
(248) 370-2258

Carrie Elliott
Social Media Intern, Winter 2020

Community Advisory Board
Adolfo Campoy-Cubillo
Graham Cassano
Dan Clark (Fall 2020 start)
Dominique Daniel
Mary Hartson
Kimmie Parker
George Sanders
Joseph Tardella
Josephine Walwema

Center for Public Humanities

Center for Public Humanities

The mission of the Center for Public Humanities is to advance excellence in public humanities and the arts to support and enrich Southeast Michigan’s diverse learning communities.

The center will establish a prestigious platform from which Oakland’s public intellectuals can offer humanistic scholarship and creative work in alternative, accessible formats for the benefit and enrichment of the region’s populace. We aim to reduce access barriers that might prevent the general public from engaging with the humanities.

This year, the center will engage the public by establishing a community advisory board. We will solicit programming ideas directly from community leaders and OU students. Listening to their suggestions will enable the center to build networks of interest to address crucial debates within the humanities and the arts today.

Press: "New Oakland University Center for Public Humanities the First in Michigan." Oakland University News. Oakland University, October 7, 2019.

Recent Events:

January 18, 2020 (Saturday)
Webinar: Envisioning the Public Humanities at OU

  • Dr. Susan Smulyan, Professor in the Department of American Studies at Brown University and the Director of the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, offered an engaging keynote talk. Dr. Smulyan offered different definitions of “public humanities” and shared case studies from Brown University. Guest speaker and OU alumna Kara Noto offered an account of her experience in the MA program in Public Humanities at Brown. Though initially planned as a luncheon, this event was rescheduled as a webinar to accommodate for inclement weather.

October 17, 2019 (Thursday)
Toni Morrison Film Screening

  • Coinciding with National Arts and Humanities Month, the Center screened the acclaimed 2019 documentary, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am to pay homage to the Nobel laureate writer and tireless advocate of the humanities. Kresge Fellow and poet Nandi Comer introduced the film and premiered her poem, “In Praise of More Important Things: For Toni Morrison.”