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Bisson Lecture: Naming the New Public Humanists

Fri, Apr 26, 2013, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Dr. Julie Ellison, professor of American Culture and English at the University of Michigan, will give the 2013 Bisson Lecture on Naming the New Public Humanists.The Bisson Lecture in the Humanities was established in 2009 in honor of Professor Lillian Bisson. A scholar of medieval literature, former director of the graduate program in Humanities, and chair of the Department of Literature and Languages, Professor Bisson retired from Marymount in 2010 after forty-one years of service.
Dr. Ellison is one of the foremost experts in the U.S. on emergent models of socially responsive knowledge creation in the humanities and arts. She was the founding director of Imaging America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, which is now a consortium of over 100 colleges and universities. In 2009, with Kristin Hass, Dr. Ellison also founded the Public Humanities Institute at Michigan's Rackham School of Graduate Study. Currently, she is leading a new national initiative, “Citizen Alum," a program of the American Commonwealth Partnership. Citizen Alum is a multi-institutional project that involves 20 campuses and is based at the University of Michigan. It counters the image of alumni as primarily "donors," with a vision of them also as "doers" – active participants with colleges and universities in creative problem-solving for the public good. Diverse campus/alumni teams are supporting students through the college-to-life transition and creating multigenerational communities of active citizenship.

In this presentation, Dr. Ellison will focus on the role of the academic humanist in the many civic engagement initiatives permeating higher education. This lecture represents her current book project, "Lyric Citizenship," which is under contract with The New Public Scholarship Series of the University of Michigan Press. As Principal Investigator of Imagining America’s ongoing initiative on publicly engaged scholarship and faculty rewards, Ellison co‐authored a major policy report, Scholarship in Public: Knowledge Creation and Tenure Policy in the Engaged University (2008). She has also published “This American Life: How are the Humanities Public?" as one of five commissioned essays for the Humanities Indicators Prototype of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Ellison's earlier scholarship focuses on romanticism, sensibility, and the transatlantic eighteenth century.