Linking academic, public scholars
A tour of Central Park's landscape, a visit to a museum, a perusal of health
information on the Internet...all of these activities help us to accumulate
and use knowledge in a variety of ways, whether it be for the good of society
in general or to enhance our enjoyment of life. A recent award of $247,000
from The Rockefeller Foundation will help Emory bring together the "public"
scholars who produce this type of knowledge outside of universities with
scholars who work in the academic world to enrich the life of society.
The Rockefeller award will enhance and expand the work of Emory's Center
for the Study of Public Scholarship (CSPS), which was established two years
ago within the Institute of the Liberal Arts (ILA) to foster closer collaboration
between academic and public scholars through joint research projects, conferences
and publication. The definition of public scholars is broad and can include
community physicians, museum curators, community arts organizers and documentary
"We want to ease the boundaries between academia and society,"
said Ivan Karp, former ILA director and CSPS founder. "If our goal
is to build an informed society, we need to find ways to draw from the best
of both worlds." The award will fund graduate interns and a three-year
CSPS project to team up with a public institution to examine "Institutions
of Public Culture." In 1997-98, the first program, co-sponsored by
the Center for Health, Culture and Society at Emory, will focus on issues
of public health importance, including AIDS and emergent diseases.
The following year, CSPS will explore the politics of exhibition in conjunction
with the Center for Folklife Programs & Cultural Studies at the Smithsonian
Institution, and in 1999-2000 the topic will be the politics of urban space
with co-sponsor Atlanta History Center. Project leaders for these programs
will include Karp, history department chair Randall Packard and urban studies
professor Dana White. Cooperating public institutions, the Graduate School
and Emory College, have provided additional funding and resources in support
of the program.
According to Karp, the public scholars who are accepted as fellows in the
CSPS will work with Emory students and serve as advisers on student projects.
"Most of the fellows will not be academics per se, but will be scholars
who work in the non-academic public sphere," said Karp. "The CSPS
programs are also part of a unique graduate program in which every graduate
student is required to turn an aspect of their proposed research into something
designed for a general public. In other words, we teach the skills of public
scholarship in the ILA."
to the October 21, 1996 contents page