May 29, 2022  
Course Catalog 2022-2023 
Course Catalog 2022-2023

Public Humanities Integrative Concentration

The integrative concentration consists of a minimum of 5.5 courses (or the equivalent), 2 demonstrated skill competencies, 1 experiential component, and a learning portfolio.

Note: Students must earn minimum grades of C- or P for all courses that apply toward the integrative concentration.

The Public Humanities Integrative Concentration will engage students in both learning and doing. In coursework across the humanities disciplines, students will learn to theorize and critically interrogate the ways in which the humanities offer tools to engage with communities and address contemporary issues. Through experiential learning requirements and capstone projects, they will practice Public Humanities by doing the work of translating humanities scholarship for diverse publics, working with community organizations on public projects, and creating humanities resources such as oral history archives and digital projects.

arrow Visit the Public Humanities webpage for more information.

Students wishing to complete the Public Humanities Integrative Concentration should consult with a member of the curricular committee and complete the Integrative Concentration Add or Drop form. The form requires the signature of the chair.

Note: Students must pick up the Integrative Concentration Add or Drop form in the Office of the Registrar. The completed form must then be submitted, in person, to the Office of the Registrar for processing. The Office of the Registrar is located in Carnegie (direct entrance off N. Professor St.) between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday - Friday. There is a dropbox located in the lobby of Carnegie for after-hours submission.

Renee Romano (History)

arrow See the full list of Public Humanities Curricular Committee Members

Public Humanities Integrative Concentration Course Lists

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  • If a student is enrolled in or has completed a course that is not listed below, they can petition the curricular committee to apply the course toward the concentration.
  • Students should be aware that some of the below listed courses have prerequisites and should plan their schedules accordingly.

Public Humanities Elective Courses

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Public Humanities elective courses help students learn how to translate humanities scholarship for a public audience through their assignments or instruction. Students in these classes might be asked to do outward-facing writing for the general public, to curate physical or virtual exhibits, to produce podcasts or videos based on humanities research, or to use digital tools to communicate humanistic knowledge.

Public Humanities Capstone Course

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All students will undertake a Public Humanities capstone, either by doing a Public Humanities project in a capstone course for their humanities major or as a 4-credit private tutorial with an individual advisor. Students will simultaneously enroll in a 0-credit PHST 400 course to indicate that they are completing their capstone through another course or a private reading. For the capstone, students will complete an individual or group project that puts their humanities research to work in the public sphere in some way. These projects will typically extend work that they have undertaken in an earlier course. Students in the capstone course will also be required to complete a digital portfolio to show their work, reflect on it, and explain their intellectual development in the concentration.

Examples of projects:

  • Turning a seminar paper into a podcast
  • Developing some kind of digital project related to their research
  • Doing further work with a community partner on a project

Demonstrated Skill Competencies

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Concentrators are required to demonstrate competency in at least two of the skills or practices that are commonly employed in the field of Public Humanities. Students may acquire experience with these skills through an academic course, a Winter Term project, or an internship experience. Concentrators will consult with the integrative concentration chair about their plans to develop specific skills and will demonstrate and document their competency in their required digital learning portfolio.

Example areas of competency are:

  • Communicating with Diverse Publics/Public Speaking
  • Curation and Exhibition Building
  • Digital Humanities Tools such as Omeka, Scalar, ArcGIS, StoryMaps
  • Grant Writing
  • Interviews and Oral History Methodology
  • Museum Interpretation (i.e., label writing or programming that serves to support interpretation)
  • Project Management
  • Public Programming for Community Audiences
  • Sonic Storytelling (Podcasting, etc.)
  • Translation: Translating Humanities Scholarship for a Public Audience
  • Video Storytelling
  • Writing Across Platforms (Social Media)

Experiential Component

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Students are required to pursue an internship, work experience, or an approved Winter Term project in the field of Public Humanities. Internship and work opportunities, which can take place on-campus or off-campus, will provide students important practical experience in the area and enable them to explore different career pathways in the field. All hands-on experiences must be full-time for a minimum duration of 4 weeks (or one Winter Term).

Students are encouraged to pursue an internship through joining a relevant career community in such areas as Arts and Creative ProfessionsEducationMusic Leadership; and Nonprofit and the Public Sector. Many museums, cultural, and advocacy organizations offer internships that would be suitable for concentrators.

Campus or local opportunities may include:

Faculty involved in the concentration are also working with different public humanities organizations to craft internships that would be suitable for concentrators. Reflection Point, an organization that uses short stories to encourage small groups to discuss challenging civic issues, is interested in partnering with Oberlin on student experiential opportunities. The Fenton History Center in upstate New York and the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museum in Fremont, Ohio are also eager to have Oberlin students as public humanities interns.

Learning Portfolio

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Concentrators are required to maintain a digital learning portfolio that will include signature course work, evidence of competency in two Public Humanities skills, and documentation of their experiential learning opportunity. Students will begin their portfolio as soon as they begin the concentration and will use it to chronicle and reflect upon their interests in the field and the synergy between their course work, their engaged practice with communities, and their internship or other experiential learning. Students will also document and showcase their capstone project in their learning portfolio. Portfolios will be reviewed by two members of the Public Humanities Curricular Committee upon completion of the capstone project.

Public Humanities Curricular Committee

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Renee Romano (History), chair
Corey Barnes (Religion)
Laura Baudot (English, Dean’s Office), ex officio
Tania Boster (Bonner Center), ex officio
KJ Cerankowksi (Comparative American Studies; Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies)
Hsiu-Chuang Deppman (East Asian Studies)
Sebastiaan Faber (Hispanic Studies)
Jennifer Fraser (Ethnomusicology)
Hannah Kinney (Allen Art Museum), ex officio
Megan Mitchell (Libraries), ex officio
Charles Peterson (Africana Studies)
Matthew Rarey (Art History)