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The 21st century is proving to be an exciting era of imaginative, interdisciplinary collaborations among academic, local, and global partners. This series spotlights the work of artists, scholars, and activists immersed in publicly-engaged projects in which the humanities, arts, and culture inspire community building and civic change.


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Part exhibition, part documentary, part advice, and part reflection on failures, successes, and possible futures, this series honors innovative forms of humanities scholarship in all their many-layered, capacious complexity. Our books capture significant publicly-engaged arts and humanities collaborations from the perspectives of faculty, students, community members, and organizational partners. Humanities and Public Life meets a pressing need of current and future publicly-engaged scholars and partners to document projects that model rigorous work, critical thinking about best practices, and strategies for assessing the value and impact of public art, design, and scholarship.

This series aims to create a collection of excellent books that document the exciting publicly engaged projects in which artists and humanities scholars, especially in college and university settings, are working with community partners and cultural institutions to produce new knowledge while also contributing to the public good. Series books describe various forms of the humanities in practice and help illuminate how a project or projects challenge and potentially expand both public and academic audiences’ assumptions about the humanities.

Books in the Series

City We Make Together cover

The City We Make Together: City Council Meeting's Primer for Participation

by Mallory Catlett and Aaron Landsman

University of Iowa Press
Available August 2022
288 pages
ISBN: 9781609388270

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Behind the Big House cover

Behind the Big House: Reconciling Slavery, Race, and Heritage in the U.S. South

by Jodi Skipper

University of Iowa Press
March 22, 2022
246 pages
ISBN: 9781609388171

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Call My Name Clemson cover

Call My Name, Clemson: Documenting the Black Experience in an American University Community

by Rhondda Robinson Thomas

University of Iowa Press
November 2020
284 pages
ISBN: 9781609387402

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Engaging the Age of Jane Austen cover

Engaging the Age of Jane Austen: Public Humanities in Practice

by Bridget Draxler and Danielle Spratt

University of Iowa Press
January 2019
298 pages
ISBN: 978-1609386146

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Contested City cover

Contested City: Art and Public History as Mediation at New York’s Seward Park Urban Renewal Area

by Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani

University of Iowa Press
January 2019
234 pages
ISBN: 1609386108

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See You in the Streets cover

See You in the Streets: Art, Action, and Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

by Ruth Sergel

University of Iowa Press
June 2016
194 pages
ISBN: 978-1609384173

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Penelope Project book cover

The Penelope Project: An Arts-Based Odyssey to Change Elder Care

Anne Basting, Maureen Towey, and Ellie Rose, eds.

University of Iowa Press
May 2016
230 pages
ISBN: 978-1609384135

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Who We Are


Teresa Mangum, Professor in the Departments of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies and English and Director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Iowa

Anne Valk, Professor in the Department of History and Director of the Center for Media and Learning/American Social History Project at the Graduate Center, CUNY

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Advice for Authors

We welcome (5-10 page) proposals from scholars and practitioners involved with publicly engaged humanities projects.

For more information, please contact Meredith Stabel, Acquisitions Editor, University of Iowa Press:

Proposal process, guidelines

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