Member News

Public Humanities Journal Launches at Cambridge University Press

CHCI is proud to share this exciting announcement from Cambridge University Press (original press release) and we encourage our members to submit proposals to the following opportunities for the Public Humanities Journal:

Cambridge University Press is launching a new journal, Public Humanities, which seeks to bridge the connection between the academic and everyday life. The journal will provide a new space for scholars, students, activists, policymakers and general readers to explore human habits and histories, art and ideas, language and beliefs – past, present, and future. An open access publication, the journal will demonstrate the breadth, depth, and value of the humanities in its varied contributions to public life, and will engage with a wide range of issues, authors, and readers.

This means the journal’s remit ranges from historical examples of the humanities at work in the world, to theoretical debates about the field today; from governmental policy related to the humanities, to scholarly interventions in ongoing social problems.

“It’s scholarship written with fire and footnotes,” says Jeffrey R. Wilson of Harvard University. He and Zoe Hope Bulaitis of the University of Birmingham co-founded and will serve as Editors-in-Chief of Public Humanities. “The journal is a response to the complexity of contemporary societal challenges and the demand to demonstrate the societal impact of humanities research,” says Bulaitis.

The Editors-in-Chief add that Public Humanities will be “fun, fearless, and actively engaged with the world.”

Public Humanities is guided by an inaugural Advisory Board featuring 91 scholars, practitioners, activists, and policymakers from six continents. The first issue, ‘The Manifesto Issue’, will gather global leaders in the field to set an agenda for public humanities in the years ahead.

Modern humanities

Public Humanities was created partly to help bridge the gap between academic humanities and public humanities.

Wilson says the journal takes seriously the argument that the academic humanities have lost touch with the lived realities of many people.

News coverage often depicts a crisis in the humanities, with declining student enrolments, decreased funding, and shuttered departments – however, as Wilson says, “the crisis is really only in the academic humanities.

“The public humanities are absolutely booming, if we think about the interpretive thoughts and conversations that happen in our daily lives, on the internet, at the dinner table, at the pub, on cable news, with our friends.”

Manuela Picq, Professor of International Relations at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador and one of seven leading public intellectuals in the journal’s Editorial Collective, adds that “public humanities bring scholarship to the streets and activism to academia.”

Daniel Pearce, Humanities and Social Sciences Journals Publishing Director, says “Public Humanities speaks to Cambridge’s commitment not only to academic excellence in the humanities, but to promoting its enduring accessibility, impact and relevance.

“The journal’s first issue – ‘The Manifesto Issue’ – exemplifies this ethos. It will be built by a community and will address issues and ideas with deep relevance to people and the world.”

Public Humanities will launch in late 2024. It will be a place for civically engaged humanities work from (though not limited to) the fields of Anthropology, Archaeology, Architecture, Classics, Cultural Studies, Disability Studies, Economics, Ethnic Studies, Gender Studies, Government, History, Law, Linguistics, Literary Studies, Performing Arts, Religious Studies, Philosophy, Postcolonial Studies, Queer Studies, Psychology, Sociology, Visual Arts, and Women’s Studies.

The journal will publish four themed issues per year curated by guest editors, plus a constant feed of rapid-response commentary. Articles range from individual of the moment responses to roundtable discussions and full-length papers. Through active and rigorous commissioning and peer review processes, a diverse and committed editorial collective, and a world-leading publishing team, Public Humanities will offer a platform for scholarly exchange and exciting new applications of excellent humanities research.

Explore how to contribute to future themed issues.