Letter from the Faculty Director – January 2018 Newsletter

Dear IA community,

In January of most years, the President delivers a State of the Union Address highlighting the past year and suggesting priorities for the coming year. It’s a broadcast from one to many. But democracy is a conversation, not a monologue. Understanding the state of our union takes We the People reflecting in our own communities on our challenges and opportunities locally, nationally, and globally.” For the past four years, IA community partner the United States Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) has hosted a “People’s State of the Union” through which thousands of people from around the country, in their own homes, schools, houses of worship, and community organizations, have supplemented the President’s address with their own take on the state of our union. A year ago, in the first staff visit to our new host campus, UC Davis, IA invited faculty, students, and community partners to a People’s State of the Union story circle event that seeded the themes for the 2017 IA conference. We are honored to host our second annual People’s State of the Union here in the IA offices in Davis, CA on February 2nd from 3-6pm. If you’re in the area we invite you to join us for art making and storytelling about the state of our communities and nation.

It is a busy time for IA. As this newsletter is prepared for you, I will have traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) annual conference. IA is leading a pre-conference symposium workshop in partnership with IA’s Assessing the Practices of Publicly Engaged Scholarship (APPS) research group. For news and live tweets from the AAC&U conference follow @ImaginingAmer.

PUBLIC: A Journal of Imagining America is pleased to announce the publication of its latest issue: Digital Engagements; Or, The Virtual Gets Real, guest edited by Teresa Mangum, Director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Iowa. You can view it online now at public.imaginingamerica.org. I am guest editing the next special issue of our journal PUBLIC with UC Davis Professor of Asian American Studies, Robyn Rodriguez. This issue will mark the 5th anniversary of the journal and IA’s move to California’s Central Valley and will focus on the opportunities, risks, and inter-connected lines between public, activist, and community-engaged scholarship in our host campus region.            We are also excited to announce that Imagining America’s 2018 National Conference will be held October 19-21 in Chicago, in partnership with Illinois Humanities. The two organizations will work with local institutions and leaders in organizing this annual event. Please save the date!

We hope you enjoy learning about what is going on in the IA network in this month’s newsletter. Finally, please join me in welcoming four new members to the IA consortium – UC Irvine, Lansing Community College and Bellevue Community College!

Erica Kohl-Arenas, IA Faculty Director



Continue reading Imagining America’s January 2018 Newsletter, here.

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