PUBLIC announces its fifth anniversary issue: Public Scholarship, Place, and Proximity

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Davis, CA, August 16, 2018 — PUBLIC: A Journal of Imagining America is pleased to announce the publication of its fifth anniversary issue: Public Scholarship, Place, and Proximity: Imagining America at the University of California at Davis, guest edited by Erica Kohl-Arenas, Faculty Director of Imagining America and Associate Professor of American Studies, UC Davis, and Robyn Magalit Rodriguez, Professor of Asian American Studies, UC Davis. You can view it online now at

With renewed political protest since the election of President Donald Trump, public scholarship has taken center stage. Community-engaged scholars are facilitating dialogue and producing public works to address rising political challenges on campuses and in communities across the country.

Marking Imagining America’s recent move to its first West Coast home at UC Davis, this issue of PUBLIC investigates the opportunities and tensions involved in producing timely and locally engaged public scholarship in a specific regional setting — California’s Central Valley. Simultaneously home to some of the most profitable agricultural producers in the world and poorest Congressional Districts in the United States, the Central Valley contains many of the tensions broadcast nationally. Not unlike Appalachia, Detroit, or other struggling (post) industrial places across the country, people are engaged in debates about belonging, insecurity and precariousness, and equitable access to housing, education, land, water, and livelihoods. Also, not unlike Appalachia and Detroit, the Central Valley is home to generations of inspiring cultural workers, teachers, students, scholars, and community media producers determined to bring people together to imagine and create a better future.

From articles, to online exhibits, to podcasts, to demonstration projects, the invited contributors from the UC Davis campus region offer compelling answers to the most pressing problems of our time through their regional engagements, histories, research, and creative works. The issue is introduced by an editorial by the guest editors and a new editorial column, The Work of Imagining, by Imagining America’s Faculty Director, Erica Kohl-Arenas.

PUBLIC is a peer-reviewed, multimedia e-journal focused on humanities, arts, and design in public life. It presents projects, pedagogies, resources, and ideas that reflect rich engagements among diverse participants, organizations, disciplines, and sectors. PUBLIC is part of the national consortium Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, currently hosted by University of California, Davis. PUBLIC is published by Syracuse Unbound, a joint imprint of Syracuse University Libraries and Syracuse University Press.