In 2021, C21 stopped to ask: what is a book? As an interdisciplinary humanities center in a public university system, we are engaging with 21st-century issues of widespread public concern more directly as they arise and foregrounding knowledge production as transparent and collaborative. This has changed our publication framework to encourage and support ongoing scholarly and community-engaged work across digital formats, and through a variety of media. Through this approach, we are sustaining, connecting, and expanding upon ideas over a longer timeframe and across multiple spaces.

We aim to complicate the two-way dynamic between academic and community-based forms of knowledge production and challenge the assumptions we might have about how ideas flow easily or linearly between the university and its neighbors. Instead, we seek to explore how knowledge production is horizontal, with concepts, systems, and embodied experiences cross-pollinating each other across varied disciplines, histories, and lived experiences.

Our horizontal publication platform includes: Digital Publications (Thinking C21, Interactive Book Club, Annual Reports); Audio / Visual media (podcasts and recorded roundtables); Exhibitions. We are currently exploring the narration and documentation of our collaborative horizontal process in print form with UW Press.

Peer review is integral to all aspect of our process. Our Advisory Council is made up of faculty, graduate fellows, and community partners who regularly complete surveys on how and what C21 is doing (programming, collaborations, research output, future planning). Our Thinking C21 digital essays are peer reviewed by UWM faculty members on the Advisory Council and/or by other UWM faculty. We offer feedback and editorial guidance for all accepted essays.

Digital Publications

We publish content digitally through our Thinking C21 website, which hosts our Digital Essays as well as our Interactive Book Club.

Thinking C21

Thinking C21 has been recently updated with the announcement of our Nourishing Trust programming. Featuring an Interactive Book Club and links to our virtual roundtable events, Thinking C21 will be continuously updated with exciting content!

Interactive Book Club

To expand the scope of our roundtable conversations, the Interactive Book Club is a resource to promote discussion, collaboration, and exploration. In line with the topics of each roundtable in the Lonely No More series, we have put together a book club, complete with guest recommendations from panelists, discussion questions, and other relative resources.

Audio / Visual

We also branch out from the written word with audio and visual publications. Check out our podcasts and recorded talks below.

6.5 Minutes With…

6.5 Minutes logo

The Center for 21st Century Studies is proud to present a new podcast series, 6.5 Minutes With… In this series, hosted by C21 Director Anne Basting and C21 Deputy Director Nicole Welk-Joerger, scholars and community members briefly discuss their important contributions to discussions surrounding the most exigent issues of our current times. All episodes of 6.5 Minutes With… can be found on Apple Podcasts!

Recorded Talks

The Center for 21st Century Studies has amassed a trove of recorded conference keynotes and one-off lectures over the years. New material is being added all the time. Browse our YouTube channel for videos and recorded talks going as far back as 2012.


Our commitment to interdisciplinary research goes beyond the bounds of the printed and spoken word. The Center has begun curating art exhibits to encourage more engagement with the arts in exploring how we can address the pressing issues of our time.