As a postdoctoral research center, the Center for 21st Century Studies (C21) engages with innovative research at the intersection of the humanities, arts and sciences, as well as supporting UWM faculty and graduate students, publishing new research and hosting conferences, lectures and other events.
The Center has several initiatives that foster interdisciplinary research in the humanities, bringing scholars into contact and collaboration with one another, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee community and the world beyond.
Critical | Public | Digital
The Center organizes its research and public programs around three broad areas of interdisciplinary humanities research: critical, public, and digital humanities, connecting them to today’s most pressing social and political issues.
- Critical humanities: the continuation of the Center’s historical focus on critical and theoretical interdisciplinary scholarship and research
- Public humanities: both the communication of humanities research outside the walls of the university and the humanistic engagement with local, regional, and global communities
- Digital humanities: research that focuses on the remediation of print texts and artifacts in digital formats, as well as on the creation of new critical methodologies for analyzing digital media
For many years, the Center had organized its research and public programs around annual themes, culminating in a yearly spring conference. See this archive of past conference themes.
Through a yearly competition, the Center constitutes a group of five UWM faculty, plus at least one external faculty, whose research relates to the Center’s focus on critical, public, and digital humanities, as well as humanistically oriented projects in the social and natural sciences.
Under the rubric C21 Collaboratory, the Center for 21st Century Studies offers multiple grants for research collaborations among faculty, graduate students, and academic staff. Intended to encourage both interdisciplinary collaboration and broader participation in Center programming, collaborative groups are required to include researchers from more than one unit (i.e., department, division, or college). Potential participants could also be drawn from other local universities, community organizations, or from members of the Milwaukee-area public.
The Center’s broad range of publications confirms its leadership in the academic community in the United States and abroad. The books in the Center’s series with the University of Minnesota Press are site specific; they are authored by scholars affiliated with the Center or originate from conferences sponsored by the Center. The Center also had two, long running series—21st Century Studies and Theories of Contemporary Culture—with Indiana University Press; many of our Indiana titles remain available through their website. We also publish a series on online Working Papers for faculty and an online Occasional Papers series for graduate students.
Fellows and Staff Activity
C21 fellows (past and present) and staff are quite active in their scholarly communities, publishing articles and monographs, editing journals and books, speaking at conferences, creating art, and garnering awards. We’re glad to help in some small way with their successes. Some of their activities are highlighted below.
In addition to providing administrative support to Center Fellows in identifying and applying for research grants each year, the Center for 21st Century Studies has participated in numerous grant-funded and award-based research projects over its 50-year history (including most recently the projects below):
From 2015-17, C21 participated in a major new grant awarded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI), of which C21 is a member. The $1.35 million grant was awarded for the second phase of Integrating the Humanities across National Boundaries, an initiative designed to foster new forms of collaborative research and partnerships among the organization’s international members.
Transdisciplinary Challenge (2011-14)
From 2011-14, C21’s Transdisciplinary Challenge Award encouraged collaborative research projects that brought together UWM researchers from our traditional constituencies in the humanities, arts, and humanistic social sciences with researchers from natural, physical, and quantitative social sciences. This initiative was designed to prompt researchers from any disciplinary background to think in unexpected and untried ways about working with researchers in disciplines whose methodology, content, and institutional practices are unfamiliar to them.
Opportunities for Graduate Students
C21 graduate fellows participate in the management and programs of the Center. The graduate fellows organize, attend, and help publicize C21 events; assist in event planning and preparation; and aid in the development of new and ongoing C21-sponsored research and programming.
Responsibilities include event promotion and logistics (flyering, videotaping lectures, prepping lecture rooms, setting up and breaking down receptions, etc.); providing content for assigned areas of the C21 website; contributing to the C21 blog; developing and running graduate-student focused events; designing promotional flyers; assisting the director and faculty fellows with research projects, proofreading scholarly manuscripts, and helping faculty fellows and the C21 director as needed. On occasion, office work (answering phone, errands) may also be required.
The ideal candidates should have a dissertation project that relates either to critical, public, or digital humanities. Technological skills to maintain and help grow C21’s online presence— graphic design, web design (HTML/CSS), multimedia, A/V— are also desirable.