"Public Humanities is the work of engaging diverse publics in learning about history and cultural heritage to reflect critically on its relevance to our society today," says Dr. Annie Killian, O.P., the Medieval Institute's Public Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow for 2021–2023. "We want to go beyond just sharing academic knowledge with a non-academic audience and really engage in learning together with our community partners about history, and how it shapes our present, and even how the alterity, the strangeness, the otherness of the deep past, can help us imagine alternative or other futures."
Dr. Killian says that the Medieval Institute's interdisciplinary approach as well as Notre Dame's commitment to community engagement and public scholarship drew her to the Public Humanities Fellowship. She discussed, for example, the University's Teachers as Scholars program through which faculty offer seminars to K-12 teachers in the local, nearby school districts. Through this program, Dr. Killian offered a seminar for English teachers related to her own research on medieval lyric poetry. "That was a real fun opportunity!"
Other highlights from Killian's time at Notre Dame have included the MI's tailgates and Professor Margot Fassler's Creation and Cosmos, a visual and musical show that makes use of the University's planetarium.
Finally, Dr. Killian discussed her experience planning the Pilgrimage for Healing and Liberation which she organized and which took place in January through April of this year. Pilgrimages were a truly global phenomenon of the Middle Ages and one that still appeals to many today, whether religiously affiliated or not. Dr. Killian's pilgrimage shows how pilgrimages are now being used in justice work as an embodied practice that can support liberation and racial healing.
Dr. Killian holds a Ph.D. from Yale University.