Two SOE Doctoral Students Named 2018-2019 Public Humanities Fellows


A joint initiative between the Syracuse University Humanities Center and the Central New York Humanities Corridor, the Graduate Student Public Humanities Fellowships are supported in partnership with Humanities New York (formerly known as the New York Council for the Humanities) to:

  • encourage emerging humanities scholars to conceive of their work in relation to the public sphere
  • develop skills for doing public work
  • and strengthen the public humanities community in New York State.

The year-long fellowship involves training in public scholarship methods and work by the fellows to explore the public dimensions of their scholarship in partnership with a community organization. Two School of Education doctoral candidates, Camilla J. Bell and Gemma Cooper-Novack, have been named Public Humanities Fellows for 2018-2019. Hugh Burnam (Ph.D. Cultural Foundations of Education) was also named a Fellow for 2017-2018.

Learn more about the Humanities Center Fellowships

Camilla J. BellCamilla J. Bell

Ph.D. Candidate in Cultural Foundations of Education
Project Title: Freedom School: Education for Liberation

Project Abstract: Audre Lorde once proclaimed, “The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.” In fact, my project aims to do just that—incite liberatory learning processes for youth of color. In partnership with the Community Folk Art Center, a unit of the Department of African American Studies, College of Arts & Sciences at Syracuse University, Dr. Kal Alston and Dr. Mario Rios Perez, I plan to develop a two-week long Freedom School during the summer of 2019. During the Civil Rights Movement, the mission of Freedom Schools was to facilitate the politicization and critical consciousness of young people navigating unjust and inequitable living and learning conditions. Establishing a Freedom School geared towards youth of color within the Syracuse City School District will work to disrupt the unjust and inequitable living and learning conditions historically marginalized youth are still subjected to. This two-week long Freedom School will include workshops and field trips focused on writing, the arts, sociocultural exhibits, and ongoing engagement across difference. The objective is to carve out a space for youth of color to sharpen their critical literacies as well as obtain the tools needed to serve as agents of change within their own communities. Freedom School: Education for Liberation will ignite what is often snuffed out across classroom spaces—passion for living and a love for learning.

Gemma Cooper-NovackGemma Cooper-Novack

Ph.D. Candidate in Literacy Education
Project Title: Collective Writing with Refugee and Immigrant Youth

Project Abstract: In this public scholarship project, I propose to create, coordinate, and teach a year-long out-of-school-time (OST) program in which a self-selected group of teenagers participating in activities at a community learning center for refugees collaborate to conceive, create, edit, and publish a collectively-written novel. Based on the work of Rodesiler & Kelley (2017), in the context of the critical race composite counterstory work of Solorzáno & Yosso (2002) and Martinez (2014), this project both reframes the notion of narrative as individually created, generated, and focused and strengthens the voices, writing skills, and storytelling and advocacy skills of ENL refugee students in Syracuse. Through this work, we will develop deeper connections with the youth literary community in Syracuse, culminating in a Youth Book Festival for programs in the city in 2019.