The JustPublics@365 initiative seeks to create informed citizens by acknowledging that issues of inequality cannot be addressed by the media, academics, social activists, community leaders, or policy makers who work in isolation. Instead, “hybrid” practitioners, who combine the best of these worlds, must work together for the public good.
To this end, one of the main components of JustPublics@365 is an open online course, “Reassessing Inequality & Reimagining the 21st Century: East Harlem Focus.” Rather than build upon the MOOC model, which emphasizes massiveness of scale, we underline the necessity of deep participation and collaboration in education and activism. Our Participatory Open Online Course (POOC) has as its central goal the creation of a space that fosters multiple levels of engagement and dialogue with multiple publics around issues of inequality in East Harlem.
Through an emphasis on participatory, interdisciplinary, and public dialogue, JustPublics@365 pushes against the boundaries of (digital) humanities practice and points towards multiple possible futures for collaborative research and public debate, ultimately fostering academic work that harnesses digital media, research, and teaching in the service of social change.