Mellon Sawyer Seminar at the Democracy Initiative

Call for Participants: “Reimagining the American Landscape: race and the future of public history”

University of Virginia, Academic Year 2022-23

Laurent Dubois, Jalane Schmidt, and Louis Nelson invite applications from UVA faculty and graduate students, Charlottesville community members, and faculty from other universities to join “Reimagining the American Landscape” an Andrew Mellon Foundation funded seminar hosted by the University of Virginia through the 2022-23 academic year.

This seminar assumes that the future of American Democracy hinges on historical truth-telling, that realizing change in the American historical imagination requires partnerships beyond the academy, and that the most impactful public history is grounded in local places. Grounded in these convictions, this seminar convenes historians and activists, creatives, communicators, curators, entrepreneurs, and preservationists to develop new initiatives in the work of reshaping the American historical imagination.

The seminar will be comprised of three types of activities. The consistent thread will be a monthly virtual seminar on Friday afternoons focusing on Museums, Monuments/Memorials, and History Trails in the Fall and Film, Digital Humanities, and Arts Installations in the Spring. The seminar will also include two day-long in-person symposia on the Memorial Practices in the Caribbean in the Fall and Remembering the Slave Trade in January. The academic year will conclude with a final conference in May that will convene all the presenters and participants for focused discussions and workshops.

Applications to participate in “Reimagining the American Landscape” must include a one-page summary of the applicant’s background in public history and an introduction to the project they intend to develop through the course of the year as well as their c.v. Applications should be sent to Maria Lane ( by June 15, 2022.