Roopika Risam Helps Develop Modern Languages Association's Landmark Guidelines

Roopika Risam, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies and Comparative Literature, was part of the team that developed the new Modern Language Association's Guidelines for Evaluating Publicly Engaged Humanities Scholarship in Literature and Language Programs. Public humanities work reaches audiences beyond the academy and demonstrates the value of the humanities in the world in a wide variety of formats, from essays in the media to open-access websites and archiving projects. For example, Dr. Risam's work on Torn Apart/Separados, a series of data visualizations, sought to help general audiences understand the landscape of immigrant detention in the U.S.

The Modern Language Association guidelines will help colleges evaluate public humanities work for hiring, tenure, and promotion of faculty. Because this work does not take the form of "traditional" scholarship (like books and articles), it is not typically valued as a form of faculty research despite the significant impact of bringing literature, culture, and history to new audiences. These guidelines are a landmark statement by a professional organization about the value and importance of this work.