Faculty Research: Dr. Randy Lewis featured in ‘Life and Letters’ Magazine for documentary film

Sicilians and Sicilian-Texans exchange memories of the town poet.

Sicilians and Sicilian-Texans exchange memories of the town poet.

Last spring, we posted a dispatch from Dr. Randy Lewis about his travels to Sicily, Italy to screen an ethnographic documentary called Texas Tavola that he directed and produced with Dr. Circe Sturm. We’re pleased to also share with you a brand new piece in the College of Liberal Arts’s Life and Letters magazine featuring the duo’s work on this film, as well as Dr. Lewis’s and Dr. Sturm’s broader concerns with public scholarship.

“From Bryan to Sicily: Public Scholars Join Academy to Community” can be read in its entirety here, and here is a quick excerpt:

Sturm and Lewis both come from non-academic families, and this background is a big driver of their passion for public scholarship.

“Randy and I have always tried to create work that has an impact as scholarship and is also accessible to broader publics,” Sturm says. “Even with book writing, we’re both committed to writing about complex ideas in such a way that anyone can read it and that the communities that we write about will want to read it and engage with it.”

Public scholarship is intellectual work done with a non-academic audience in mind. It can take many forms, from digital humanities and online journals to books and documentary films created for a general public.

“Public scholarship is a broader thing that’s trying to transcend this inwardlooking model of higher education and really connect with different kinds of publics and communities out there,” Lewis says. “How do you convert or translate [your academic research] into something that resonates with the people who are actually paying for the University of Texas?”

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