The John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage’s ground-breaking MA program, engaged research, and innovative conferences help students, practitioners and communities make the humanities meaningful and accessible.

The Center, founded as the John Nicholas Brown Center for the Study of American Civilization in 1979 and part of Brown University since 1995, offers the leading graduate program in public humanities featuring a range of interdisciplinary courses. We collaborate on cutting edge, scholarly and research projects developed with other departments and centers at Brown and with local, national, and international cultural, arts, and educational institutions. The Center for Public Humanities at Brown defines public humanities through our teaching, our collaborative projects, and our analog and digital publications.

The public humanities program is closing.

On June 30, 2023, the public humanities program at the John Nicholas Brown Center will close. Endings are a time for looking back, remembering, assessing what’s been accomplished and what is left undone. As part of this memory work, the program published a book about its MA program, The Public Humanities Idea: A Retrospective of the Masters Program at Brown University 2005–2023. (Request a copy here.) It also produced two reports, a survey of the program’s alumni and "Beyond Brown: Legacies of Brown University’s Public Humanities Center and Future Opportunities for Strengthening Regional Public Humanities Connections,” an analysis of the role that the Center played in the Providence region.

In December 2022, Brown University's Provost announced a new plan for the JNBC: announcement outlines a new plan for the JNBC: "Effective July 1, 2023 the JNBC will become a center for advanced study focused on promoting the broad public discussion and dissemination of academic research and scholarship across the full range of disciplines. This new plan expands the JNBC’s scope and mission significantly by transforming it from a center that offers programming and a degree in the field of public humanities to one that communicates the value of academic scholarship as such to the public at large."  Read the full announcement here.