The Public Intellectual Project, or PIP, is committed to fostering contemplation and conversation about ideas that matter — and to honoring the people who have brought them to fruition.
Loosely modeled on Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings‘ articles, PIP encourages individual Beloiters to share brief reflections on the public intellectuals they’ve encountered in their college reading. The interlocutor whose text they crack open may be a person whose “opinions help to set the moral and aesthetic standards of her time,” as Alice Gregory outlined, or a citizen of the world who makes us aware that there are questions to be asked that we’ve heretofore been oblivious to. In that moment, as Ta-Nehisi Coates has described, “one realizes that it isn’t the cool facts which wise you up, but the awareness of a yawning, limitless, impossible ignorance.”
Each PIP essay reflects the musing of an individual Beloiter’s mind in encounter. One part close reading of a text, and one part celebration of the life of a mind, it invites you to think about the power of images, ideas, and arguments to do work in the world.