UCHI

UConn Humanities Institute Awarded Mellon Grant to Expand the Faculty of Color Working Group

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a three-year grant of $750,000 to the University of Connecticut for the Humanities Institute to expand the New England Humanities Consortium (NEHC) Faculty of Color Working Group (FOCWG). The thirteen member institutions of the Consortium support programming in humanities fields such as history, politics, language, art, literature, and philosophy.

Following a 2018 Mellon Foundation $100,000 grant that permitted a pilot phase, faculty of color at NEHC member institutions created and led the Faculty of Color Working Group (FOCWG) for the purpose of increasing mentorship, community building, and dedicated time for scholarly production among faculty of color. Coupled with the development of the NEHC’s social media and publicity, through cross-institutional networks, research and teaching mentorship, and fellowships, the Mellon Foundation grant enables FOCWG to bolster faculty success across schools in the region and the nation.

The Principal investigator for the program is Michael P. Lynch, director of the UConn Humanities Institute, director of NEHC and Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, Philosophy. Co-principal investigators are Melina Pappademos, director of the UConn Africana Studies Institute, associate professor of history, and director of the Faculty of Color Working Group; and Alexis L. Boylan, director of academic affairs of the UConn Humanities Institute and associate professor of art and art history and Africana Studies.

“With generous support from the Mellon Foundation, this initiative recognizes the environmental obstacles and, at times, outright hostilities to professional advancement that faculty of color face at predominantly white institutions. FOCWG seeks to address these institutional failures by enabling scholarly productivity and professional relationships, even self-care, as safe-guards for aggregated individual success,” says Pappademos. “The FOCWG challenges institutions to dismantle rather than uphold their inflexible structures designed and defended to advantage some faculty members over others.“

In addition to UConn, the consortium includes Amherst College, Colby College, Dartmouth College, Northeastern University, Tufts University, University of New Hampshire, University of Rhode Island, University of Vermont, Wellesley College, and Wheaton College.

The FOCWG provides an urgently needed pathway for faculty of color to navigate the particular challenges they face in academic life. As part of a large network of institutions, the FOCWG grant will develop collaborative fellowship and mentoring opportunities to produce outcomes unachievable by any single institution.

The core activities made possible by the grant include:

  • Organizing an annual conference for faculty of color that will be the centerpiece of activities and outreach, which will include crucial professional dialogues on panel topics such as publishing, tenure and promotion and the challenge of transitioning into administrative roles. The conference will include pre-conference and post-conference interviews and surveys.
  • Development of a mentorship program to identify and train senior faculty mentors throughout the New England Humanities Consortium to offer a resource for faculty of color at all stages of their careers, including those holding administrative positions, in the region.
  • Establishment of The Mellon Faculty of Color Fellowship program, that will create opportunities for faculty to spend a year as a research fellow at another Consortium institution’s humanities institute or center contributing to crosspollination across the Consortium while furthering faculty’s individual research.

There will also be increased support for NEHC administrative functions including a separate FOCWG website, expanded social media presence and creation of an Instagram account to attract younger generation students and scholars, particularly those who attend liberal arts institutions.

Faculty of Color Workshop 2019
The summer 2019 symposium of the Mellon-funded Faculty of Color Working Group at Wheaton College.

UNH Center for the Humanities Announces Summer Institute in Public Humanities Seed Grant Winners

University of New Hampshire Center for the Humanities announced the names of its 2019 Summer Institute in Public Humanities seed grant winners. The seed grant was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In addition to two awardees from Howard University, winners also include 14 graduate students and faculty members from member institutes of the New England Humanities Consortium (NEHC), including Colby College (1), Dartmouth College (1), Tufts University (1), University of Connecticut (3), University of New Hampshire (3), University of Rhode Island (1), University of Vermont (1), Wellesley College (2), and Wheaton College (1):

 

UNH Mellon Winners

 

Elena Creef, Wellesley College
“Reenacting and Remembering the Battle of Greasy Grass, aka The Battle of Little Bighorn”
A public humanities podcast and digital archive project to facilitate a cross-cultural meetup
Community Partners:30-40 Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho riders

 

Kabria Baumgartner, University of New Hampshire
Stories from the Archives: African Americans in Essex National Heritage Area
An annotated resource guide to collections and resources as well as organizations and individuals from the seventeenth century up to the present
Community Partners:National Park Service units, including curators and park historians, the Organization of American Historians, student researchers

 

Catherine Besteman, Colby College
Freedom and Captivity
A series of events and art exhibitions, podcasts, short videos, an art book, and linked courses at Maine’s colleges and universities
Community Partners:faculty at several Maine colleges and universities, a theater company, art institutions, artists, poets, scholars, activists, lawyers, playwrights and others whose work interrogates captivity as a corollary to freedom and engages with alternatives to incarceration

 

Mohamed Camara, Howard University
Interfaith Dialogue and Peacebuilding in West Africa
A forum on Interfaith Dialogue and Peacebuilding along with a digital archive, podcast, and documentary to disseminate the knowledge
Community Partners:West Africa Civil Society Forum (WACSOF) and West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP)

 

Emilie Coppinger, University of New Hampshire
Strengths Narrative Art Program (SNAP)
Art therapy program for children who have been abused or neglected and are in need of channels through which to process past experiences and feelings
Community Partners:(tentative) Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program, Institutional Review Board (IRB), art therapists, children who have experienced abuse and neglect

 

Tyler Doggett, University of Vermont
Public Philosophy Week
Diversity of formats, including readings, group discussions, lectures, movie screenings, and tastings
Community Partners:Will vary from year to year depending on themes but may include police officers, food specialists, doctors and other professionals, comedians, documentary makers, and others

 

Megan Fountain, University of Connecticut
The Guatemala-Connecticut Community History Project
Documenting and archiving oral histories of Guatemalan immigrants and their families in Guatemala
Community Partners:A committee of Guatemalan immigrants and community activists including Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA), a grassroots organization; a team of public historians and New Haven Public Schools teachers; Columbia Center for Oral History Research; and Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change.

 

William Mason, Wheaton College
Untitled
Two concerts in Portland, Maine showcasing the music, dance, stories, and history of Somali refugees who have resettled in Maine
Community partners:high school students, Somali refugees, performers, Somali-Mainer Youth Network, residents who helped Somalis resettle in Maine

 

Jennifer Musto, Wellesley College
Wellesley College-SMCC Co-Learning Collaboratory
A Faculty Speaker Series and team-taught micro seminar program where faculty members facilitate interactive lectures with South Middlesex Correctional Center participants based on their research interests
Community Partners:Public Leadership & Action (PPLA) at Wellesley College, staff at SMCC and current and former SMCC participants who receive DOC permission to contribute

 

Tracy Perkins, Howard University
Saving Ward Valley
Conducting interviews to help tell the story of the Ward Valley anti-nuclear waste landfill campaign, creating both a digital archive and a multimedia storytelling and educational website
Community Partners:
Fort Mojave tribal chairperson, activists from the Ward Valley Campaign, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, Aspiration, an NGO that specializes in helping activists, nonprofits and foundations use internet technology for social justice purposes

 

Hesamedin Sharifian, Tufts University
’Banned’ Stories
Devised theatre production which will reach out to Iranian citizens to share their stories of pain and separation in the wake of Muslim ban
Community Partners:a theatre director and devised theatre specialist, legal attorneys, theatre

staff, a group of Iranian students and scholars who are willing to will share their stories and embody characters on stage

 

Roberta Stewart, Dartmouth College
From Troy to Baghdad: Reading Communities and Public Humanities
Trainings in methods for harnessing world lit to create community for US Veterans engaging in “radical reading” to come to terms with service and impact of war, eventual published volume documenting experiences
Community Partners:mental health providers; veteran readers; Center for Suicide Prevention; various Vet centers, including Lowell Mass Vet Center and Student Veteran Services; (tentative) Society for Classics Studies, Women’s Classical Caucus, Classics and Social Justice, community colleges, prisons… and more

 

Fiona Vernal, University of Connecticut
A Caribbean Museum
Community-based archival collecting to lead to an oral history initiative including one-week traveling pop-up exhibits, a migration exhibit to launch the Caribbean Museum, and salons (panel discussions) about public housing, mobility, and migration
Community Partners:
Connecticut Humanities Council (CHC), The Hartford History Center at the Hartford Public Library, The West Indian Social Club (WISC), and El Instituto: The Institute of Latino, Caribbean and Latin American Studies (ELIN) at UConn, Hartford Public Schools, CREC (Capital Region Education Council)

 

Rob Widell, University of Rhode Island
Documenting Rhode Island initiative of the Oral History Lab at URI
The facilitation of a series of workshops and an open and accessible ongoing archive to document and preserve stories of activism and community organizing across Rhode Island and the surrounding region
Community Partners:George Wiley Center’s Social Movement History Project and The Collective, a woman-owned “bookstore, infoshop, lending library, reading room and community meeting space in Peacedale, Rhode Island

 

Leah Woods, University of New Hampshire
Prison Outreach Program (POP)”
To outfit a new wood shop with tools and equipment for the NH Women’s Correctional Facility so women will have the opportunity to learn marketable skills and flex their creativity through furniture making led by female instructors/mentors
Community Partners:New Hampshire Furniture Masters, NH Women’s Correctional Facility, female woodworkers

 

Walter Woodward, University of Connecticut
Doing Public Humanities: An Audio Field Guide
A multi-episode web-based podcast as an audio roadmap into how to practice engaged public humanities
Community Partners:case history participants (faculty doing public humanities)

UCHI Awarded Luce Foundation Grant for “Seeing Truth’ Exhibits

Seeing Truth Feature ImageThe University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) is proud to be the recipient of a $275,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support the programming of an exhibition entitled ““Seeing Truth: Art, Science, and Making Knowledge (1750-2023).” This exhibition will be presented at the William Benton Museum of Art during the 2023 academic year in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History. UConn President Thomas C. Katsouleas made the announcement at the reception marking the 19th season of UCHI’s fellowships. The grant, whose principle investigator is UCHI Director of Academic Affairs, Alexis Boylan, will bring together various scientific, cultural, and educational artifacts to challenge our notions and ideas of what counts as a “scientific” object or a work of “art.” Seeing Truth is one part of UCHI’s larger upcoming initiative entitled The Future of Truth. To learn more about Seeing Truth, visit a UConn Today article on the grant.