Neubauer Collegium announces eight new projects for 2024-25

The Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society has selected eight new research projects for 2024-25.

Each year, the Neubauer Collegium selects a diverse range of UChicago faculty-led research projects that require collaboration across disciplines. This year’s projects will pose vital questions about complex challenges and test promising new ways to address them.

“These new faculty research projects bring together an extraordinary range of scholars from across the University and around the world,” said Tara Zahra, the Roman Family Director of the Neubauer Collegium. “They reflect the creativity and originality of our faculty, as they seek new approaches to research that transcend disciplinary and institutional divides.”

Learn more about this year’s projects, which will launch July 1:

  • The Arts Labs project will create six independent, but linked, initiatives that will shape and support a culture of experimentation and critical analysis around arts research on campus. The labs will create space for individuals to develop creative projects while fostering dialogue among scholars and arts professionals about the opportunities and challenges of artistic research.
  • The Case of the Human project aims to identify a more holistic understanding of the term “human.” Medical and humanistic understandings of human health and well-being have intersected in recent decades, but the category of “human” continues to be defined and applied in different ways. Researchers will seek an understanding of the concept that is neither primarily medical nor humanistic.
  • Recent international interest in dyes extracted from plants and insects in Mexico is putting pressure on the local communities that manage these precious, culturally significant resources. The Diversity of Color project will facilitate local efforts to study the organisms and improve their cultivation, conservation and ongoing use. The international research team will draw on insights from the fields of medicine, anthropology, art history, and nutritional science, along with the experiences of Mexican artists and artisans.
  • Hidden Abodes of the “Great Acceleration” is an interdisciplinary collaboration that will bring noted sociologist Jason Moore to campus as a Neubauer Collegium Visiting Fellow during the 2025–26 academic year. The research team will develop a new theoretical framework to investigate the veiled historical and geographical dynamics that have intensified global energy and resource use since World War II.
  • Since August 2022 nearly 20,000 asylum seekers from the southern border have been transported from Texas and Florida to Chicago. The Imagining a Sanctuary City project will employ ethnographic research, legal case study, and oral history to record and analyze the experiences of asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants as well as volunteers, city workers and activists across Chicago.
  • How have writers represented the experience of migration throughout history? The Migrations in Literature project—an ambitious collaboration that draws from political science, geography, English, classics, comparative literature, area studies and the digital humanities–will study texts about migration from antiquity to the present. By examining this vast archive, the team will learn what is shared and what is distinctive about efforts to represent migration across genres, time, and space.
  • Long before Hispania became part of the Roman Empire, a trans-continental network of merchants and settlers forged economic and cultural connections across the Iberian Peninsula. The Negotiating Identities, Constructing Territories project will advance recent scholarship in this area by shifting the focus from colonial relations to the interactions that led to hybrid cultures, new territorial formations and resilient environmental practices.
  • Less than 1 percent of translated literature in the United States comes from South Asia—a region that accounts for 20 percent of the world’s languages. The SummerSALT project will address this gap by organizing a first-of-its-kind convening for writers and translators working with South Asian languages. A series of workshops will enable scholars to study of the impact of authors’ participation in the process of translating their works, and will help foster a global network of professionals devoted to translating South Asian literature into English.

To learn more about the research projects, please visit the Neubauer Collegium website.