UChicago to benefit from $4 million Mellon grant to support collaborative race studies projects across four universities

The University of Chicago’s Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture is one of four universities that will share a $4 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The four-year grant will support collaborative work between centers of race and ethnicity at UChicago, Yale University, Brown University and Stanford University. 

“The grant provides the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture with an important opportunity to continue developing the study of race and ethnicity at the University with innovative initiatives, especially in the humanities,” said Salikoko S. Mufwene, the Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor in the University’s Department of Linguistics and the College and interim faculty director of the Center.

With the support of the grant, the Center plans to launch a number of projects including new humanities labs; new and enhanced grants for faculty, postdocs, and graduate students; expanded arts and humanities programming; faculty and postdoctoral publications support; short-term fellowships for visiting scholars; and course development. The grant funds will support new public engagement partnerships and annual cross-campus meetings and conferences among the four recipient campuses.

“Our collaboration with race centers at Yale, Brown and Stanford elevates the national and international profile of UChicago’s Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture as we convene cohorts of interdisciplinary thinkers and practitioners to share cutting-edge scholarship on race, as well as best practices for ensuring robust curriculums across the humanities at our respective institutions,” said Tracye A. Matthews, executive director of CSRPC. “The support from Mellon Foundation will allow our faculty and students to advance race and ethnic studies, which are central to scholarship and teaching on our campus.”

Leaders of the four centers have regularly convened to discuss the value of interdisciplinary research and share information about the centers’ challenges and best practices. Those conversations ultimately resulted in this new cross-campus partnership.

“It is rare to see four universities come together in this way for a common purpose,” said principal investigator Stephen Pitti, professor of history, American studies, and ethnicity, race, and migration, and director of Yale’s Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity and Transnational Migration. “But our centers share a commitment to using humanities methodologies to explore how race has shaped the modern world, and we believe that we can best advance scholarship and teaching, and best transform our universities and the broader academy, through collaboration.”