Summer Institute in the Arts & Humanities: 2023 Theme, Faculty, and Call for Applicants

Bre’Anna Girdy presents her work at the 2019 SIAH Worlds in Progress Exhibit.   Izabel Del Bosque presents her work at the 2019 SIAH Worlds in Progress Exhibit.


Using “sense” as a throughline, this course will explore Black studies across freedom and liberation movements (including abolition), visuality, music, the literary imagination, feminist and queer theater and performance practices, protest, and geographies.



Image to the left: Bre’Anna Girdy presents her work at the 2019 SIAH Worlds in Progress Exhibit

About The Summer Institute in the Arts & Humanities (SIAH)

The Summer Institute in the Arts & Humanities (SIAH) was created by the Undergraduate Research Program (URP) in collaboration with the Simpson Center for the Humanities in 2002 to provide an intensive research opportunity for humanities and arts students that increases the number of undergraduates doing research in the humanities, engages humanities and arts faculty in research with undergraduates, establishes a community of undergraduate arts and humanities scholars, and creates a forum for humanities undergraduates to present their scholarly work.

SIAH offers a research opportunity for undergraduates to engage in scholarly research with accomplished scholars and peers while earning full-time academic credit. This scholarly experience occurs in the context of seminars and tutorial-style lessons with faculty who offer expertise from disciplinary and interdisciplinary points of view in a space that encourages mutual learning with peers as well as independent thought. Student participants develop individual, original research ideas related to an interdisciplinary theme, create a scholarly research paper or project, work through a faculty and peer critique process and formally present their work to their colleagues and the larger community at a closing symposium.

Learn more about SIAH and applicant guidelines on the URP SIAH webpage. You can also learn about past SIAH themes the history of Simpson Center support for the program on the SIAH webpage here at

Summer 2023 Theme

A Black Sense: Time, Art, and Being

June 20 – August 18, 2023

Our starting point in the 2023 Summer Institute in Arts and Humanities is a question of knowledge: In which ways is reality and existence knowable? What factors mediate between us and the world, and determine how we experience and comprehend what exists outside of ourselves? How does a sense of what exists move between individual and collective experience, and how do our senses shape what we can know, imagine, and do? How does the frame of Black studies – and a Black sense – as a particular intellectual and political project further animate these questions? How do we sense and pay attention in Black studies?

The 2023 Summer Institute in Arts and Humanities will interrogate “sense,” which includes feeling as a way of knowing, perception, sensorium (across sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell), embodiment, and movement. “Sense” is the route to capacious registers of understanding in Black historiographies, art and aesthetics, critical theory, and futures. Using “sense” as a throughline, this course will explore Black studies across freedom and liberation movements (including abolition), visuality, music, the literary imagination, feminist and queer theater and performance practices, protest, and geographies. Across this course, students will learn research methods to produce a final project such as an essay, curatorial project, or creative assignment. Students will engage the questions raised in this course through their own commitments, concerns, and interests.


Summer 2023 Teaching Team

Habiba Ibrahim is Professor and Associate Chair of English at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her scholarship engages African American literary and cultural studies, the theoretical traditions of Black studies, Black feminist thought, and gender studies. To account for histories of the present, she studies modern formations of blackness by examining social and literary forms of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. She is the author of Troubling the Family: The Promise of Personhood and the Rise of Multiracialism (2012) and Black Age: Oceanic Lifespans and the Time of Black Life (2021). Black Age received the honorable mention for the Harry Shaw and Katrina Hazzard-Donald Award for Outstanding Work in African-American Popular Culture Studies, given by the Popular Culture Association in 2022. She co-edited the January 2022 special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly entitled, “Black Temporality in Times of Crisis.” Among other venues, Ibrahim’s work appears in African American Review, American Literary History, and Keywords for African American Studies. Recent publications include the essay, “Caliban, His Woman, and the Gendered (In)humanism of Wild Seed” in the November 2022 special issue of Anthropology and Humanism entitled, “The Ordinariness of Cross-Time Relations: Anthropology, Literature, and the Science Fictional.”

Jasmine Mahmoud is Assistant Professor of Theatre History and Performance Studies at the University of Washington, with an affiliate appointment in Art History. Her research and teaching engage contemporary performance and art practices, and their relationships with critical race studies, feminist and queer of color critique, public policy, and geography. She focuses particularly on performance theory, minoritarian aesthetics, performance ethnography, cultural policy, racial capitalism, and processes of urbanism. She is co-editor of Makeshift Chicago Stages: A Century of Theater and Performance (Northwestern University Press 2021) with Megan Geigner and Stuart Hecht, which was awarded the 2020 ASTR Collaborative Research Award. Her current book project is Avant-Garde Geographies: Race, Public Policy, and Experimentation in the Urban Frontier. This critical cultural history investigates the trend of experimental art practices — such as avant-garde theater, experimental dance, and social practice works — taking space in urban margins (often called “frontiers”) in early 21st century New York, Detroit, Chicago, and Seattle. Mahmoud has arts writing in Art Forum, ASAP/J Online, Canadian Art Review, Common Reader, Crosscut’s Black Arts Legacies project, Howlround, Hyperallergic, LitHub, South Seattle Emerald, and Variable West. She has curated three exhibitions — Abstractions of Black Citizenship: African American Art from Saint Louis; Northwest Black; and After the Quiet: On Black Figures and Folds — with attention to Black aesthetics.

Bianca Dang is Assistant Professor and Donald W. Logan Family Endowed Chair of American History at the University of Washington. Her research and teaching focus on the histories of Black freedom movements and state coercion in the Americas during the nineteenth century. Currently, she is working on her first book, tentatively titled: Making Meaningful Freedom: Land, Labor, and Migration in Struggles for Autonomy in Haiti and the United States after Emancipation. This project traces how Haitians and African Americans emphasized autonomy, at times individual and at other times community-based, as they worked toward making freedom more than a legal status across the nineteenth century. It focuses especially on how Black women, both Haitian and American, enacted legal, diplomatic, and religious strategies to combat racism and misogyny in such pursuits. Professor Dang’s research is rooted in the nineteenth century but speaks to recent trends in historical scholarship and, more broadly, to the ongoing struggle for a more equitable world. Her research agenda is guided by Black women’s history and Black feminist theory. In particular, she looks at the history of Black women’s activism and the intersections between gender and Black movements for freedom throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Chari Glogovac-Smith is a NY Emmy nominated composer, a performer, and digital media artist. Using an evolving mixture of traditional and experimental techniques, Chari is dynamically exploring and illustrating various counterpoints between human experience and society, presenting art works nationally and internationally. Chari’s recent works have posed questions about land and power, the archive, relational aesthetics and black art practice, machine learning and satellite technology, the technology of care, and institutional critique.  As a composer, Chari is known for creating progressive experimental soundscapes, and experimental orchestral compositions.  They have composed and created commissioned recent works for The Center of the Art of Performance at UCLA, Emmy nominated Black Iris Project Ballet Company (NY, USA), New Music USA, the multi-award winning independent film “Miss Alma Thomas: A Life in Color." As a digital media artist, Chari’s work includes video, data art, live sound processing, and systems art installations.

Chari holds a B.S. in Health Ecology from the University of Nevada, Reno, an M.F.A. in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College in Oakland, CA, and is currently in their year of  Ph.D. studies in Experimental Arts and Digital Media at the University of Washington.


How to Apply, Info Sessions, and Important Dates

Application Open: January 27
Application Deadline: March 19

Info Sessions
Monday, February 6, 11-12pm
Thursday, February 23, 1-2pm

RSVP to an info session.