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Simpson Center for the Humanities

Announcing Collaborative Project Funding Awards for 2020-2021

The Simpson Center for the Humanities is pleased to announce our collaborative project funding awards for 2020-2021 after receiving many strong proposals from University of Washington faculty and graduate students.

The Simpson Center Executive Board makes two rounds of award decisions during each academic year. In the fall, the board will review proposals for research fellowships, conferences, and publicly-engaged collaborative projects. Read about our funding opportunities and check back for funding round dates, instructions, and deadlines.

Congratulations to our award recipients and our warm thanks to all who applied.

Colloquia, Conferences, and Symposia

Curating in Conversation

Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse (Assistant Professor, School of Art + Art History + Design)

The Bill Holm Center at the Burke Museum will host a series of lectures and programs to increase public understanding around the complexities and ethics involved in the promotion and exhibition of both contemporary and historic Native art.

Transcultural Approaches to Modern Europe

Jason Groves (Assistant Professor, Germanics), S. Kye Terrasi (Senior Lecturer, Germanics), Olivia Gunn (Assistant Professor, Scandinavian Studies), Rich Watts (Associate Professor, French & Italian Studies)

A speaker series focused on race, identity, colonialism, and migration within a broad European context.

Retirement Seminar for Faculty

Judith A. Howard (Professor Emerita, Sociology) and Míċeál F. Vaughan (Professor Emeritus, English)

A quarter-long weekly seminar involving a cohort of faculty who are recently retired or transitioning to retirement and are examining the challenges and opportunities of retiring from the University of Washington. 

Bugs and Beasts Before the Law

Mita Mahato (Associate Curator of Youth and Public Programs, Henry Art Gallery), Carolyn Pinedo-Turnovsky (Associate Professor, American Ethnic Studies), Nina Bozicnik (Associate Curator, Henry Art Gallery) Dan Berger (Associate Professor, IAS, UW Bothell), Dan Paz (Lecturer, Comparative History of Ideas)

The Henry Art Gallery will present "Bugs and Beasts Before the Law," an essay film by the artist duo Bambitchell that explores the history and legacy of “animal trials,” in which non-human animals and inanimate objects were put on trial for various offenses. The Henry will also host an interdisciplinary colloquium in conversation with this work.

Conference on the History of the English Language

Colette Moore  (Associate Professor, English)

The history of the English language is the story of the English language in the last 1500 years; its scholarship focuses on the changing sounds, structure, and use of the language, and draws methodological tools from linguistics, literary study, cultural study, and data methods.

Crossdisciplinary Research Clusters

Imagining Trans Futures

Ching-In Chen (Assistant Professor, IAS, UW Bothell) and Neil Simpkins (Assistant Professor, IAS, UW Bothell)

This tri-campus Trans Studies research cluster will bring together cross-disciplinary scholars, artists, and leaders in conversation around imagining trans futures and the intersections between critical trans studies and trans knowledge production both inside and out of the academy.

Building Bridges to Disability Studies

Stephen Meyers (Assistant Professor, Law, Societies, & Justice) and Mark Harniss (Associate Professor, Rehabilitation Medicine)

This project builds bridges between the Disability Studies Program and UW departments not currently represented in Disability Studies activities on campus through a colloquium series.

An Integrated Graduate and Undergraduate Curriculum in Digital Textual Studies

Geoffrey Turnovsky (Associate Professor, French & Italian Studies), Beatrice Arduini (Associate Professor, French & Italian Studies), Jeffrey Todd Knight (Associate Professor, English), Juliet Shields (Professor, English)

This Crossdisciplinary Research Cluster will create a minor in textual studies, while refining the Graduate Certificate in textual studies. Textual studies encompasses a broad set of disciplinary fields, techniques, and skills that seek to better understand the nature of texts. These include editing, bibliography, archival research, historical and literary scholarship, and the digital humanities. Training in textual studies is critical for students interested in graduate and professional work in publishing, libraries, and academic IT.

Collaboration Studio Grant

Labor Ecologies: Race, Indigeneity, and Environmental Justice in Pacific Northwest Coastal Economies

Carrie Freshour (Assistant Professor, Geography), P. Joshua Griffin (Assistant Professor, American Indian Studies)

This Collaboration Studio will develop theoretics, place-based pedagogy, and relational foundations for a long term, externally funded, and publicly-engaged research program that intervenes in key debates within critical race and Indigeneous studies, labor studies, and the environmental humanities.

Large-Scale Collaborations

Translation Studies Hub

Richard Watts (Associate Professor, French & Italian Studies), Heekyoung Cho (Associate Professor, Asian Languages & Literature), Michael Biggins (Affiliate Professor and Librarian, Slavic Languages & Literatures)

The Translation Studies Hub aims to further coalesce interest in translation on campus and beyond by building on existing and emergent faculty and graduate student research projects, courses, and initiatives.

Other Funded Projects

Art at the Borders of the Political: Mobilizing Senses Across the Americas

María Elena García (Associate Professor, Comparative History of Ideas), Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse (Assistant Professor, School of Art + Art History + Design), Danny Hoffman (Professor, Jackson School of International Studies), Tony Lucero (Associate Professor, Jackson School/LACS), Maya Smith (Associate Professor, French), Rich Watts (Associate Professor, French & Italian Studies) 

Through a series of film screenings, public talks and exhibitions, micro-seminars and participatory pop-up installations, this project showcases the power of art and sensory scholarship to move beyond the tropes of victimhood or heroic resistance and reveal democratic energies.

Pedagogies of Reciprocity: The Politics of Knowledge, Equity and Ethics in International Educational Collaboration

Ron Krabill (Professor, IAS, UW Bothell), Anu Taranath (Principal Lecturer, Comparative History of Ideas/English), Ben Gardner (Associate Dean and Associate Professor, IAS, UW Bothell)

Pedagogies of Reciprocity is an inter-campus, interdisciplinary and international research effort to explore the politics of global partnerships and knowledge production within international education and study abroad programs.

Mellon Sawyer Seminar: Humanitarianisms: Migrations and Care Through the Global South

Arzoo Osanloo (Associate Professor, Law, Societies & Justice) and Cabeiri deBergh Robinson (Associate Professor, Jackson School of International Studies)

Through this project, we seek to decolonize the rhetoric and understanding of humanitarianism by examining the histories of forced migration and practices of humanitarian care for forced migrants, including both ‘conventional’ and ‘humanitarian refugees’, that developed outside of Europe and North America. We do so through a comparative examination of these issues according to three thematic clusters—Decentering Migration and Decolonizing Humanitarianism, Comparative Humanitarianisms, and Rethinking the Human—each of which builds on the previous cluster and thus creates threads of inquiry that frame a public speaker series and the work of a faculty and graduate student research group.

Global Literary Studies

Naomi Sokoloff (Professor, Near Eastern Languages & Civilization), Gordana Crnkovic (Professor, Slavic Languages & Literatures), Gary Handwerk (Professor, Comparative History of Ideas)

This project supports curriculum design for a new major in Global Literary Studies, as well as a spring 2021 colloquium on the topic.

Graduate Research Clusters

HAPTICS Study Group

Gust Burns (PhD Candidate, English)

Approaching the haptic from the study of sound and media, the senses, perception, and affect, as well as its affordances for the study of literature and art, culture, and society, this GRC will read and discuss together, and hold remote workshops with important scholars.

Feminist Writing

Ellen Chang (PhD Candidate, Cinema & Media Studies)

This GRC aims attention at the “craft” of writing. It is committed to building a sense of solidarity among our participants, who are in the phase of intensive writing (particularly those at their thesis or dissertation writing stage), by creating a collective writing space where participants can make friends with their writing selves and turn writing into a pleasant and empowering companion.

Genomics Salon

Michael Goldberg (PhD Candidate, Genome Sciences)

The UW Genomics Salon hosts discussions on subjects of general intellectual interest related to the field of genomics and, more broadly, modern biology. We provide an informal forum to discuss high-level, interdisciplinary issues that typically fall outside traditional scientific training but nevertheless have strong social relevance.

Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Studies     

Laura Griffith (PhD Student, English)

This working group has met on campus for more than ten years and hosts a variety of events to foster collaboration and camaraderie between departments and between students and faculty. It also hosts public-facing events, which have been very popular, including JaneFest in 2017, Frankenreads in 2018, and March Madness 2019.

Gender and Sexuality

Daiki Hiramori (PhD Candidate, Sociology)

This GRC creates a supportive intellectual community that encourages a variety of rigorous work related to the topics of gender and sexuality.

Collective for the Study of Racial Capitalism

Nanya Jhingran (PhD Student, English)

This GRC convenes scholar-activists from across the UW campus to share work, workshop writing, and develop inter- and cross-disciplinary capacity for relationally grounded graduate student work in the field of Racial Capitalism.

Body and Media

Xin Peng (PhD Candidate, Cinema & Media Studies)

With participants working on different time periods, cultures, media, and genres, this GRC adopts a transhistorical and comparative approach to the study of the relationships between body and media.


Benjamin Trnka (Medicine)

CHIME (Critical Humanities & Interdisciplinary Medical Education) unites a coalition of graduate students dedicated to raising critical consciousness in medical education. The group will host a series of forums about foundational medical humanities literature and workshops producing concrete interventions for medical training.