Announcing the Spring Funding Award Recipients

Row of chairs in front of a blackboard

June 3, 2021

The Simpson Center for the Humanities is pleased to announce our funding awards for 2021-2022 after receiving many strong proposals from University of Washington faculty and graduate students during the spring funding round. Thirteen Graduate Research Clusters as well as other collaborative projects will convene throughout 2021-2022. Please join us in congratulating the award recipients and read more about each project in the full news announcement.

Generally speaking, the Simpson Center Executive Board makes awards decisions twice during each academic year. During the spring funding round, the Simpson Center welcomes proposals for collaborative projects and graduate research clusters. Check back for announcements on upcoming funding round dates, instructions, and deadlines.

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

2021-2022 Spring Funding Awards:

Colloquia, Conferences, and Symposia

Colloquium on Transcultural Approaches to Europe

Jason Groves (German Studies), Olivia Gunn (Scandinavian Studies), Kye Terrasi (German Studies), and Maya Smith (French & Italian Studies)

This colloquium advances crucial conversations on world language and literature study on the UW Seattle campus through an interdisciplinary, multi-departmental speaker series focused on issues of race, identity, colonialism, and migration within a broad European context. These trans- or postnational, transcultural, and multilingual approaches to national literatures offer effective frameworks for undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty to grasp the intersectional complexity of power configurations in literary and visual cultures.

Andean Feminisms Symposium: “Art-Law” Dialogues, Scholarship, and Activism

Christine Keating (Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies) and Michelle Habell-Pallán (Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies)

This symposium will focus on contemporary Andean feminisms, particularly the “art-law” collaborations that have been a component of many struggles for transformation in the region. Activities will bring together indigenous, queer, and feminist legal scholars, artists, and activists who have been working on issues of indigenous sovereignty, democracy, interculturalism, violence, sexuality, and the relationship between art and activism over the past two decades.

Large-Scale Collaborations

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

Ron Krabill (IAS, Bothell), Anu Taranath (Comparative History of Ideas), and Ben Gardner (IAS, Bothell)

This inter-campus, interdisciplinary, and international research collaboration explores the politics of global partnerships and knowledge production within international education. The project centers global research collaborators who simultaneously play the roles of researchers and activists, as well as instructors and program staff for study abroad programs. The resulting work highlights the essential knowledge these individuals bring to research on the politics, discourses, and impacts of international education programs, particularly during the global pandemic of COVID-19.

UW Translation Studies Hub: Teaching Translation Across the Disciplines

Richard Watts (French & Italian Studies), Heekyoung Cho (Asian Languages & Literature), and Michael Biggins (UW Libraries and Slavic Studies)

This collaborative project 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. Each activity aims for the tangible outcome of consolidating and promoting increased current and new research in translation studies, program building in translation studies at the graduate level (with follow-on effects at the undergraduate level), and the creation of additional and alternative professional pathways for graduate students.

Cross-Disciplinary Research Clusters

Imagining Trans Futures

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

This tri-campus research cluster brings cross-disciplinary scholars, artists, and leaders together in conversation around imagining trans futures. Discussions especially focus on the intersections between critical trans studies and trans knowledge production inside and outside the academy. This includes developing a writing group for trans-identified scholars and hosting a series of public events that showcase key conversations and cultural work in the field of trans studies.

Abolitionist Futures & Intentional Kin-Making

Megan Ybarra (Geography), Dian Million (American Indian Studies), Chandan Reddy (Comparative History of Ideas), and Stephanie Smallwood (History)

This research cluster seeks to develop practices of intentional kin-making across Black, Indigenous, and Diasporic communities. This work explicitly engages abolition as a practice that builds up non-punitive and non-hierarchical forms of knowledge production through an early fall week-long undergraduate institute on abolition and a published anthology. By practicing place-based solidarities across each activity, the research highlights and examines the importance of intentional kin-making across Indigenous and racialized communities and human/non-human relations.

Graduate Research Clusters

Textiles Studies 

Kaitlyn Boulding (Classics)

This coalition of graduate students will examine human textile history by building interdisciplinary networks and facilitating communication on shared themes. Approaches include holistically studying textiles to focus not only on the production tools and techniques but also on textile crafts and objects’ myriad cultural and theoretical implications, including studies in aesthetics, adornment and materiality, gendered labor, linguistic and literary poetics, investigations of resources and trade, and the religious significance of fabrics. The aim of this work is to improve participants’ research creativity and scope. 

Feminist Writing

Ellen Chang (Cinema & Media Studies)

Academic writing is often thought of and experienced as a process of (self-)isolation; however, graduate students and writers do not always and should not have to feel the same way. This writing and research group will aim attention at the “craft” of writing to build a sense of solidarity among those engaged in intensive writing, particularly on theses or dissertations. This includes creating a collective writing space where participants can make friends with their writing selves and turn writing into a pleasant and empowering companion.

Rethinking East Asia

Ying-Hsiu Chou (Asian Languages & Literature)

This cluster will bring together graduate students from different academic departments and programs to explore various aspects of East Asia, especially boundary-breaking, cross-disciplinary approaches that challenge conventional and dominant mappings and theoretical frameworks. By examining East Asia as a cultural construction, participants critically analyze how cross-border movements, transnational encounters, and minor interactions make, shape, and transgress boundaries. Critical feminist consciousness informs participants’ approach by paying particular attention to gender, power, difference, everyday practice, and resistance.

Genomics Salon

Michael Goldberg (Genome Sciences)

The salon will practice a discussion-based approach to examining subjects related to the field of genomics and, more broadly, modern biology. At these informal forums, participants discuss high-level, interdisciplinary issues and engage in topics that typically fall outside of traditional scientific training but nevertheless have strong social relevance. Topics, as a result, vary widely and engage interdisciplinary interest, such as the ethical implications of gene editing in humans, the complicated sociopolitical landscape of government-regulated genomic testing of migrants and refugees, and the interaction between genomics and music.

Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Studies

Laura Griffith (English)

Graduate students from English, Art History, Comparative Literature, French & Italian Studies, German Studies, and other departments who research aspects of global middle modernity have met on campus for more than ten years. Activities emphasize hosting various events to foster collaboration and camaraderie between departments, students, and faculty, and include popular public-facing events, such as JaneFest in 2017, Frankenreads in 2018, and March Madness 2019.

Gender and Sexuality

Daiki Hiramori (Sociology)

Participants in this research cluster share the common aim of creating a supportive intellectual community that encourages a variety of rigorous work related to the topics of gender and sexuality. The cluster, established in 2014, has five goals: creating and maintaining space for workshopping each other’s materials, fostering collaboration between group members, providing accountability for productivity and deadlines, growing as an intellectual community, and networking with graduate students at other universities.

Interdisciplinary Translation Studies Graduate Research Cluster

Anna Learn (Interdisciplinary Near & Middle Eastern Studies)

Graduate students interested in translation, regardless of their disciplinary homes, will create a forum to support one another. Participants will emphasize strategies for making their voices collectively heard in the development of translation studies-related curricula, events, and programming at the UW, as well as actively affirming the crucial role of translation in the scholarship of various academic fields.

CMS-iSchool Joint Graduate Conference in Media Technologies

Yandong Li (Cinema & Media Studies)

Graduate students from CMS and the iSchool will work together to create an inaugural joint graduate conference in media technologies, which will be held in spring 2022 on the UW Seattle campus. The conference will be a pioneer in supporting innovative approaches across media and information studies, with an emphasis on tackling issues in media and information studies from the perspectives of critical infrastructures and data studies.

Collective for the Study of Racial Capitalism

Alexandra Meany (English)

Scholar-activists will convene from across UW to share work, workshop writing, and develop inter- and cross-disciplinary capacity for relationally grounded graduate student work in the field of Racial Capitalism. Participants will sharpen their thinking in conversation with each other and pool resources from across institutional positionalities and disciplinary boundaries. The collective hopes to create a space of collaborative learning based on a commitment to relationships of accountability and care. 


Mona Merhi (School of Drama)

C.O.M.R.A (Conjecture, Other, Meet, Reckon, Acknowledge) will gather a group of international graduate students who are interested in decentering narratives around theatre, cinema, performance, visual arts, literature, and creative writing. C.O.M.R.A  will seek to acknowledge and to suture existing erasures while challenging the dominant discourse in each field through an awareness of intersectionality.

Dismantling the Canon

Ananya Sikand (Art History)

By focusing on disability studies, this group will recognize inequities and then identify and implement solutions for artists, activists, curators, educators, and researchers in their respective practices. In particular, participants will examine issues of accessibility in visual and material cultures within academic and cultural institutions. Activities will include monthly meetings culminating in workshops and panel discussions at the end of each quarter that are open to the broader UW community.

Interdisciplinary Dissertation Writing Group

Maral Sahebjame (Interdisciplinary Near & Middle Eastern Studies)

This writing group will offer a supportive, low-stakes environment to facilitate work on dissertation drafts. Participants will discuss research and writing strategies but also provide solicited feedback to one another to support success as interdisciplinary scholars of misrepresented populations and regions. Key practices in this group include positive encouragement to alleviate feelings of isolation, self-doubt, and inadequacy, which commonly impede progress toward dissertation completion. 


Benjamin Trnka (Medicine)

CHIME (Critical Humanities & Interdisciplinary Medical Education) will unite a coalition of graduate students dedicated to raising critical consciousness in medical education. Through a series of forums about foundational medical humanities literature and workshops producing concrete interventions for medical training, CHIME will promote a unique and necessary interdisciplinary perspective. Ultimately, CHIME projects its critical voice to excite a more just and humanistic vision of health and care.