Mellon Summer Fellows for Public Projects in the Humanities

Summer Fellowships for Public Projects in the Humanities support graduate-student research projects that collaborate with or otherwise meaningfully engage public audiences. The fellowships are part of Reimagining the Humanities PhD and Reaching New Publics, a program to connect teaching and scholarship in the humanities to broader publics.

Projects in public scholarship are wide-ranging in form and can involve members of the community from diverse locations beyond the university campus. Examples of such project-based work include the development of college curriculum for prison education programs; public-facing digital installations of historical research; and museum exhibits. Learn about applying for Summer Fellowships for Public Projects in the Humanities.

2017 Fellows

Julian Barr (Geography)

The Original Seattle Gayborhood: A Public Historical Walking Tour of Seattle’s Lesbian & Gay Past

In summer 2016, I worked to update a walking tour on the queer history of Seattle’s Pioneer Square, a tour originally created by the Northwest Lesbian and Gay History Museum Project in the late 1990s. I realized that queer history of Pioneer Square is still incomplete—especially our understanding of how race, class, and gender affected the area. With this project, I provide additional archival research, expand the tour knowledge, and digitize the tour, making it publicly available.

Monica Cortés Viharo (Drama)

Tacoma Civil Rights Performance Walk

Inspired by the history of the NAACP and the civil rights movement in Tacoma, Washington, this project proposes a performance walk—an interactive and site-specific tour of historic locations—that incorporates oral histories (written, recorded, or performed), followed by panel discussions or workshops. The performance walk will premier at the Race and Pedagogy Conference at the University of Puget Sound in Fall 2018. This project also commemorates the tenth anniversary of the Tacoma Civil Rights Project (a 2008 exhibition at the Washington State History Museum) and a documentary film by Stanley Lee, Tacoma's Civil Rights Struggle - African Americans Leading the Way, while expanding upon those works.

Lauren Drakopulos (Geography)

See Shanties: Carto-visual Narrative in Public Science

This is a collaborative story-mapping project done in partnership with the Washington Sea Grant. It is motivated by the following questions: 1) What can carto-visual narrative (storytelling through mapping) offer as a storytelling device in public science? 2) What stories are told by conservation organizations and how are they accountable to place? The digital map will be a public facing product depicting the Sea Grant’s marine outreach programs throughout the state while also telling the story of the environmental concerns those program seek to address. I will also conduct a discourse-analysis on the map content to understand how narratives in science communications are formed and how they produce social understanding of environmental issues.

P. Joshua Griffin (Anthropology)

The Kivalina Archive: Applying the Climate Humanities Across Multiple Publics

My dissertation is a critical, engaged ethnography of climate-change displacement and contemporary indigenous politics in the context of an intergenerational struggle for environmental justice, self-determination, and a future in Kivalina—a 460-person Iñupiaq community on a tiny island along the Northwest Coast of Alaska, 85 miles above the Arctic Circle. This project will lead to the production of multimedia archival content of scholarly, popular, and applied interests for a diversity of publics, both within Kivalina and around the world, including environmental humanists, social scientists, climate adaptation planners, policymakers, social movements, and other frontline communities responding to the impacts of climate change.

2016 Fellows

Tyler Babbie (English)

A Year along the Color Line

A digital public project extending Mapping American Social Movements, this project aims to create an immersive experience of W.E.B. DuBois's The Crisis using maps and subscription-based media.

Jessica Bachman (History)

Beyond the Cold War: The Afterlife of Indo-Soviet Literary Exchange

The 1950s and 1960s are widely recognized as decades of escalating political tensions and restricted cultural exchange between the Soviet Union and the United States. But this was also a time of extraordinary cultural exchange between the USSR and countries of Africa, Latin America, South and Southeast Asia. This exhibition, oral history project, and symposium explore the history of Indo-Soviet literary exchange between the mid 1920s and late 1980s. Enabling members of King County’s diverse South Asian and ex-Soviet diasporic communities to share their stories with a wider community of residents and students, this project contributes to the decentering of Cold War cultural history away from the West and toward the global south.

Key MacFarlane (Geography)

Making Space Audible: Participatory Noise Mapping in Seattle

This project seeks to create a digital sound map of the Seattle region. The aim is to capture the voices and stories of a group of individuals often silenced in the Seattle soundscape: immigrants and refugees. Working with advocacy groups in the area, I will interview migrants, asking them to narrate their experiences settling in Seattle and to discuss their thoughts on local noise pollution. These interviews will be edited and uploaded to a digital and interactive map. These sounds will be contrasted with the noises of free-flowing commerce and trade, which I will record and upload. The juxtaposition is intended to make "audible" to the public the issues migrants and refugees face and how they are excluded, barred, and silenced in space.    

Janice Moskalik (Philosophy)

Connecting Communities through Public Philosophy: Offering Philosophy for Children Courses in Seattle Colleges

Philosophy is usually thought to be extremely difficult and so best studied within the academy; philosophy for children defies that assumption, bringing philosophy to a most unexpected new public. I aim to expand access to philosophy by connecting the UW Center for Philosophy for Children, Seattle community colleges and their students, and K-12 students through philosophy for children, thereby demonstrating both philosophy’s value and its contributions to making and expressing meaning in our lives.

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