Pembroke Center Seed Grants for Faculty Research

Seed Grant Recipients: Academic Year 2014-15

Traditional Aymara ceremony in Copacabana, on the border of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia.Traditional Aymara ceremony in Copacabana, on the border of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia.Andean Project

In recent years, scholars in many disciplines have produced an outpouring of work on the histories and societies of indigenous people in the Andes (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile). This recent interest is due in part to the extraordinary growth of indigenous ethnic mobilization and political parties in the Andean world, but goes far beyond that subject into the study of history, anthropology, sociology, literature, and performance studies, among others. But there has been all too little conversation among the disciplines.

Thanks to seed grant funding from the Pembroke Center, a group of Brown professors and students from the departments of Anthropology, History, Music, Hispanic Studies and others have formed the Andean Project. Over the 2014-15 academic year, the Project will host a series of lectures and public performances, both academic and of general interest, at Brown. The first will be a panel discussion to coincide with Brown’s First Readings program on the film Oil & Water, a documentary about the struggles around oil extraction in eastern Ecuador that features David Poritz ’11 and the organization he created to establish a fair trade certification for oil. The Andean Project also will run a workshop for sharing and critiquing work-in-progress by the participants. The Andean Project’s goal is to build the visibility of Andean Studies at Brown, to foster interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration, and to prepare undergraduate and graduate students for future work or study in Latin America.

  • Laura Bass, Associate Professor and Chair, Hispanic Studies 
  • Jeremy Mumford, Lecturer, History

The Hannah Town Cultural Group leading a vigil for people who have died violently, as part of the "Letters from the Dead" research and performance project, Kingston, Jamaica, 2014. Copyright Anique Jordan, 2014The Hannah Town Cultural Group leading a vigil for people who have died violently, as part of the "Letters from the Dead" research and performance project, Kingston, Jamaica, 2014. Copyright Anique Jordan, 2014Black Women at the Grassroots of Politics in Jamaica

This project draws upon the social movement scholarship in Africana Studies, Anthropology, Political Science, History, and Feminist Studies to explore Black women’s grassroots activism in Jamaica. Research collaborators will pursue the following questions: 1) When and how do Black women lead and participate in grassroots political organizations?; 2) What are the primary social and political issues driving Black women to organize in their local communities?; 3) How do Black women mobilize around racial, gender, class, and sexual interests and advance feminist theories of intersectionality?; and,  4) How have the shifting trends in governance shaped contemporary grassroots social movements in Jamaica and the broader Caribbean?

The seed grant will support research projects on social movements against forced land evictions, art and theatre-based activism, and Rastafari women’s philosophy and engagement in gendered anti-racism politics. The group hopes to host one-day seminars at Brown and the University of the West Indies, Mona led by Anthony Bogues and Maziki Thame to explore key ideas in Caribbean political thought and developments related to black women’s grassroots activism. This collaborative research project will result in a special journal issue.  The project is also partially supported with a grant from the Watson Institute for International Studies.

  • Keisha-Khan Y. Perry (Project Director), Assistant Professor of Africana Studies
  • Anthony Bogues, Lyn Crost Professor of Social Sciences and Critical Theory; Director, Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice
  • Maziki Thame, Lecturer in the Department of Government, University of the West Indies, Mona
  • Nicosia Shakes, doctoral candidate, Africana Studies
  • Shamara Alhassan, doctoral student, Africana Studies

Breaking the Rules: Gender, Power, and Politics in the Films of Lars von Trier

Lars von Trier’s films – including Melancholia (2011) and Nymphomaniac (2014) – are unsettling, urgent, and often controversial. His films raise questions about gender and violence, the politics of the foreigner, the disabled and the immigrant, conditions of work in neoliberal economies, marriage, morality, and more.  Project organizers have invited scholars to submit papers for a special issue of the online journal, Theory & Event – an interdisciplinary journal with a reputation for cutting edge theoretical and political inquiry.

Seed grant funds will support the screening of a number of von Trier’s films and the hosting of a conference at Brown in November that will feature scholars who have been invited to submit to Theory & Event.  The Brown community will be invited to join scholars at the conference in thinking specifically about the films of Lars von Trier and about film as a political and aesthetic technology. The conference will bring together scholars from all over the world working at the intersections of classics, women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, racial politics, political science, philosophy, humanities and communications arts, and film studies. The aim is not only to generate political commentary on von Trier’s films, but also to use his films as an occasion to develop new work in political, literary, film, feminist, or critical theory.

  • Bonnie Honig (project director), Nancy Duke Lewis Professor (-elect), Modern Culture and Media and Political Science
  • Anthony Cokes, Professor, Modern Culture and Media

Nadege Green and Lara Stein Pardo, Tie Your Waist, and Gather Your Strength, Digital Print, 11 x 17 inches, 2012.Nadege Green and Lara Stein Pardo, Tie Your Waist, and Gather Your Strength, Digital Print, 11 x 17 inches, 2012.Writing the Undercommons

This working collective of seven scholars will explore the problems of humanism and humanness across several interrelated fields, including anthropology, Black studies, geography, history of art and architecture, literary studies, and women and gender studies. Through collaborative and interdisciplinary engagements developed through thinking, research, and writing, members will generate and share primary research pertinent to both their discrete disciplines and the wider concerns of humanistic study. Topics of interest include aesthetics and cultural production, diaspora, feminism, gender, (collective) memory, representation, social survival and sustainability, and space, place, and geography.

Seed grant funding will support the development and broad dissemination of research findings, the creation of related pedagogical tools, and teach-ins and other collaborative forums for learning and exchange. Funding will also support professional development, including participation in conferences and other convenings and the organization of a public symposium at which collective members will present their work to the larger community. The funds will also help members develop new courses to offer to Brown’s students.

  • Rebecca Louise Carter (project co-director), Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies
  • Courtney J. Martin (project co-director), Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture
  • Karida L. Brown, Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology, Cogut Center for the Humanities Graduate Fellow
  • Kimberly Juanita Brown, Assistant Professor of African American Literature, Northeastern University
  • Patricia Anne Lott, Ruth J. Simmons Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice
  • Lara Stein Pardo, Postdoctoral Research Associate, John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage
  • Linda Quiquivix, Independent Scholar

Seed Grants up to $10,000

The Pembroke Center seed grant program supports transnational research initiatives that involve faculty from the humanities, social sciences, creative arts, health sciences, and science and technology studies. In keeping with the Pembroke Center’s intellectual mission, these new research initiatives will examine intersecting dimensions of difference such as gender, sexuality, generation, work, class, race, ethnicity, language, citizenship, and religion.

The goals of the Pembroke Center seed grant program are to:

1) Support the formation of focused interdisciplinary groups working across fields and academic divisions to creatively explore social issues and issues of representation.

2) Encourage dialogue among scholars from different disciplines, with distinct theoretical and methodological approaches, in order to shed new light on larger issues.

3) Incorporate intersecting dimensions of difference (such as gender, sexuality, generation, work, class, race, ethnicity, language, citizenship, and religion) into broader research agendas.

4) Serve as a catalyst for developing research projects that may ultimately qualify for external grant funding.

    Application Requirements

    • One faculty project director, plus a minimum of one additional faculty member from a different field
    • One-page bios of research group participants, including their disciplines, research interests as they relate to the seed grant application, and their other interdisciplinary projects
    • Title of research project and a two- to three-page description that details the central research questions, common themes, and project goals
    • Plan to involve other faculty researchers, visiting scholars, postdoctoral fellows, and students
    • Dissemination plan for research findings
    • Proposed budget of up to $10,000. Please list all current and pending funding from Brown and other sources related to the project.

    Applicants should design their program to best serve their research goals.

    Pembroke Center grants may be used for a mix of workgroups, symposia, and performances for collaborative exchange, visiting scholars, lectures, student research assistantships, small research stipends for the lead faculty organizer, and publication support. Groups must be anchored at Brown University but may include outside researchers. Preference will be given to projects that involve faculty across academic divisions.

    Applications for Academic Year 2o14-15 are due on February 28, 2014 at 5:00 p.m.

    Applications may be sent electronically to or delivered via hard copy to:

    The Pembroke Center – Box 1958
    Pembroke Hall, Room 111
    172 Meeting Street
    Brown University
    Providence, RI 02912

    Contacts for Questions

    Kay Warren
    Director of the Pembroke Center

    Debbie Weinstein
    Assistant Director of the Pembroke Center

    The Pembroke Center Seed Grant Program is made possible thanks to the generosity of the donors to the Pembroke Challenge.