Yale receives $4 million Mellon Foundation grant to support race studies centers across four universities

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The Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration (RITM), in collaboration with similar centers at Brown University, the University of Chicago, and Stanford University, has received a $4 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch a series of programs that center on questions of race in humanities teaching and scholarship.

Bridging the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA) at Brown, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture (CSRPC) at the University of Chicago, the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) at Stanford, and RITM at Yale, the partnership will support new efforts to institutionalize the study of race in the humanities on all four campuses. Since January 2019, the leaders of the four centers have met frequently to discuss scholarship on race in the humanities and arts in both undergraduate and graduate education, shared administrative challenges, and faculty support. Those discussions led the group to develop innovative and collaborative ways of strengthening the centers through a new partnership, and to affirm the critical importance of race for all fields of the humanities. “We are working to assure that race studies centers will in fact be indisputably ‛central’ to and fully merged with the humanities on each of our campuses within four years, and that they will have a higher profile as sites of innovative research, teaching, and community engagement,” noted the centers’ directors.

With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the four centers will now take new steps to advance faculty research and teaching, revise undergraduate and graduate curricula, engage with public audiences, and formalize cross-campus collaborations. “It is rare to see four universities come together in this way for a common purpose,” said principal investigator Stephen Pitti, professor of history, American studies, and ethnicity, race, and migration, and director of RITM. “But our centers share a commitment to using humanities methodologies to explore how race has shaped the modern world, and we believe that we can best advance scholarship and teaching, and best transform our universities and the broader academy, through collaboration.”

In a short time, RITM has proven to be a transformative, multidisciplinary academic center that produces cutting-edge scholarship related to race, ethnicity, and other aspects of social identity,” noted President Peter Salovey. “We are delighted that this grant recognizes the center’s ambitious work and will allow more Yale faculty and students to devote their studies to these important issues.”

Faculty and staff at Yale, Brown, the University of Chicago, and Stanford are already planning programs, courses, and events that address how race shapes social dynamics and cultural expressions in the United States and elsewhere. Center directors expect that The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s support will spark exciting research projects, lectures and seminars, programs for non-academic audiences, and academic networks that connect these and other colleges and universities.

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Media Contact

Bess Connolly: elizabeth.connolly@yale.edu, 203-432-1324