The Humanities Research Institute announced the inaugural Mellon Interseminars Project, funded by a $2 million Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant. The project — the first of three — will be led by professors Carolyn Fornoff of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Josue David Cisneros of the Department of Communication, and Patrick Earl Hammie of the School of Art and Design.

The team will work with the theme “Imagining Otherwise: Speculation in the Americas.”

Referencing examples from TV’s "Lovecraft Country" to recent anti-racist activist efforts, the theme centers speculation as a method for looking differently at the world—both to critically assess its status quo and to reimagine how it could be different. Studying speculative forms in art and activism, they propose, can help guide scholarly and creative inquiry about crises ranging from climate change to systemic violence and immigration policy. The project’s work will be foregrounded in the knowledge and experiences of historically marginalized communities throughout the Americas, exploring how speculation has been and can be used to reframe the past, present and future.

Funding for the collaborative project will facilitate co-curricular programming, shared research experiences, and fellowship support for students with a focus on students underrepresented in higher education. The project will last 18 months.

You can read more about the initiative here.

Top image from Humanities Research Institute Facebook page.