The Rackham Program in Public Scholarship, with support from the U-M Office of Research, is pleased to announce its 2018 Public Scholarship grant awards to graduate students. The grants, totaling more than $41,000, support research projects created in partnership between Rackham students and a broad spectrum of community partner organizations.
Each of the six funded projects results in a public good—informed by their scholarship—which helps to address complex and wide-ranging social and cultural issues locally and abroad, from Thai migration to Israel to neighborhood-based economic opportunities for Latino/a communities in Detroit.
A review committee selected the graduate students from a highly competitive pool. Their diverse set of projects demonstrates the scope of public engagement work graduate students are doing at U-M. Beginning early in their careers, the projects students co-created with partners also demonstrate the potential they have to shape the field of public scholarship into the future.
The Rackham Program in Public Scholarship has been supporting public scholarship on campus since 1998, when it began as the Arts of Citizenship Program. Its mission is to support collaborative scholarly and creative endeavors that engage communities and co-create public goods while enhancing students’ professional development around public engagement and community-based learning.
Anna Antoniou, Ph.D. Candidate, Anthropology
Ph.D. Candidate, Anthropology
“Living off the Bay, Past and Present: Community Oriented Cultural Heritage and Natural Resource Stewardship in Willapa Bay, Washington”
Working in partnership with the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe (SBIT), this project will involve local communities in interpreting collections, data, and narratives gathered through archeological research in the area. The result will be new collection displays and educational tool-kits for the SBIT Cultural Museum and an educational curriculum on Native foodways for incorporation into an existing SBIT Diet and Nutrition course. The overarching goal is to work toward using academic archeological data to foster public stewardship of cultural heritage by applying and using archaeological practice in ways that are relevant to those whose heritage is being excavated, documented, and interpreted.
John Doering-White, Ph.D. Candidate, Anthropology and Social Work
Ph.D. Candidate, Anthropology and Social Work
“Entrepreneurship and Revitalization in Detroit”
This project aims to amplify the voices of Latinx immigrant communities whose entrepreneurial efforts are often peripheral to narratives of Detroit’s revitalization. In collaboration with ProsperUS, the project team will conduct an ethnographic evaluation of current Spanish language training programs focused on entrepreneurship to understand why so few members of the Latinx community participate. The project will also feature a storytelling process and exhibit intended to help members of this community and others better understand the purpose of the program and the importance of immigrant entrepreneurship to Detroit’s revitalization.
Jallicia Jolly, Ph.D. Candidate, American Culture
Ph.D. Candidate, American Culture
“HIV+ Women Speak: HIV/AIDS Community Organizing in Jamaica”
Through a partnership with EVE for Life, a women’s HIV psychosocial care organization, this project will record oral histories to document the experiences of HIV-positive women’s community organizing in Jamaica. By doing so, the collaboration aims to contribute to our cultural knowledge of HIV and the grassroots efforts and politics of those disproportionately affected by the epidemic. Components include creating a digital archive of stories and a public installation exhibit featuring excerpts from interviews.
Matan Kaminer, Ph.D. Candidate, Anthropology
Ph.D. Candidate, Anthropology
“Chiwit Thi Israel/Life in Israel – Podcast for Thai Migrants in Israel”
Migrant workers from Thailand who work in Israel are some of the most marginalized and politically disenfranchised people in the country. Much of their structural marginality is related to the linguistic, geographical, and social isolation they face and the consequent difficulty of accessing information on all aspects of life in Israel. Working with a support organization called Workers Hotline, this project will use Kaminer’s field research to create a pilot series of web-based videos based on this community’s needs and interests. The videos will act as an informational resource as well as a means to deepen the knowledge of their allies in the scholarly and non-profit worlds.
Zachary Kopin, Ph.D. Candidate, History
Ph.D. Candidate, History
“From District 6 to Sophiatown: Teaching Dispossession and Forced Removals in Apartheid South Africa”
Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, South Africa, was formerly home to an apartheid prison. Now it serves as a national landmark and International Site of Conscience. Staff are tasked with reclaiming and repurposing the former prison’s spaces, generating economic development, and providing educational programs for school children. In collaboration with the site, this project will address a need at the historic site to revamp educational programming that addresses the history of forced relocation of people of color in Apartheid South Africa. Working with curriculum specialists, the goal of this work is to create a program for 8 to 12 year old visitors that teaches the history of forced relocation and Apartheid using the spaces of the site.
Kimberly Ransom, Ph.D. Candidate, Education
Ph.D. Candidate, Education
“Pickens County Rosenwald School Museum”
Rosenwald Schools were segregated schools founded in 1913 as a partnership between Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald, and African American communities in rural Alabama. They had a tremendous impact. Yet their history has primarily been told from the perspectives of former teachers and administrators, not former students. Working with the Pickensville Community Center (housed in a former Rosenwald school building), this project will document and collect oral histories of former students. These oral histories will form the foundation for an archive and museum that will tell the story of Rosenwald Schools from the voices of the children whose lives were transformed by the education they offered to black communities and students during a time when such opportunities were scarce.