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Community leader Laura Santos takes part in a traditional jongo
dance at Quilombo Campinho da Independência in Rio de Janeiro, where
UD’s Carla Guerrón Montero has been conducting fieldwork on the
communities known as quilombos.
The College of Arts and Sciences’ Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center
(IHRC) at the University of Delaware has awarded grants to four
projects it describes as intellectually ambitious, part of the center’s
celebration of its 10-year anniversary.
The faculty projects involve a variety of disciplines and scholarly
activities. Topics range from Delaware’s indigenous people to Afro-Latin
American histories, the Atlantic pearl industry and African American
suffragist and activist Mary Church Terrell.
The projects are:
“Learning from Delaware’s Indigenous Communities, Healing Delaware’s
Watersheds” is led by McKay Jenkins, Cornelius Tilghman Professor of
English; Jon Cox, assistant professor of art and design; Jame McCray,
marine advisory specialist in the College of Earth, Ocean and
Environment; and Anna Wik, assistant professor of plant and soil
This collaborative project is designed to collate oral and
photographic histories of Delaware’s indigenous Lenape people and their
relationship with local watersheds and native plants. It will build
bridges between University students and Lenape youth, as well as
restoring a piece of Lenape tribal property.
Participants will include faculty and students from a variety of UD
departments and the Environmental Humanities and Environmental Social
Sciences programs, along with Lenape youth and elders.
The second grant will fund the “Touring Quilombos: Memory,
Citizenship and Identities in Rio de Janeiro’s Quilombo Residual
Communities” project, led by Carla Guerrón Montero, professor of
Her research examines the intersection of culture, economics and
domestic law as they relate to tourism development and the cultural
heritage of quilombos, settlements founded in colonial Brazil by people
of African origin, often those who had escaped from slavery.
Guerrón Montero’s project aims to advance studies in Afro-Latin
American histories of resistance through anthropology, history, material
culture studies and tourism studies.
A third grant will support work by Alison Parker, professor and
department chair of history, on her forthcoming book, Unceasing
Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell, which sits at the
intersection of biography, history, Africana studies, politics and
social justice movements, material culture, and women and gender
Terrell (1863-1954) was a suffragist and civil rights activist who,
Parker argues, represents the African American elite in the nation’s
capital at the turn of the 20th century. With funding from the IHRC,
Parker will be adding two dozen images of Terrell to her book in order
to document the physical manifestations of her wealth and status.
Finally, the “Pearls for the Crown: European Courtly Art and the
Atlantic Pearl Trade, 1498-1728” project by Mónica Dominguez Torres,
associate professor of art history, examines five understudied artworks
from the Atlantic pearl industry.
The Pearls for the Crown book project reaches the fields of
ecocriticism, post-colonial theory and material culture studies. Torres
will travel to Europe to complete her archival and photographic research
as well as cultivate her knowledge in gem identification and pearl
grading for future hands-on studies in research and teaching.
Since its launch in 2009, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research
Center has been a hub of innovation and support for University of
The IHRC values multidisciplinary, collaborative projects that
bolster the public and digital humanities in the UD curriculum. Its seed
grants have supported curricular development in the Environmental
Humanities and Game Studies minors and the redesign of the Disability
Grant have supported inter-arts collaborations through performances and exhibitions, as well as scholarship and K-12 outreach.
The IHRC has also announced the appointment of the following faculty
members to the inaugural Advisory Council: Adam Foley, Alex Galarza,
Philip Gentry, Alenka Hlousek-Radojcic, Barrett Michalec, Carla
Guerrón-Montero, Deborah Steinberger and Jessica Venturi.
For more information about the center and the special 10-year anniversary grant projects, visit the website.
Article by Kathleen Lyons; photo courtesy of Zyko Nascimento
Published Jan. 8, 2020
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