The American Studies Association is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018-2019 ASA Community Partnership Grants to support collaborative interdisciplinary community projects utilizing American Studies pedagogy, curriculum, research, and other resources.

2019 Winning Grant

Transcribe Cooper: A Workshop on Crowdsourcing Black Archives

Project Directors: Jim Casey (Princeton University) & Shirley Moody-Turner (Pennsylvania State University)

Grant Amount: $3000

Transcribe Cooper aims to build a community around the work of Anna Julia Cooper, and to ensure that community extends beyond the academy. Along with transcribing approximately 300 documents in the Anna Julia Cooper Digital Collection, these efforts are designed to model new possibilities for community-engaged collaborations across institutions— particularly in partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities. There is a great need for new models of community-based digital initiatives that center black women’s archival collections. Third, the workshop will provide training for graduate student leaders from several universities, exposing them to career possibilities beyond higher education. More broadly, Transcribe Cooper will seek to explore how the legacies and politics of knowledge production from black women writers, such as Cooper, ought to shape our use of digital technologies in American Studies outreach, teaching, and research. Douglass Day 2020 will invite more than 1,000 community members to join this work. The results of Transcribe Cooper will be stored and made freely available through MSRC’s Digital Howard Institutional Repository.

2018 Winning Grants

In Search of the Black University:

A Community Curriculum for the Pan-African Library of CANVAS Institute

Project Director: Robert Fanuzzi (St. John's University, Staten Island)

Grant Amount: $3000

The grant will provide for stipends, instructional materials, and facility-related costs for three workshops with participants from Staten Island public schools, community organizations, and youth development programs, as they come together to create a curriculum for the campus-community partnerships’ recently-installed Pan-African Library at CANVAS Institute for Arts, Culture, and Civic Engagement. Transforming this 800-book collection into a black studies center (that is also decentered from the university), the curriculum will become a model of praxis that addresses educational needs outside formalized public schools and directly engages underrepresented, educationally-marginalized communities in the co-creation of knowledge about themselves.


Inside, Outside, and the Spaces Between:

Exhibiting Resistance to American Incarceration

Project Director: Therese Quinn (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Amount: $3000

The grant will support the production of an exhibition, (web and video) documentation, opening night reception, and coordinated public programming hosted at Chicago’s Read/Write Library in Fall 2018 and organized by Illinois Deaths in Custody Project (IDCP). IDCP is an initiative that includes artists, scholars, and community-based organizations in documenting, archiving, mourning, and researching the deaths of all people who die in custody in Illinois. The exhibition and related programs will increase public knowledge of the impact and conditions of incarceration and strengthen collective and local strategies for communicating with those who are incarcerated. Additional programming will include a guest speaker event, coordinated outreach, and local school classroom tours of the exhibition.

The Interdisciplinary Public Library:

A Collaborative Project in Providence, RI

Project Director: Susan Smulyan (Brown University)

Grant Amount: $3000

The grant will provide seed money for a five-year partnership between the American Studies Department at Brown University and neighborhood branches of the Providence Community Library, which are collectively run by a grassroots coalition that serves a diverse community yet is deeply underfunded. Faculty and students aim to provide much-needed ESL and GED educational services through the partnership. The partnership foresees first-year programming to include ESL tutoring by Brown graduate students, the creation of travelling exhibits on contemporary issues and local history, and campus-community book groups. The project has a matching contribution from the Center for Public Humanities at Brown University which, together with ASA and American Studies Department support, will fund a coordinator position, an ESL consultant for training, and materials and publicity for exhibits and book groups.


Lakeland Community Heritage:

A Collaborative Project in College Park, Maryland

Project Director: Mary Corbin Sies (University of Maryland, College Park)

Grant Amount: $3000

The grant will provide stipends for summer interns working with the Lakeland Community Heritage Project (LCHP), the American Studies Department at University of Maryland, College Park, and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MATH) – which together form a campus-community partnership focused on Lakeland as a community of color that was taken by eminent domain during urban renewal. Over nearly a decade of collaboration, LCHP and UMD have produced a report on Lakeland; a timeline on the impact of urban renewal; a walking tour; a film on education before, during, and after desegregation of public schools in Lakeland; and a digital archive of photographs, land records, census data, maps, newspaper clippings, and oral history recordings. Summer intern students will be trained to conduct oral history with elder community members and build accessible resources for the Lakeland Digital Archive.