A&S faculty collaborate on social justice research
Cate Fosl,women’s and gender studies, and director of the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research and Enid Trucios-Haynes, Brandeis School of Law and director of the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice.
In October, UofL awarded a new collaboration between the College of Arts & Sciences and the Brandeis School of Law funding throughout the next three years as part of a $2.25 million grant from the 21st Century Initiative.
The project, The Cooperative Consortium for Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research, is led by co-principal investigators Cate Fosl, professor of women’s and gender studies, and director of the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research in the College of Arts & Science, and Enid Trucios-Haynes, professor in the Brandeis School of Law and director of the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice.
“It’s very positive and has been a morale booster. But we don’t want to lose sight of the importance of really getting at some of these compelling social problems that need justice-driven solutions,” Fosl said. “It’s not only about building something at the university. It’s about building something at the university with the community that can move us all forward as a society.”
The program focuses on arts and humanities disciplines, entailing research not generated from a science lab, which makes it unique, according to Fosl and Trucios-Haynes. It also promotes the relatively new concept of “transdisciplinary,” which Fosl describes as “cross-pollinating” research and expertise from a variety of disciplines (history and law, for example), and then adding in community partners outside of campus who have applied knowledge and expertise.
“Together, we’re seeking to find solutions to problems that are larger, more complicated than simply putting each of our disciplines’ best knowledge to work, even jointly,” Fosl said. “For us in the academy, it’s also a very intentional recognition that we don’t have all the answers and that we need community expertise and community practitioners. The ideas some of us merely think about are insufficient without that knowledge of practice.”
A call for proposals generated the first group of grantees form the College of Arts & Sciences. They include:
- “Middle-School Citizen Science Investigation of Global Climate Change: Developing Local Environmental Justice School Partnerships,” led by Mary Brydon-Miller (CEHD), with Prof. Shira Rabin (Biology), Prof. Bronwyn Williams (English), in collaboration with Marion C. Moore Traditional Middle School (JCPS) and Four Winds Nature Institute.
- Housing Justice in Louisville Metro and Beyond, led by Prof. Lauren Heberle (Sociology and Center for Environmental Policy and Management), with Prof. Fosl and Prof.Kelly Kinahan (Urban and Public Affairs), in partnership with the Metropolitan Housing Coalition (MHC).
- “Microaggressions in Clinical Medicine,” led by Prof. Lauren Freeman (Philosophy), with Jennifer Stephens (School of Medicine) and Dwayne Compton and David McIntosh (Office of Community Engagement and Diversity), in partnership with the Kentucky Health Justice Network.
- “Civil Rights History in Kentucky,” led by Prof. Lara Kelland (History) and Prof. Daniel Vivian (History), with Prof. Stephen Schneider (English); Heather Fox and Carrie Daniels (Libraries: Archives and Special Collections), in partnership with the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage.
- “Project STAAR: Survivors of Trafficking Creating Art, Agency and Resilience,” led by Jennifer Middleton, UofL Human Trafficking Research Initiative in the Kent School, with Maurice Gattis and Lesley Harris (Kent School), Prof. Theresa Hayden (Criminal Justice), Jennie Vavrousek, MD (Pediatric Forensic Fellow – School of Medicine), Zhixia (Richard) Li and Olfa Nasraoui (Speed School), in partnership with the Kristy Love Foundation.
- “Strengths and Needs of the Louisville House Ball Community,” led by Emma Sterrett-Hong, Kent School, with Prof. Kaila Story (Women and Gender Studies/Pan-African Studies), Ryan Combs (SPHIS) and Maurice Gattis (Kent School), in partnership with individuals from the Louisville House Ball Community.
- “Learning how the Community Leads: Evaluating and Informing City-Based Participatory Engagement in West Louisville,” led by Prof. Angela Storey (Anthropology), with Prof. Daniel DeCaro (Urban and Public Affairs/Psychology), David Johnson (SPHIS), Prof. Lauren Heberle (Sociology), in partnership with Louisville Metro Government (Dr. Allison Smith, PhD).
Additional grantees from other schools at UofL include:
- “‘Minds in Motion’ in a Spanish Immersion School,” led by Daniela Terson de Paleville (CEHD), with Jason Immekus (CEHD) and Kristi King (CEHD), in partnership with JCPS.
- “Transforming Learning Communities: A Multi-Year Project Supporting Teachers of Adolescents,” led by Shelley Thomas (CEHD), with Shantel Crosby (Kent School) and Penny Howell (CEHD), in partnership with Westport Middle School, Seneca High School (JCPS), and the Kentucky Department of Education.
- “Black Men as Agents of Change in Children’s Literacy Success,” led by Kathryn Whitmore, (CEHD), with Ahmad Washington (CEHD) and Faye Jones (Office of Diversity and Inclusion, HSC), in partnership with Servonta.
- “Elucidating the Stories of Wellbeing in the West Louisville Community: A Phenomenological Study,” led by Meera Alagaraja (CEHD), with Lisa M. Hooper (CEHD) and Emma Sterrett-Hong (Kent School of Social Work), in partnership with the Park DuValle Community Health Center.
- “What is Health? A Photovoice Project with Special Olympics Kentucky Athletes,” led by Priya Chandan (School of Medicine and School of Public Health and Information Sciences), with Kathleen Carter (CEHD) and Susan Buchino (Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky, SPHIS), in partnership with Special Olympics Kentucky.
- “LGBTQ Adolescent Health in Louisville: An Approach to Identify and Assess Local Priorities,” led by Ryan Combs (SPHIS), with Maurice Gattis (Kent School) and Amber Pendleton (Pediatrics), in partnership with the Louisville Youth Group and the JCPS LGBTQ Student Supports Subcommittee.
- “Examining Stigma, Stress and HIV Care Utilization among African American Elders,” led by Jelani Kerr (SPHIS), with Timothy Crawford (School of Nursing) and Lesley Harris (Kent School), in partnership with the House of Ruth.
Each of these teams will also include about 50 students involved as either research fellows, assistants or student scholar activists.
The program does require that research groups work with a community partner. Brainstorming sessions have been underway since last summer with a large group of faculty spanning numerous schools on both the HSC and Belknap campuses.
The Faculty Grantees’ Roundtable will be followed by a reception in the law school’s Cox Lounge. All faculty, students and staff are encouraged to attend to find out more about these research projects and how to become a part of the new social justice research community.
For more information or to RSVP, call 852-2371 or send an email.