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Reciprocity and Redistribution

2021 Grand Research Challenge:


The Humanities Without Walls (HWW) consortium invited applications for funding from cross-institutional teams of faculty and graduate students wishing to collaboratively pursue research topics related to the Grand Research Challenge Initiative: Reciprocity and Redistribution.

Project period: January 1, 2022–December 31, 2024

Reciprocity and redistribution methodologies are at the center of HWW’s work to support humanities research that is not only publicly engaged but co-designed by community partners alongside faculty and graduate students. These methods aim to support collaborative scholarship inclusive of local and regional institutions and communities in recognition that expert knowledge making exists beyond as well as within the academy.

Applicants were prompted to build their proposals around the question of how collaborative humanities research can address the most compelling and urgent questions of our time—including global displacement, water and food justice and racial disparities—and how to design a humanities ecosystem that is truly “without walls.”

For the past seven years, the HWW consortium has been guided by these questions, creating new avenues for collaborative research, teaching, and the production of scholarship in the humanities.


Aymar Jean Christian (Communication Studies) for Black Trans in the Americas. He will serve as co-PI with C. Riley Snorton (University of Chicago) and also work with colleague Syrus Marcus Ware (McMaster University) on the three-year project.

Black Trans in the Americas is a community-based and community-led research partnership that aims to document and celebrate the myriad of ways that Black Trans people survive, create community, build programs, lead movements and make indelible marks in the Americas. The goal is to create a sustainable, web-based BTiA network and archive of community-based interviews, oral histories, films, and other creative outputs built by and for Black Trans communities. This project builds on a broader partnership between Northwestern University, University of Chicago, and the community-based organization OTV | Open Television, along with universities and organizations globally. 

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