Through film, music, archival sources, and literary texts, researchers explore the role of the arts in expressing the pain and suffering of incarceration and social death, and the power of cultural resistance against discrimination, dehumanization, and enslavement.
What We Do
Rutgers, Research, and Global Racial Justice
Making visible a coherent, universitywide strategy regarding research activity in global racial justice.
Spanning Rutgers' diverse campuses situtated in three major New Jersey cities, from the large comprehensive research university in New Brunswick; to the deeply community-engaged urban research university and anchor institution in Newark, New Jersey's largest city; to the close-knit community of the small urban research university and anchor institution in Camden.
The new Everyman's Library edition of James Weldon Johnson's "Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man," has just been released (November 1, 2022), and includes an introduction by ISGRJ-Camden Codirector Gregory Pardlo. First published anonymously in 1912, this resolutely unsentimental novel gave many white readers their first glimpse of the double standards—and double consciousness—experienced by Black people in modern America.
Since 1988, The Best American Poetry series has been “one of the mainstays of the poetry publication world." Each volume presents a selection of the year’s most brilliant, striking, and innovative poems, with comments from the poets themselves lending insight into their work. For The Best American Poetry 2022 guest editor Matthew Zapruder, whose own poems are “for everyone, everywhere...democratic in insights and feelings", has selected the seventy-five new poems that represent American poetry today at its most dynamic.
Green-Mercado is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Minor in the History Department. She is also Founder and Co-Director of the Mediterranean Displacements Project.
Her courses deal with questions of religion, politics, identity, and race and ethnicity in the medieval and early modern periods.
Boddie is a nationally recognized scholar on dismantling systemic racism whose work bridges diverse disciplines and practices of scholarship, teaching, community, and service and is widely cited and discussed in both academic and non-academic circles. Her scholarship explores the regulation and production of race in spatial contexts and dynamic systems that perpetuate racial inequality. She departed Rutgers at the end of summer 2022 and has joined the University of Michigan Law School faculty .
The new PBS documentary which premieres on October 4, 2022 offers fresh perspectives and insights into the inspiring woman who repeatedly risked her own life and freedom to liberate others from slavery.
"School segregation is the epicenter of racial injustice, not just because of its material consequences—such as how it leads to systemic underfunding of urban schools—but also because it conditions people to be suspicious, distrustful, and resentful of those who are different. We often think about school segregation as a problem faced by Black and Latino children. But segregation also harms white children. We’ve known this for some time."
Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial, one of the nation's greatest monuments. But while the building was conceived as a shrine and a temple, it quickly took on another role—as the nation's premier backdrop for demonstrations demanding social change.
Dunbar talks about how the Lincoln Memorial set the scene for monumental moments throughout US history.
"Opening the Gates to Global Racial Justice:"
Two creative writing professors from Rutgers–Camden are leading signature efforts of the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice
(Spring 2022 Edition)
In the latest episode of Faces & Voices, Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway interviewed Boddie about the road that led her to Rutgers–from the time she recognized her purpose as a student at Harvard Law School to her experiences clerking for Judge Robert L. Carter and serving as director of litigation for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. to being appointed founding Newark director of Rutgers’ Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice.
This award is given annually to tenured faculty members in recognition of outstanding service in stimulating and guiding the intellectual development of students at Rutgers University.
The award honors a faculty member (Assistant or Associate Professor, tenure-track or non-tenure track) whose research area disrupts or transforms the interface of two disparate fields of scholarship or inquiry.
Judge Erika Meitner wrote the following about his work: "Reading Patrick Rosal’s The Last Thing: New & Selected Poems is an embodied experience; these poems jump off the page with a muscular exuberance. You can hear their raw emotions singing in your gut, and feel their language in the sway of your limbs...Rosal’s is a poetry of grief and loss, survival and perseverance, as much as it’s a poetry of ecstatic joy and humming eroticism. I chose this book because it moved me immeasurably."
Quoting Patrick Rapa, For The Philly Inquirer:
"To my mind, poetry is best enjoyed aloud and in person. One poet I saw perform at AWP, Patrick Rosal — a Rutgers Camden professor with words like Guggenheim and Fulbright on his CV — crushed it with a midafternoon performance of emphatic, hip-hop-inflected verse. His words boomed across the ballroom. The applause was considerable. Good stuff."
Supporters of a lawsuit accusing the state of perpetuating segregated schools held a lunchtime rally in Trenton on Thursday, March 31.
The dozens who attended represented a cross-section of youth, faith, social justice, and civil rights groups who want state leaders to demolish, what a study determined to be, the home of some of the most segregated schools in the country.
ISGRJ Camden Codirector Patrick Rosal has been honored with a NJ Council of the Arts Award for his work and a proposed book based on his essay "Mutual Regard: A Love Letter for The Origins of Black-Filipino Resistance."
“What does the average person know about the Black elite in New York in the 1880s? The answer is very little if anything. There’s this huge gap between the Civil War and slavery and then, maybe, the Harlem Renaissance — as if nothing happened in between.”
Photograph by Alison Cohen Rosa/HBO
"...While the inclusion of a Black woman to the court would not shift the conservative majority, it would mark the first time that a large segment of Americans would feel represented by those in power. That visibility alone could go a long way in influencing career choices."
Photograph by Amber Ford/NY Times
Inaugural ISGRJ-Newark Director and Rutgers Law Professor Elise Boddie joins Chris Hayes on MSNBC along with The Nation's Elie Mystal to discuss President Biden's vow to nominate a Black woman to The Supreme Court, and what's at stake as The Supreme Court revisits affirmative action in college admissions.
From the creator of “Downton Abbey,” the new series, set in the late 19th-century, dramatizes the rift between New York City’s wealthy elite and the abject poverty and inequality of the same era. Image credit: Alison Cohen Rosa/HBO
Elise Boddie, Rutgers University–Newark campus director for the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice, in a discussion featuring retired New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Gary S. Stein, talks about May 17 as an important and significant date in the history of racial justice, and what it means for equity in education and the future of our public schools.
Directors' Signature Research Projects
Black Bodies, Black Health: Imagining a Just Racial Future
A Directors' Signature Research Project: Institute Founding and Executive Director Michelle Stephens, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick and Senior Fellow Anna Branch, (Central), Senior Vice President of Equity and Professor of Sociology, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers–New Brunswick
The Black Bodies, Black Health Research Project was proud to present its External Expert Conference, from August 16 - 18, 2022. This 3-day conference featured in-depth engagement with scholars in the broad field of race and health and a mix of speakers and group discussions focusing on racial health disparities and achieving health equity. The conference culminated in the Presidential Keynote by sitting Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway titled "Mapping Value: The Material Consequences of Structural Racism."
Click here for more about the conference.
Black Bodies, Black Health is a one-year research project, supported by a $725,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Through seed grants, workshops, conferences and both scholarly and public writing, Black Bodies, Black Health incentivizes humanists, social scientists, and biomedical researchers to engage in interdisciplinary work to explore and unpack structural racism in service of creating equitable health outcomes.
Image credit: Chidiebere Ibe
Poets and Scholars Summer Writing Retreat 2022
A Directors' Signature Research Project: Institute Codirector Gregory Pardlo, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–Camden
The Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice at Rutgers University–Camden, with generous support from the Mellon Foundation, held its second annual Poets and Scholars Summer Writing Retreat: Bodies of Text: Crafting Equity in the Language of Care, from July 11-21, 2022.
Learn more about the 2022 retreat here.
Image credit: Chidiebere Ibe
Scarlet and Black Research Center
A Directors' Signature Research Project: Institute Director Erica Armstrong Dunbar, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
The Scarlet and Black Research Center convenes researchers and practitioners across the humanities to examine the global dimensions of anti-Black racism. The center derives its vision from the Scarlet and Black research project which began at Rutgers as historians’ exploration of the historical connections between slavery and the university.
The Inclusion Project hires Youth Organizers for the "Leadership for Educational Liberation" Program
A Directors' Signature Research Project: Institute Director Elise Boddie, School of Arts and Sciences-Newark, Rutgers University–Newark.
Building on the Leadership for Real Integration workshop series that concluded in April 2021, the 8-week program will bring together Youth Organizers to engage with the history and fundamental principles of organizing and policy development through a series of weekly roundtables and seminars focused on racial equity and inclusion in educational law and public policy in New Jersey.
Learn more about the "Leadership for Educational Liberation" Program here.
The Quilting Water Undergraduate Prize
A Directors' Signature Research Project: Institute Codirector Patrick Rosal, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–Camden with Cross-Campus Director of Undergraduate Intellectual Life Carlos Decena, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
ISGRJ at Rutgers-Camden, in conjunction with the ISGRJ Office of Undergraduate Intellectual life, is launching the inaugural, university-wide Quilting Water Undergraduate Prize.
Six winners will be selected from all three Rutgers campuses and will each receive a $1000 award. The cohort will receive group mentoring by poet and artist Krista Franklin, who currently serves as a consultant to Quilting Water. Over the course of the latter half of 2022, the student-artists will gather a few interviews for the Quilting Water archive and make art in conversation with the stories the Quilting Water has already gathered.
View the flyer. Please visit this page again for an announcement of this year's winners.
Projects, Research, Seminars & Public Engagement
From long-term research examining racist social policy across centuries, to highly-focused seminars for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows, to performances and exhibits featuring the works of influential and emerging Black artists, the institute applies its humanistic approach to social and racial justice in shaping engagement with the academy at large, the classroom, and the general public.
Educational Justice grants support research activity in the racial and social justice space across Rutgers’ campuses. Directors focus on projects rather than one-time academic events. This structure of projects provides vehicles for faculty across the campuses to find in the Institute a different kind of space, one that can move more nimbly, foster collaborations, pilot experimental programs, and move between the academy and the public or the academy and surrounding communities.
These interdisciplinary seminars focus on the struggle for global, racial, and social justice through such topics as public arts, education, health, public policy, social justice, and criminal justice. Seminars can be short (two months), medium (one semester), or long (year-long) and can be campus-based, cross-campus, or universitywide. Proposals that encourage and include participation from graduate students and other Rutgers constituencies beyond tenured faculty will be given special consideration.
Projects and initiatives housed administratively at or affiliated with ISGRJ contribute to the institute’s overall direction and vision regarding such areas of inquiry as K–12 education, social justice, public policy, public health, criminal justice, public arts, and pedagogy.
In the hope of fostering a transatlantic dialogue, The Dakar Translation Symposium: Africa and its Diasporas (June 14-19) brought together speakers and participants across four continents and four languages and was the first multinational, multidisciplinary, multilingual conference focused on African Diasporas. Panels captured the value of connected stories through multiple themes such as reconnecting identities, gender and diversity, nationhood, Black Lives Matter, and more.
The inaugural virtual statewide conference was held on June 11, 2022. The first in a series of meetings, this conference for educators, community stakeholders, youth and researchers intended to produce an educational equity agenda for the state. The issues addressed included disparities in resources and outcomes, funding, discipline, resource allocation, pre-school, opportunity youth, post-secondary outcomes. special education and segregation.
A low-key, low-stress lunch talk series aimed at Rutgers Newark Faculty to come together, hang out, and share what they are working on.
Frank Garcia: “Revising the Language of #OwnVoices: Racial/Ethnic Authenticity, Controlling Images, and Gang Life in American Literature” on April 14, 2022.
Domingo Morel: “Developing Scholars: Race, Politics, and the Pursuit of Higher Education” on May 11, 2022.
This marquee event for the Institute's "Occasions for Gathering" Series took place virtually on Wednesday, April 27th at 7pm.
Acclaimed poets Patrick Rosal and Tracy K. Smith read together on the occasion of the publication of Rosal’s The Last Thing: New and Selected Poems and Smith’s Such Color: New And Selected Poems.
This event was hosted by The Writers House at Rutgers University-Camden
The series features group conversations moderated by the Institute's Rutgers-Camden Codirector Greg Pardlo on the following topics: Writers Belonging to Communities, Communities Belonging to Writers on 3/2, Writers Centering Community on 4/6 and Amplifying Community Voices on 5/4.
The Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice in partnership with the Office of the Chancellor-Provost at Rutgers University—New Brunswick and Rutgers University Libraries proudly presented its inaugural ISGRJ-New Brunswick event: "To Turn the Light of Truth Upon Them" | Black Women, Justice, and the Power of the Pen | An Evening on the Soundstage with Nikole Hannah-Jones on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, at 7PM.
A collaboration of ISGRJ and the Rutgers iTV studio, this video, which premiered on September 23, 2021, serves as a virtual "showcase for the breadth and depth of racial justice work at Rutgers and the transformational impact—both local and global—that it’s having." — Professor Elise Boddie, Institute Campus Director at Rutgers University–Newark.