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Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice

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.


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 

Causes of Emphysema

Poets and Scholars Summer Writing Retreat 2022

A Directors' Signature Research Project: Institute Codirector Gregory Pardlo, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers UniversityCamden

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

PSSWR 2022 flyer

Scarlet and Black Research Center

A Directors' Signature Research Project: Institute Director Erica Armstrong Dunbar, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers UniversityNew 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.

Man with child on shoulders

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.

EQUITY circles

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. 

Quilting Water Arts Prize

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.

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.

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.

ISGRJ Website: A Collaboration

In producing the ISGRJ website, the institute has partnered with the communications professionals in the Rutgers Department of University Communications and Marketing.