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Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice

Directors' Signature Research Projects

With an eye toward translating excellent scholarship into impact and outcomes, directors’ projects strive to include and engage a broader public arena, promote global racial justice while interrogating the structures that govern the knowledge we produce, offer mentorship and community to enhance the systemic experience of academia for faculty who study race, racism and inequality, and create spaces for scholars to be in conversation with communities for the purpose of mutual sharing of knowledge.

Black Bodies, Black Health: Imagining a Just Racial Future

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 COVID-19 pandemic brought to the fore the deadly consequences of racial disparities in health. More than spotlighting racial health inequity, however, the pandemic exposed anew the depths of staggering racial inequality nationwide. In every sector from education to the labor market, housing to healthcare, the provision to meet basic human needs and take steps to ensure wellness were racially unequal. These are national problems but as one of the most diverse states in the country, New Jersey holds several unwelcome distinctions for long-standing inequities in critical systems that have profound implications for vulnerability to poor health outcomes. 

What would we learn from bringing humanists, social scientists, and biomedical researchers to the table to explore, unpack, and disrupt structural racism in service of creating equitable health outcomes? What would a just racial future require to remediate the imprints of the past in the structures of our present? This research project, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, brings together cross-disciplinary groups of experts to explore and unpack structural racism in service of creating equitable health outcomes, centering humanistic and social scientific approaches.  

Black Health Disparities

Quilting Water Public Arts Project

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

Quilting Water is a five-year international public art initiative. In its local form, the project explores the relationship residents of Camden, New Jersey, have to the increasingly vulnerable public resource of water. A community of Black quilters from Camden will be commissioned to make quilts in conversation with photos and oral histories from their own city. The institute will publish a book of the photos, excerpts of the interviews, and images of the quilts, as well as text about water and the intersections of race and environmental justice.


Abract quilt

(Dis)locations: Migration, Displacement, and Racial Justice Project

A Directors' Signature Research Project: Campus Director Mayte Green-Mercado, Faculty of History, Rutgers University-Newark.

This initiative brings together scholars, students, and practitioners to investigate the questions of migration, displacement, and race across time and space by hosting lectures, symposia, conferences, and workshops. It works across the three Rutgers campuses to support interdisciplinary research that centers on the intersections of displacement with processes of racialization, transitional and restorative justice, and climate change and racial justice. Staying true to the mission of Rutgers-Newark as an anchor institution that is at once in Newark and of Newark, we engage with these pressing issues inside the classroom by establishing dialogues and partnering with communities around us. 

Migration and Displacement