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Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice

Research Groups and Projects

Projects and initiatives housed administratively at or affiliated with ISGRJ contribute to the Institute’s overall direction and vision regarding the need for a humanistic, interdisciplinary, systems approach to examining racialization and racism, across such areas of inquiry as the literary, visual, and performative arts, K–12 education, public health, criminal justice, social justice, public policy, research and professional mentorship and pedagogy. 

ISGRJ and Sponsored Research Projects: Scholarship Promoting Racial Justice in the Arts, Humanities, and Humanistic Sciences

Humanists often face the challenge of isolation within the academy, counter-productive for scholars who aim to produce research disruptive of current racial inequities and discriminatory social hierarchies. ISGRJ can provide opportunities for scholars to imagine and build collaborative, collective, humanistic research endeavors, producing knowledge together in ways that offer alternatives to the individual monograph.

Such projects can allow scholars to lend our field expertise to research projects farther afield but with direct bearing on questions of racial and social justice, and to engage in alternative forms of writing and intellectual production. 

Supported by Rutgers’ Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs (EVPAA), Prabhas Moghe, ISGRJ Executive Director Michelle Stephens and Director of Sponsored Research Robin Yarborough work together with primary investigators to support, encourage, advise on, and help generate collaborative, interdisciplinary, research projects designed by ISGRJ’s Campus Directors and other Rutgers faculty. 

Sponsored Research Shorthand 50-50 image

ISGRJ-Mellon Funded Research Projects and Groups

New ISGRJ Working Groups

We're pleased to announce two new working groups at the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice! 

The Health Humanities, Communication, and Informatics (HHCI) Working Group, originating from the Rutgers School of Communication and Information (SC&I), led by Charles Senteio, Associate Professor of Library and Information Science, whose first project will be to spend 2023-2024 exploring, researching and doing outreach for a "Data Equity Initiative" with the goal the creation of an interdisciplinary space to tackle health equity topics across Rutgers-New Brunswick.

The Race, Racism and Intersecting Inequalities Initiative (RRII), a collaboration between ISGRJ and the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences in New Brunswick, and led by Alex Zamalin, Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science, whose mission is to create a scholarly space centered specifically on contemporary issues relating to the study of racial inequality in a globalized world from a social science perspective. 

HHCI and RRII Layout USE

Other ISGRJ Research Projects

  • Symposium on Black and Jewish Americans Flyer
    Top, left to right: 1. Passing by Nella Larsen (A Norton Critical Edition, W. W. Norton, 2007), edited by Carla Kaplan. 2. American Jewish Congress takes part in ‘Solidarity Day’ March in support of Poor People’s Campaign, Washington, D.C., 1968. American Jewish Congress records, undated, 1916–2006. Image courtesy of AJHS. 3. “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s” ad campaign with Malcolm X. “Another Levy’s Fan: Malcolm X asked to have his picture taken with a Levy’s Rye Bread ad.” Now! magazine, 1964. 4. Jews for Urban Justice Passover Seder. From left: Rev. Channing E. Phillips, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, and Topper Carew, April 4, 1969, the night of the first Freedom Seder. Image courtesy of Arthur Waskow. 5. Striking Features: Psychoanalysis and Racial Passing Narratives (Mercer University Press, 2024) by Donavan L. Ramon. Bottom, left to right: 6. Rabbi Joachim Prinz (left) with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from the documentary film Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not Be Silent (2015). 7. FBI Missing poster: Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner, 1964. Courtesy of Bettmann/CORBIS 8. The Human Stain by Philip Roth (Vintage International, 2001) 9. Author Lorraine Hansberry. Courtesy of Getty Images. 10. From left: Ralph Abernathy, Maurice Eisendrath, and Abraham Joshua Heschel during the march from Selma to Montgomery, 1965. From the documentary film Shared Legacies (2020). 

    “Black Americans, Jewish Americans: Historical Intersections, Collisions, and Passings” will explore the complex ways in which two different minority communities, Black Americans and Jewish Americans, have nonetheless both struggled to belong in white Christian America. Despite progress made in civil rights since the mid-1960s, both anti-Black racism and antisemitism have shown no signs of abating in the 21st century’s third decade, exacerbated by a rise of white Christian populist nationalism.

    Black American and Jewish American efforts to belong have sometimes resulted in shared activism and goals; at other times, they have resulted in conflict. What is common between them is a desire to fit in as Americans, to claim a rightful place as citizens and to feel accepted on their own terms. In the Jewish historical experience, this effort has often been called “assimilation;” in the Black historical experience, “passing.”

    The symposium is comprised of Black, Jewish, and gentile scholars who approach the symposium’s themes from a variety of methodologies, with panels entitled “Historical Intersections of Black/Jewish Relations;” “African Americans and Jews Navigating a White Christian World,” “Literary Representations and Responses to European Antisemitism and White America;” “Political and Cultural Legacies of Civil Rights.” The symposium is structured as a series of accessible conversations among panelists, respondents, and the audience.

    Led by Dr. Nancy Sinkoff,  Academic Director, The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life and Professor of Jewish Studies and History, Rutgers University-New Brunswick

    Learn more here
  • We aim to examine how language serves and is shaped by social constructions of race. To this end, we are engaging scholars at Rutgers and beyond to present the results of their research activity in this sphere in the hopes of initiating conversations, more scholarship and curricula on these themes. Additionally, we are organizing a K-12 Teacher Workshop in line with the NJ Department of Education’s initiative to integrate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into systems and guidance around content areas (in particular, world languages). Our workshop focuses on sharing the power of centering teachers’ knowledge of their students, classroom, school, and community contexts and focusing on asset-based pedagogies and teacher inquiry as tools for learning and teaching in K-12 world language and mainstream classrooms.

    Led by Charles Haberl, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers–New Brunswick

  • This cross-campus working group will address discourses of blackness and anti-blackness within the study of Islam and Muslims across various scholarly disciplines, such as (but not limited to) anthropology, American studies, Black studies, ethnic studies, history, political science, religious studies, Islamic studies, and women’s and gender studies.

    Led by Sylvia Chan-Malik, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers–New Brunswick

  • Policy and Intersectionality Working Group Graphic

    There is a long literature on the structural gendered racism which has resulted in the overrepresentation of Black women and children in the child welfare system. This research group uses intersectionality as a guiding framework to examine how race, gender, and class oppression influenced the passing of federal child welfare legislation that precipitated the overrepresentation of Black women, children, and families within the child welfare system. (Roberts, 2002; Roberts, 2012, Roberts, 2014). Their study takes this literature one step further by identifying the mechanisms of how coded language played a role in the passing of federal child welfare policies

    Led by Abigail Williams-Butler, Early Career Faculty Fellow, School of Social Work, RutgersNew Brunswick

  • Racial inequities are rooted in structural racism that give rise to and perpetuate individual-level implicit and explicit racial biases. One way to advance racial justice is to educate white individuals about the racial inequities created and perpetuated by their high-status group. However, such an approach can backfirewhite individuals who learn about the transgressions of their high-status group may wish to inhibit the experience of collective guilt, which is a source of motivation for addressing racial inequities. Two experiments (to be completed by June 2022) will investigate if white individuals express implicit and explicit biases
    to down-regulate collective guilt and protect their group’s image, privilege, and power. Findings from this project will have implications for how to improve racial justice education and, in turn, reduce implicit and explicit biases.

    Led by Luis Rivera, Senior Faculty Fellow, School of Arts and SciencesNewark, RutgersNewark

  • Rutgers University's History, Law and Social Justice Initiative plans to hold a conference in April 2023 titled "Power and Protest in New Jersey - 50 Years After Rebellion in Camden." The event aims to reflect on the linked histories and memories of the rebellions that occurred in Camden from 1971-1973, one against state violence in policing and the other against the Vietnam War. The conference will explore how these events came to be, their significance at the time, and their long-term impact on New Jersey and the nation. It will feature major participants in the historical events, scholars, writers, and filmmakers, and present-day activists and scholars to reflect on their significance for present-day protests. The events connect to Rutgers University's history and present-day events and people, making it an ideal site for this historical assessment.

    Led by Jennifer Mittelstadt (History, Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers-New Brunswick)


    Know more about this here.

  • In-Person/Virtual Lecture/Discussion with Vukosi Marivate (University of Pretoria) 

    Marivate, Chair of Data Science and leader of the Data Science for Social Impact  group, will describe his work to ensure that African languages and local language tasks “count” on the African continent and beyond. Such research into African NLP is part of an important multidisciplinary conversation. As large language models continue to power the dominant paradigm in conversational “AI,” these technologies focus on English (especially as spoken in North America) and other “western” languages and populations. 

    Co-organized with the Department of Computer Science, DIMACS and the Institute for Global Racial Justice.

    The lecture was part of the series led by Katherine Bode and Baden Pailthorpe at ANU and Lauren M.E. Goodlad at Rutgers University.


  • NEWLAMP (Northeast Workshop to Learn About Multicultural Philosophy) is a new workshop series created to address the diversity problem in academic philosophy. The organizers of NEWLAMP, including Rutgers – New Brunswick Professor of Philosophy Alex Guerrero, see that problem as having several roots, one of which is the fact that the philosophical ideas taught in undergraduate philosophy courses in North America are almost all only from “Western,” Anglo-European philosophical traditions. NEWLAMP workshops attempt to address this directly, by bringing 20-25 professors and instructors of philosophy, along with three area experts, together for a weeklong workshop to learn about a particular area of neglected philosophical work, so that they might incorporate work from other traditions into their teaching. NEWLAMP 2023 will be hosted at Rutgers University – New Brunswick in July 2023, on the topic of Latin American and Latinx moral, social, and political philosophy. As the host school, a select number of Rutgers faculty and graduate students (5-10 people) who teach classes on relevant topics will also have an opportunity to attend the weeklong workshop.

    Led by Alexander Guerrero (Philosophy, Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers-New Brunswick), Karen Bennett (Department Chair, Philosophy, Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers-New Brunswick)