2022–23 Theme: Un/Doing

The annual theme for the 2022–23 fellowship year is "Un/Doing."

This theme is a result of collaboration between the Humanities Research Institute (HRI) and African American Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Latino/a Studies, and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

At the intersections and overlaps of activism and scholarship are calls for un/doing the status quo that threatens us all—to abolish and defund, to decolonize, divest, decriminalize, dismantle, and de-center. Far from a passive opposite of doing, the slowing down, refusals, and work stoppage techniques of Un/Doing show it to be active, intentional, and on-going, with the productive potential of dismantling. From the de-individualization of basic needs (food, housing, health) to mutual aid and collective models of solidarity, what are the spaces and practices that Un/Doing makes possible?

At this moment when various forms of collective Un/Doing seem newly imaginable, whether involuntarily (through a pandemic, for instance) or voluntarily (through new social movements), what openings might it offer for reorienting humanities research? Un/Doing might, for instance, encourage us to reflect on the persistence of disciplinary norms in the humanities and the extent to which interdisciplinary approaches undo disciplines or remain tethered to them. How might the prospect of Un/Doing take on different risks or possibilities in particular disciplinary or interdisciplinary formations? Since the establishment of African American Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Latino/Latina Studies as academic fields in the late 1960s, these interdisciplinary formations have been institutionalized in ways that often position them as discrete intellectual projects tied to particular identities, with the assumption that certain keywords—race, ethnicity, indigeneity, gender, and sexuality—have priority within specific fields and not others. To what extent have intersectional approaches developed over the last three decades undone those assumptions or not? What is the relationship between the theoretical and methodological porousness of these fields—and interdisciplinary areas in general— and the threat of administrative undoing (i.e., dismantling) of academic programs? What is the relationship between Un/Doing and unlearning (whether the object be racism, sexism, transphobia, or ableism)? If the distinction between “doing” and “being” has been generative for a range of theories and methods that emphasize practices, performativity, and/or process, how might Un/Doing be situated (or not) within these investigations? What modes of Un/Doing allow for new and generative knowledge, methodologies, and collaborations?

2022–23 Fellows


Janett Barragán Miranda (Latina/Latino Studies), “Hungering for Equality: The Community of Mexican-Origin from Post-WWII to Civil Rights”

Kathryn Oberdeck (History), “Un/doing in History Harvest Courses: Re/constructing Practices of Collaborative Digital Public History”

Yuridia Ramírez (History), “Indigeneity on the Move: Transborder Politics from Michoacán to North Carolina”

Deena Rymhs (American Indian Studies), “Putting back together: re-worldings in annie ross’s Pots and Other Living Beings

R. Elizabeth Velásquez Estrada (Latina/Latino Studies), “Intersectional Justice Denied: Racist Warring Masculinity, Negative Peace and Violence in Post-Peace Accords El Salvador”

Emma D. Velez (Gender and Women’s Studies), “Orienting Historias: Unraveling the Coloniality of Gender through Las Tres Madres”

Damian Vergara Bracamontes (Gender and Women’s Studies), “The Administration of Illegality and Mexican Migrant Life”

Graduate Fellows

Dilara Caliskan (Anthropology), “World and Kin Making: Family, Time and Memory among Trans Mothers and Daughters in Turkey”

Nicole Cox (Anthropology), “Re/Moving the State: Multiple Productivities of Embodied Practice in Indian Diplomacy”

Daniel DeVinney (Communication), “The Post-Racial Imaginary: Visual Logics of Race in the Obama and Early Trump Eras”

Kadin Henningsen (English), “Biblionormativity and Trans* Capacity: Gender, Race, and the Material Book in Nineteenth Century America, 1840–1910”

Jessennya Hernandez (Sociology), “Everyday Latinx Strategies and Embodied Feminist Knowledge in Los Angeles”

Lingyan Liu (History), “Just Call It the Noise: Chinese Opera and the Sounds of China in Race-Making and Modern Citizenship, 1850s–1930s”

Amanda Smith (French and Italian), “21st Century Black Beauty Resistance: Collectivism, Individuality, and In/Visibility in Black French Women’s Body and Hair Representations”