Second Cohort of Interseminars Graduate Fellows Announced

2023–24 Mellon Interseminars Graduate Fellows Named

Fellows to collaborate with faculty in course development, research

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - January 23, 2023

The Humanities Research Institute (HRI) has announced the second cohort of Interseminars graduate fellows: nine students from a range of disciplines and home colleges, including Fine and Applied Arts, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Applied Health Sciences, and Social Work. See below for the full list of fellows and their areas of research.

The fellows will collaborate with faculty conveners in the design of cross-departmental and cross-college courses, participating in the project’s two summer intensives, an interdisciplinary methods seminar and themed seminar course, and engaging in collaborative research. The project spans an 18-month period, culminating in a community event.

Supported by a $2,000,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation, the Interseminars Initiative funds three such projects over three successive years, each selected through a competitive application process. This initiative represents the latest thinking on how best to practice a genuinely collaborative and equitable commitment to graduate training in the public research university of the 21st century, particularly for students historically underrepresented in American higher education.

In addition to funding from Mellon, these fellowships were made possible by the generosity of the Graduate College at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

About the Theme: Improvise and Intervene

The 2023–24 Interseminars project will be led by three faculty conveners: Maryam Kashani (Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies), Junaid Rana (Asian American Studies), and R. Elizabeth Velásquez Estrada (Latina/Latino Studies).

The newly selected project, “Improvise and Intervene, challenges scholars to reimagine how scholarly theory and methods are taught and practiced, expanding the possibilities for innovation in interdisciplinary, collaborative research design. The faculty conveners write, "From anti-colonial intellectuals Aimé and Suzanne Césaire’s surrealist games to Ruthie Gilmore’s reminder that 'abolition is life in rehearsal… not a repetition of rules,' we learn that play and experiment are specific strategies towards imagining and practicing liberation."

In this project, faculty and students will explore texts and creative works that grapple with pressing social issues and the multiple methods used in conducting and presenting research. They will also will study different genealogies of improvisation and intervention through reading, listening, and watching, while engaging in weekly improvisatory exercises and responses drawn from surrealism, documentary and neorealism, speculative fiction, theater, music, and other sources. Read more about Improvise and Intervene

The first Interseminars project—“Imagining Otherwise: Speculation in the Americas”—is currently in progress and will present a culminating event in fall 2023.



2023–24 Interseminars Graduate Fellows

Image of Jackie Marie Abing

Jackie Marie Abing

Degree Program: PhD in Sociocultural & Linguistic Anthropology

Areas of Study: Human Rights, Discourses about Justice & Human Rights, Borderlands & Migration, Transnational/Diasporic Families, Affect & Embodiment

Image of Marina Moscoso Arabía

Marina Moscoso Arabía

Degree Program: PhD in Human Geography and GRID Interdisciplinary Minor

Areas of Study: Cities, housing and urbanization theory, practice and policies

Image of Joe Bowie

Joe Bowie

Degree Program: MFA in Dance, affiliation with Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory

Areas of Study: Black Queer Studies/Queer Studies and Racial Justice

Image of Etienne L. Fields

Etienne L. Fields

Degree Program: PhD in Recreation, Sport and Tourism

Areas of Study: Graphic Narratives, Diversity and Equity, Cultural Discourse, Cultural Reproduction, Video Games, Recreation as Pedagogy

Image of Gabriel Bruno Eng Gonzalez

Gabriel Bruno Eng Gonzalez

Degree Program: MFA in Dance

Areas of Study: I am a dancer who uses the evolving landscape of digital space to pursue research of performance, race, and gender.

Image of Nathalie Sofia Martinez

Nathalie Sofia Martinez

Degree Program: PhD in Anthropology

Areas of Study: Linguistic anthropology, language revitalization, Indigenous epistemologies, feminist theories & methods, community-based & decolonial methods

Image of Joseph Obanubi

Joseph Obanubi

Degree Program: MFA in Studio Arts, New Media

Areas of Study: Technology, Afro-surrealism, Afrofuturism, identity, fantasy, play and delusion, computation, globalization, whim, inbetweens, metaphor and duality

Image of Sayak Roy

Sayak Roy

Degree Program: PhD in Geography & GIS

Areas of Study: Critical Urbanism and Southern Urban theory, specifically interested in night-time cities and underprivileged communities' lived experiences

Image of Dora Nicole Watkins

Dora Nicole Watkins

Degree Program: PhD in Social Work, Minor in Gender & Women Studies

Areas of Study: Social justice and art activism, epistemic violence, resilience among Black women, qualitative and decolonial methodologies