Third Cohort of Interseminars Graduate Fellows Announced

2024–25 Mellon Interseminars Graduate Fellows Named

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - January 22, 2024

The Humanities Research Institute (HRI) has announced the third and final cohort of Interseminars graduate fellows, composed of nine students from the College of Fine and Applied Arts and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 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 public-facing event in fall 2025.

Supported by a $2,000,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation, the Interseminars Initiative has funded 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 interdisciplinary graduate training in the arts and humanities in the public research university of the 21st century, particularly for students historically underrepresented in American higher education.

In addition to the Mellon Foundation, the Interseminars Initiative is supported by the Graduate College, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Fine and Applied Arts, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation.

About the Theme: Collisions Across Color Lines

The 2024–25 Interseminars project will be led by three faculty conveners, Erik McDuffie (African American Studies and History), Gilberto Rosas (Anthropology and Latina/Latino Studies) and Gisela Sin (Political Science), around the theme “Collisions across Color Lines: Reconsidering Racism, Movements, and Epistemes in the Americas.” The project is an invitation to work collectively in a critical interrogation of deeply embedded intersecting structures of race and inequality and how they periodically erupt in the Americas, if not the globe.

As the group's project description states: “At stake in this Interseminar are the collisions between lived experiences of race and racism; their relation with the movement of people, ideas, and revolutionary imaginaries that span the hemisphere; and the structures within which knowledge is produced and reproduced. We envision 'collisions' as a productive lens for critically exploring how activists, artists, and other intellectuals reckon with regional epistemes and (re)making of race and racism as they relate to anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, the vexed and complicated position of other impoverished and racialized mestizo or other 'Brown' communities, particularly migrants and those otherwise crossing international boundaries, and related formations of oppression, gender and sexualities foremost among them.”

Read more about Collisions across Color Lines

The first Interseminars cohort completed their work in fall 2023. The second Interseminars project—“Improvise and Intervene”—is currently in progress and will present a culminating event in fall 2024.



2024–25 Interseminars Graduate Fellows

Image of Yasmine Adams

Yasmine Adams

Degree Program: PhD in Anthropology

Areas of Study: Sociocultural Anthropology, Black Futurity, Race and Racism, Imagery, Social and Traditional Media, Cultural Performance, and Digital Activism.

Image of Grace Eunhyn Bae

Grace Eunhyn Bae

Degree Program: PhD in Art Education

Areas of Study: Art Education, Art Therapy, and Community-Based Art

Image of Jose Figueroa Díaz

Jose Figueroa Díaz

Degree Program: PhD in Spanish, Literature and Culture

Areas of Study: Hispanic literatures and cultures

Image of Omar Agustin Hernandez

Omar Agustin Hernandez

Degree Program: PhD in Anthropology

Areas of Study: Development and Dependence in the Caribbean, the Anthropology of Sport, and the future(s) of Socialism in the Global South

Image of Samantha Jenae Jones

Samantha Jenae Jones

Degree Program: MFA in Design for Responsible Innovation

Areas of Study: Racism, Body Autonomy, Gender Bias and Social Inequality, Afrofuturism, Identity, Digital Fabrication, Illustration, Critical Art Based Theory

Image of Nik Owens. Photo credit-Edward Riddell

Nik Owens

Degree Program: MFA in Dance

Areas of Study: Inequities in the Politics of Heroism, Black Superheroes and Afrofuturism, Black Studies, Queer Studies

Photo credit: Edward Riddell

Image of Ann Xiaoxu Pei

Ann Xiaoxu Pei

Degree Program: PhD in Comparative Literature

Areas of Study: Environmental Humanities, Memory Studies, Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Image of Leonardo Ventura

Leonardo Ventura

Degree Program: PhD in History

Areas of Study: African Diaspora, Black Studies, Afro Brazilian Studies and Afro Brazilian intellectual history

Image of Tooma H. Zaghloul

Tooma H. Zaghloul

Degree Program: PhD in Urban and Regional Planning

Areas of Study: Critical urban theory, alternative methods, resistance and resilience practices in spaces of refuge, mobilities of Southwest Asia and North Africa (SWANA), citizenship beyond geopolitical borders