Rockefeller Foundation Awards Fellowship in the Humanities to Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University's Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center (LACS) received today the Rockefeller Foundation Residential Fellowship in the Humanities, the first ever Rockefeller Foundation grant for the University.  Stony Brook is one of nine institutions in North and South America chosen as residency sites for the humanities fellowships.  

The LACS program will bring in a total of 8 visiting post-doctoral fellows over the next four years to study an interdisciplinary project around the theme "Durable Inequalities in Latin American Histories, Societies, Cultures." The project will address the problem of the resilience of social systems as well as the construction of race, gender, and ethnicity.  Fellows will come from all manner of fields – history, sociology, literature, cultural and media studies, politics, economics, and education. The Foundation will provide up to $325,000 over the course of four years.

"This represents a tremendous boost not only for LACS, but also for humanities at Stony Brook, and the University as a whole," said Stony Brook University President Shirley Strum Kenny. "Our vision is to bring in a wave of committed Latin American scholars to the University, across a variety of disciplines."  

"This prestigious generous Rockefeller award to Stony Brook LACS represents what many of us here have known for a while, the global excellence of Stony Brook's advanced interdisciplinary scholarship on Latin America," said Professor Paul Gootenberg, Director of the LACS.  "For example, we have in History, Hispanic Languages and Sociology, some of the country's top scholars and doctoral programs in this field, which draw talented Ph.D. students from across the Americas."

"This new research site also represents the methodological possibilities and necessity of placing  inequality as a core innovating concern of both humanists and social scientists," Dr. Gootenberg said.  "The Rockefeller Foundation recognized the timeliness and relevance of social inequalities, not only for the vast and reparable human suffering they cause, but because of recent globalization of inequalities as well.  We in the United States now share in the dilemmas of inequality found across the Americas."

The Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowships support scholars and writers engaged in research on global social and cultural issues relations to diversity, sustainability, and civil society.  In 2002-2003, the fellowships are awarded for residencies at host institutions in North and South American which were selected for their potential to promote new work in the humanities.  By supporting visiting fellowships, the Foundations seeks to promote the interdisciplinary dialogue that is the hallmark of new scholarship, provide resources and encouragement to innovating scholars, and fortify the institutions that are advancing this work.

The LACS Center at Stony Brook serves to enhance and focus the interests of students, faculty, graduate students, and the New York regional community concerned with Latin American and Caribbean issues. In recent years the LACS Center has become the interdisciplinary base for deepening ties with the Americas. Stony Brook attracts growing numbers of Latino/a students from the New York metropolitan area and myriad Latin American(ist) graduate students from across the disciplines—from Hispanic Languages and Mathematics to History and Sociology. The LACS mission goes beyond traditional "Area Studies": it is to connect the diverse local interests around Latino and Latin American issues to dynamic global scholarship and developments across the Western Hemisphere.

Latin America is critical for global study of inequalities.  Neither the poorest nor the most culturally-divided region of the world, it is by far the most unequal.  Latin Americans see and live daily these disparities in how they do politics, create urban spaces, join social movements and access educational, health, cultural, and media resources. The study of Latin American inequalities—inequalities of wealth, income, and opportunity; gender, racial, age, regional, and ethnic inequalities; and a whole range of inequalities of power, education, technology, culture, beliefs, and influence that afflict groups, nations, and individuals—will combine the cultural, social, and historical concerns at the heart of Latin American studies.

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