Grand Research Challenge: Humanities Without Walls

HWW’s third Grand Research Challenge will require applicants to build a commitment to methodologies of reciprocity and redistribution into their project design that is clearly communicated in their proposal narratives, regardless of the research topic or theme they focus on.

Reciprocity and redistribution are methods for engaging collaborators in genuinely equal and ethical partnerships—partnerships that are not one-directional (i.e., only from campus outward) or faculty-centered (i.e., hierarchical in ways that privilege presumptively white western scholarly expertise over other forms of knowing).

Reciprocity and redistribution are strategies for equity-based change by design. These strategies aim to challenge the academic status quo by enabling community partners to participate on their own terms; to co-design and co-create transformative projects; and to be equitably resourced for their time and contributions.

A commitment to practices of reciprocity and redistribution also opens up possibilities for new forms of collaboration between faculty and graduate students and staff; between HWW partner universities and regional and community colleges; between Predominantly White Institutions and Minority Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges; and between each campus and its variety of public stakeholders.

Through modes of research partnership that are reciprocal and redistributive, collaborators will demonstrate that “humanities without walls” is not only a metaphor but also a strategic commitment to imagining and doing academic work more inclusively—with universal access, social equity and racial diversity always front of mind.

The Call for Proposals will be available here in March 2021.


Spring 2021 HWW Grant Strategy Workshops with Dr. Bill Hart-Davidson, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education in the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University  (register for one or more sessions here):

  • Charting Pathways to Intellectual Leadership—February 5, 2021 @ 12:00 PM (CST)
  • Creating an Idea that Others Can Invest In—February 12, 2021 @ 12:00 PM (CST)
  • Building a Collaborative Team—February 19, 2021 @ 12:00 PM (CST)
  • Building a Funding Strategy—February 26, 2021 @ 12:00 PM (CST)



September 25, 2020: HWW Seed Grant Info Session with HWW PI Prof. Antoinette Burton, Prof. Jenny Davis, and HWW Director of Operations Jason Mierek



October 19, 2020: Collaborative, Reciprocal, and Redistributive Models of Research Part I: with HWW PI Prof. Antoinette Burton and Prof. Jenny Davis



November 6, 2020: Collaborative, Reciprocal, and Redistributive Models of Research Part II: with University of Illinois Professors Korinta Maldonado (AIS, CLACS) and Ruby Mendenhall (Sociology, AAS)