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2018 DK Summer Institute


Democratizing Knowledge/Mellon Summer Institute

Just Academic Spaces: Creating Collaborative Communities and Institutional Transformation

Spelman College, 17-23 June 2018

The Democratizing Knowledge/Mellon 2018 Summer Institute will bring together faculty, advanced doctoral students, and activist-scholars from the humanities and social sciences across North America and the Global South to examine the current state of US higher education; explore productive dialogues between community organizations, activists, and scholar-activists; and work on collaborative strategies to create a more just academy. Together, scholar-activists and community partners will share how these collaborations build new and  sometimes unexpected publics between critical academic scholarship and community-based organizations. This year’s Institute will give preference to applicants from HBCUs and other minority serving institutions. 

The Institute will begin with an intellectual, pedagogical, and curricular orientation to situate the current state of higher education institutions. On Days Two through Five, participants will partake in skills-building workshops as well as visit different community-based agencies. This project will share pedagogical and curricular responses designed to democratize institutional structures. The institute culminates on Day Six with a day-long symposium where participants will share their reflections/projects and engage in a dialogue about bringing their knowledge from the Institute to their home institutions and communities.

The Institute is designed by the Syracuse University Democratizing Knowledge collective and co-founders Chandra Talpade Mohanty and Linda Carty, and directed by Spelman College faculty Beverly Guy-Sheftall and Erica L. Williams. Invited workshop leaders include Gloria Wekker, Johnnetta B. Cole, Sandy Grande, Nadine Naber, Nahla Abdoo, Amina Mama, Margo Okazawa-Rey, and Donna Nevel, Nina Mehta, and Krysta Williams of the Participatory Action Research Center for Education Organizing (PARCEO), among others.

Eligibility: Doctoral Students who have completed at least two years of course work, postdoctoral scholars, and pre-tenure faculty in contingent and tenure-track positions who are working on issues related to the topic of the Institute. Minority scholars and those who are at HBCUs and other primarily minority-serving institutions are especially encouraged to apply. Room and board is fully covered for the 15 successful applicants.  If needed, partial financial assistance can be requested for travel to Atlanta.

Application requirements:

  • Cover letter detailing your interest in “Just Academic Spaces,” including a description of a project you are currently engaged in or want to develop in the future as an outcome of the Institute.
  • one reference letter attached to the application
  • Curriculum Vitae (5 page Maximum)

Application Deadline extended: 6 February 2018 (notification by 20 February 2018)

Application link: DK Summer Institute 2018 Application

For further information, please contact Dellareese T. Jackson, DK/Mellon Graduate Coordinator (