GC Announces New Schomburg Center Fellows

The Graduate Center has created several fellowships and initiatives in partnership with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the world’s leading research facility focused on the global African and African diaspora. Programs are designed to enhance the collection, preservation, and access to materials that document black life, while providing an immersive experience for students:

  • Paula Austin (History) is the inaugural recipient of the Graduate Center/Schomburg Dissertation Year Fellowship—the first time that a graduate student will have dedicated office space at the Schomburg Center. Proximity to the vast collections, which include more than 10 million items amassed since the Schomburg Center's founding in 1925, will ensure close collaboration with scholars.

    Austin will also take part in the seminar attached to the Schomburg Center’s Scholars-in-Residence Program, working closely with faculty fellows from across the country pursuing their own research projects at the Schomburg. This is the first time that a graduate student has been asked to take part in the program, which was established in 1983.

    “I am incredibly privileged and honored to have been selected,” Austin said. “The fellowship helps makes the completion of my dissertation in African American history a foregone conclusion, and enables me to research and write an article for publication, doing both in an especially supportive and rich environment."

  • Zohra Saed (English) and Gwendolyn Shaw (Art History) have been selected as Schomberg Digitization Fellows, in partnership with the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean (IRADAC). Now in its second year, the fellowship provides hands-on experience with the digital humanities, according to Dr. Robert Reid-Pharr, director of IRIDAC.

    “We knew the Schomburg Center has a huge collection, almost none of which is digitized,” Dr. Reid-Pharr said. “We saw the fellowship as a win-win: Schomburg gains access to scholars who can help digitize materials, and our students have the opportunity not only to do both archive and digital work, but also to be compensated for their work.”

    "This fellowship provides access to an incredibly rich archive and an opportunity to work with Schomburg's experts,” Saed said. “I still cannot articulate how exciting this is for me, my work, and my writing. It is a place where I can be in regular conversation with experts and where I am welcome to look over the material. It is just an absolute privilege.”

Graduate Center students are also helping with the organization of the Conversations in Black Freedom Studies series at the Schomburg, curated by professors Jeanne Theoharis (Brooklyn College) and Komozi Woodard (Sarah Lawrence College).
A focal point of Harlem's cultural life, the Schomburg Center is a research unit of the New York Public Library system. It functions as the national research library in its field, providing free access to its wide-ranging non-circulating collections, and sponsoring programs and events that illuminate and illustrate the richness of black history and culture.

Submitted on: OCT 16, 2014

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