Fellowship Program

The Fellowship Program is at the heart of the activities of the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute. Started in 1975 as the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, the Institute has annually appointed scholars who conduct individual research for a period of one to two semesters in a wide variety of fields related to African and African American Studies. With a record of supporting more than 300 Fellows since its founding, the Institute has arguably done more in its short existence to ensure the scholarly development of African and African American Studies than any other pre-doctoral or post-doctoral program in the United States.

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Fellows work in a range of fields and interests, including art and art history, Afro-Latin American research, design and the history of design, education, hiphop, African studies, the African diaspora, African American studies, literature, and creative writing.

Many former Fellows became major figures in the field, including George Frederickson (Stanford University), Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham (Harvard University), Nellie McKay (University of Wisconsin), Nell Irvin Painter (Princeton University), Arnold Rampersad (Stanford University), and Cornel West (Princeton University). Additionally, numerous scholars who came to the Institute as junior faculty members are now senior scholars in academic departments throughout the United States, and in Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Latin America, and several African countries.

A residential appointment at the Du Bois Institute offers considerable benefits to any scholar. We provide office space and a computer, use of a research assistant, and Fellows have full access to the extensive research and library resources of Harvard University. The Institute also houses the Image of the Black in Western Art archive and library, and a small reference library which is open to unlimited use during a Fellows’ term of appointment.

At the Du Bois Research Institute, scholars may pursue their research while interacting with other visiting scholars working at Harvard University. Fellows are expected to participate in a number of activities, including Fellows’ Workshops and, importantly, the weekly colloquium. Chaired by the Institute's Director, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the colloquia  offer Fellows the opportunity to share their work with Institute colleagues, Harvard faculty, graduate students, and others. Colloquia also allow Harvard faculty and visitors to present work in progress, and we have hosted presentations by Wole Soyinka, A. Leon Higginbotham, Ira Berlin, Orlando Patterson, Jamaica Kincaid, Hazel V. Carby, Zadie Smith, and many others.

The colloquia occur every Wednesday between 12:00 noon and 1:30 p.m. during the academic year and take place in the Thompson Room on the first floor of the Barker Center. Each presentation lasts approximately an hour, followed by open discussion. Media facilities and staffing are available and Fellows are encouraged to take advantage of the media resources for their presentations. The Harvard community and the surrounding Cambridge and Boston communities are invited and are welcome to bring a lunch. Attendance is required of all Institute Fellows.

Du Bois Fellows also have the opportunity to meet scholars from other Harvard Fellows Programs, such as the Kennedy School of Government, the Center for International Affairs, the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life, the Center for the Study of World Religions, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Humanities Center, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the Loeb Fellows of the Graduate School of Design, and the Nieman Foundation.

Announcing the 2021-2022 Fellows

The Hutchins Center for African & African American Research Announces its Ninth Class of W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute Fellows

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University has announced the 2021-2022 class of fellows.

“We are happy to welcome an extraordinary cohort of W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute Fellows,” says Gates. “We look forward to an inspiring range of projects next academic year. The spiritual capacity of jazz; art and race in the 19th century; bioethical constraint on technoscience; the life of a fugitive slave and sparse archives; W. E. B. Du Bois and the revitalization of sociology; hiphop, technology, and architecture; the musical thought of Du Bois; comparative historical linguistics, African Atlantic intellectual history, and modernity; a multimedia, interactive project on Ancient Nubia; necropolitics and living-death in Cairo; Afrofeminism and assimilation in France; the  Zimbabwe International Book Fair and sexual politics; the history of Hiphop production; Brazilian Black queer artivists and decolonization; the prehistory of British Black Arts; and the state of Afro-Colombia Studies are among the topics that the 2021-2022 Class of Fellows will be addressing at the W. E. B Du Bois Research Institute, housed in the Hutchins Center.”

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2021-2022 Fellows

Silyane Larcher

Silyane Larcher

Research Fellow in Political Science, French National Center for Scientific Research, Paris
2021-2022: Genevieve McMillan-Reba Stewart Fellow

Born and educated in Martinique, Silyane Larcher is a tenured research fellow in political science at the French National Center for Scientific Research (...

Read more about Silyane Larcher
Tadiwanashe F. Madenga

Tadiwanashe F. Madenga

Doctoral Candidate in African and African American Studies, Harvard University
2021-2022: Dorothy Porter & Charles Harris Wesley Fellow with support from the J. D. Manyika Fellowshp Fund
Tadiwa Madenga is a PhD candidate in African and African American Studies and English at Harvard University. Her areas of interest include media theory,... Read more about Tadiwanashe F. Madenga
Hutchins Center Facade

Mark Jon Burford

R. P. Wollenberg Professor of Music, Reed College
Spring 2022: Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow
Mark Jon Burford is the R. P. Wollenberg Professor of Music at Reed College. In residence as a Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow for Spring 2022,... Read more about Mark Jon Burford

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Hutchins Center Facade

Dwight Andrews

Professor of Music Theory and African American Music, Emory University
2021-2022: Hutchins Fellow
Dwight Andrews is Professor of Music Theory and African American Music at Emory University and Senior Minister of First Congregational United Church of... Read more about Dwight Andrews
Susanna Ashton

Susanna Ashton

Professor of English, Clemson University
Spring 2022: W. E. B. Du Bois Fellow
Susanna Ashton is Professor of English at Clemson University. Her research explores notions of authentication and identity in narratives of slavery and... Read more about Susanna Ashton
Bindman

David Bindman

Emeritus Professor of the History of Art, University College London
2021-2022: Image of the Black Archive & Library Fellow

David Bindman is Emeritus Durning-Lawrence Professor of the History of Art at University College London. Author of many distinguished...

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Hutchins Center Facade

Adoulou N. Bitang

Head of the Office of Cultural Clubs at the Directorate of Students Affairs, University of Douala
2021-2022: Edmond J. Safra/Hutchins Center Joint Fellow
Adoulou N. Bitang is Head of the Office of Cultural Clubs at the Directorate of Students Affairs of the University of Douala, Cameroon. In residence... Read more about Adoulou N. Bitang
Hutchins Center Facade

Michael Burawoy

Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
2021-2022: Hutchins Fellow
Michael Burawoy is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. In residence as a Hutchins Fellow for the 2021-2022 academic year... Read more about Michael Burawoy
Hutchins Center Facade

Mark Jon Burford

R. P. Wollenberg Professor of Music, Reed College
Spring 2022: Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow
Mark Jon Burford is the R. P. Wollenberg Professor of Music at Reed College. In residence as a Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow for Spring 2022,... Read more about Mark Jon Burford
Sekou Cooke

Sekou Cooke

Assistant Professor of Architecture, Syracuse University
2021-2022: Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow

Sekou Cooke is an architect, researcher, educator, and curator born in Jamaica and based in Charlotte, NC. He is the newly appointed Director of the...

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Kathryn de Luna

Kathryn de Luna

Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor of History, Georgetown University
2021-2022: Shelia Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow

Kathryn de Luna is Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor of History at Georgetown University. An historian trained in comparative historical...

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Rita Freed

Rita Freed

John F. Cogan Jr. and Mary L. Cornille Chair Emerita of the Department of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian and Near Eastern Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
2021-2022: Richard D. Cohen Fellow

Rita Freed is the John F. Cogan Jr. and Mary L. Cornille Chair Emerita of the Department of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian and Near Eastern Art at the...

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Marwa Ghazali

Marwa Ghazali

Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies, Central Washington University
2021-2022: Genevieve McMillan-Reba Stewart Fellow

Marwa Ghazali is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and Museum Studies at Central Washington University. A cultural and medical...

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Silyane Larcher

Silyane Larcher

Research Fellow in Political Science, French National Center for Scientific Research, Paris
2021-2022: Genevieve McMillan-Reba Stewart Fellow

Born and educated in Martinique, Silyane Larcher is a tenured research fellow in political science at the French National Center for Scientific Research (...

Read more about Silyane Larcher
Tadiwanashe F. Madenga

Tadiwanashe F. Madenga

Doctoral Candidate in African and African American Studies, Harvard University
2021-2022: Dorothy Porter & Charles Harris Wesley Fellow with support from the J. D. Manyika Fellowshp Fund
Tadiwa Madenga is a PhD candidate in African and African American Studies and English at Harvard University. Her areas of interest include media theory,... Read more about Tadiwanashe F. Madenga
Wendel Patrick

Wendel Patrick

Assistant Professor at The Peabody Music Conservatory, Johns Hopkins University
2021-2022: Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow

Wendel Patrickhas been referred to as “David Foster Wallace reincarnated as a sound engineer” by Urbanite Magazine, as “wildly talented” by the Baltimore...

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Tanya Saunders

Tanya L. Saunders

Associate Professor at the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida
Spring 2022: Mark Claster Mamolen Fellow

Tanya L. Saunders is Associate Professor at the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. In residence as a Mark Claster...

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James Smethurst

James Smethurst

Professor at the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
2021-2022: Stuart Hall Fellow

James Smethurst is Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the author...

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Aurora Vergara-Figueroa

Aurora Vergara-Figueroa

Associate Professor of Sociology, Universidad Icesi, Colombia
Fall 2021: Mark Claster Mamolen Fellow
Aurora Vergara-Figueroa is an Afrocolombian scholar who holds a PhD of Sociology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. In 2016, she was nominated as... Read more about Aurora Vergara-Figueroa