English Department Receives a Mellon Grant

     The English Department has received a $487,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to support “Story for All: Disability Justice Collaboratories.” Led by Professor of English and Department Chair Maria Frawley, the project aims to provide marginalized populations with the empowering capacities of storytelling.

The Mellon Foundation—the nation’s largest funder of the arts, culture and humanities—announced in 2022 a Higher Learning inaugural open call. The initiative is “a means of continuing to support inquiry into issues of vital social, cultural, and historical import.” [News Story

     The open call invited proposals from institutions exploring three distinct topical categories—Civic Engagement and Voting Rights, Race and Racialization in the United States, and Social Justice and the Literary Imagination—in an effort to help illuminate the significance of voting rights controversies in US history from numerous humanities perspectives; demonstrate the complex import of race and racialization within US culture and society; and highlight the role of the literary imagination in making and remaking worlds and societies, past and present.

     George Washington University Department of English was among 26 institutions of higher learning from across the nation to receive support totaling more than $12 million from the Mellon Foundation. The institutions selected were all involved in mounting civic engagement and social justice-related research and projects.

    “We are proud to be the recipient of this grant from the Mellon Foundation, which serves as a testament to our work in the humanities,” said CCAS Dean Paul Wahlbeck. “Through storytelling, we can foster both an intellectual and empathetic environment that supports our scholars and equips our students to make a difference in their communities. It is an example of what we call ‘the engaged liberal arts’ in its truest form.”

     “I am so grateful to the Mellon Foundation for its support of this project,” Frawley said. “Their generous funding will enable us to mount two humanities labs where undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty will collaborate with local partners on the creation of digital platforms for storytelling, all in the service of advancing the ideals of disability justice.”

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