The Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice and the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University invites applications for a two-year position (2021-2023) as the Historical Injustice and Democracy Postdoctoral Research Associate.
The making of the modern world was in part constituted by the historical injustices of colonialism and racial slavery. These injustices have played out in contemporary phenomena such as apartheid, displacement, discrimination, and other forms of domination in which substantial portions of the human population have been deprived of rights, economic opportunity, social mobility, or even their very lives. All these forms of historical and contemporary wrongs have generated a plethora of scholarship around different forms of justice: reparative, redistributive, transitional and, of course, reparations. However, how do forms of historical and contemporary injustices shape practices of democracy? Are forms of democracy adequate responses to historical and contemporary forms of injustice? This joint collaborative project between the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs and the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice seeks a two year post-doctoral fellow who will anchor the project. The candidate should be trained in any social science field and have an interest in questions of human rights as well as theories of democracy. The candidate should also be interested in the ways in which historical injustices have worked in different countries, and should have wide knowledge about the different practices which challenge historical and contemporary wrongs. The candidate would be required to teach one course per year, and should be ready to work in collaboration with the Watson and the CSSJ to create a public program around these issues.
About the Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice
The Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice is a scholarly research center with a public humanities mission. Recognizing that racial and chattel slavery were central to the historical formation of the Americas and the modern world, the CSSJ creates a space for the interdisciplinary study of the historical forms of slavery while also examining how these legacies shape our contemporary world.
About the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs
The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University seeks to promote a just and peaceful world through research, teaching, and public engagement. The Watson Institute is a community of scholars, practitioners, and students whose work aims to help us understand and address these critical challenges. It is dedicated to meaningful social science research and teaching, and animated by the conviction that informed policy can change systems and societies for the better.
Applicants should have Ph.D. in any social science discipline and have received their degree within the last five years (or will obtain a Ph.D. by June 2021). The candidate should have an interest in questions of human rights as well as theories of democracy. The candidate should also be interested in the ways in which historical injustices have worked in different countries, and he/she should have wide knowledge about the different practices which challenge historical and contemporary wrongs.
Applicants should apply online at: apply.interfolio.com/81690
Please include a cover letter, current CV, a writing sample, and three letters of reference.
Search opens December 11, 2020. Applications received by February 17, 2021 will receive full consideration.
Humanities at the Limit of ‘the Human
The Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice
August 5th and 6th, 2021
Virtually hosted by Brown University
Submission Deadline: March 22nd, 2021
Call for Papers
Across the humanities, as well as the social and biological sciences, there is growing recognition
that the concept of “the human” is neither empirically fixed nor transcendentally universal.
Rather, it is a rhetorical artifice—an attempt to answer questions about who we are and why we
exist. Moreover, critical theorists in Black Studies have examined not only how Black people
have not been recognized as human under white supremacy, but also how gestures of inclusion
into humanity have failed to put an end to the gratuitous violence enacted against them. This
has led scholar Zakiyyah Iman Jackson to ask: “If being recognized as human offers no reprieve
from ontologizing dominance and violence, then what might we gain from the rupture of the
This Graduate Colloquium invites graduate students to share work-in-progress that
interrogates the human’s connotative, denotative, and empirical baggage as well as dares to
invent, refine, and imagine new concepts and practices in the human’s wake. Moreover, we
invite work that considers humanities in the plural and challenges reigning disciplinary
strictures. Prospective applicants might consider sharing work that:
● critiques humanist discourses on the topic of ecology or environment that challenge
current understandings of the ethical relation between the human and non-human.
● confronts the co-optation of Black radicalism for liberal, humanist politics.
● challenges disciplinary humanities and gives space to alternative modes of knowing and
● rethinks narratives of “the human” that assume a universal relationship to the body, which
causes those who diverge from this relationship to be seen as lacking, defective,
damaged or in need of a cure.
● envisions spatio-temporal frameworks that offer expansive views of being in and relating
with what Tiffany Lethabo King, Jenell Navarro, and Andrea Smith have called “otherwise
The workshop will be held virtually on August 5th and 6th, 2021. To apply, please submit by
March 22nd, via this Google Form, a brief description of the work you intend to workshop at the
Colloquium. We will notify successful applicants by May 1st. Participants in the workshop will be
expected to share their work-in-progress (10-25 pages) by June 25th, to give the other
participants time to read and engage it before the Colloquium. We invite participants to share
work at any stage.
We look forward to receiving your proposals. Please send any queries you may have to