Andrew W. Mellon Sawyer Seminar

The 2019-20 Mellon Sawyer Seminar, “Imagining Latinidades: Articulations of National Belonging,” will be co-directed by UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Latina/o Studies Program faculty member Darrel Wanzer-Serrano (Department of Communication Studies), Rene Rocha (Department of Political Science), and Ariana Ruiz (Department of Spanish & Portuguese), and will operate in partnership with the Obermann Center.

The seminar will include over 20 free presentations by renowned visiting scholars and artists, a film series, and public performances, all of which will engage questions of national identity, national belonging, intersectional identities (related to race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, etc.), and Latina/o/x peoples. The $225,000 from Mellon’s Sawyer Seminar program, which supports research on the historical and cultural sources of contemporary developments, will also fund a post-doctoral fellow and the dissertation research of two affiliated UI graduate students. 

“Imagining Latinidades” will build upon the strong foundation of the UI’s interdisciplinary Latina/o Studies Program, itself an outgrowth of the Obermann Center’s 2012 Humanities Symposium, “The Latino Midwest.” 

Check back soon for more information and a link to the seminar's website. 


2019–2020 Mellon Sawyer Seminar Dissertation Fellowships

The Graduate College at the University of Iowa welcomes applications for two academic year graduate fellowships with a stipend of $20,000 each (tuition scholarship up to $750 per semester, 50 percent of mandatory fees, and a contribution towards their health and dental insurance) for dissertation research, funded through the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The fellowships are for the 2019-2020 academic year, and include participation in the 2019-2020 Mellon-Sawyer Seminar, “Imagining Latinindades: Articulations of National Belonging,” led by co-PIs Darrel Wanzer-Serrano (Communication Studies), Rene Rocha (Political Science), and Ariana Ruiz (Spanish and Portuguese).

Over the course of the 2019/2020 academic year, the Sawyer Seminar will support a series of events—including over 20 lectures by renowned visiting scholars and artists, a film series, and public art performances that engage with questions of national identity, national belonging, intersectional identities (related to race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, etc.), and Latina/o/x peoples. “Imagining Latinidades” draws from critical approaches in the humanities and social sciences to address how peoples of Latin American and Caribbean descent see themselves and are seen by others in the United States. As such, the Seminar will move across different geographies and histories to explore how Latina/o/x communities consistently and continuously disrupt and are disrupted by dominant and dominating articulations of nation, nationhood, and belonging. The Seminar will also proceed through a set of questions related to civic and social identities, migration, representation, and constructions of U.S. Latinidades, while still remaining cognizant of ever-shifting hemispheric ties across the Americas. Given the recent jolting shifts in discourse, public policy, and persistent everyday lived effects of coloniality, the place of Latina/o/x peoples in the United States has never been more uncertain. Thus, the Seminar’s interest in how articulations of national belonging (particularly those that exclude Latina/o/x folks) puncture the social fabric of the United States, underscores a productive tension that resists historical amnesia while imagining and creating alternative practices of identification. More information is available in the press release.

Doctoral candidates pursuing research in critical and/or comparative race and ethnic studies from any department at the University of Iowa are encouraged to apply, with ABD students preferred. Please send the following to as a single PDF document. 

  • A 2-page description of your dissertation project, including an explanation of how your research interests align with the topic of the Mellon-Sawyer seminar.
  • PDF iconCover sheet: Please download, print, fill out, and secure the signature of the director of graduate studies or the chair of the home department.
  • CV
  • The deadline for submission is April 1, 2019.