What is the impact of racial slavery on African Americans in the United States today, and how might methodologies from the social sciences and humanities help to illuminate this impact? In 2019, the Social Science Research Council established American Slavery’s Legacy across Space and Time, a special project of the Council’s Inequality Initiative, that attempts to answer these questions through the case of the GU 272 descendants—the individuals who trace their ancestry to the African men and women owned and then sold by Georgetown University. By combining qualitative social science with big-data methodologies alongside a community-engaged approach, this project aims to bring to light in unprecedented detail how an entire community was transformed by the United States’ legacy of slavery, while also establishing ethical norms and standards for similar emerging research.
The SSRC invites proposals for small grants of up to $25,000 to support the establishment or facilitation of projects that explore the ongoing social, economic, political, and cultural impacts of slavery in the contemporary United States, through the lens of the GU 272 and their descendants. We seek proposals for projects that aim to contribute substantially to our understanding of the underlying mechanisms driving racial inequality over generations and at different scales: not simply at the geographic or structural level, but also at the individual and family levels. This program is particularly interested in projects that foreground community-academic collaboration.
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