The Racial Geography Project, a research collective that investigates histories of racism and racialization on the Rice campus, has been awarded a grant by the University’s new Race and Anti-Racism Research Fund.
This research collective—an initiative of Rice University’s Task Force on Slavery, Segregation, and Racial Injustice—is led by Dr. Fabiola López-Durán, associate professor of art and architectural history and Ph.D. Candidate in Art History, Adrienne Rooney, and includes an interdisciplinary group of PhD and undergraduate students. Since July 2020 the group has been conducting research to unveil histories of racism and violence registered in our campus’ buildings and their materials, monuments, commemoratives plaques, reliefs, and ornaments.
The Racial Geography Project will offer a cartography of the university’s campus that acknowledges Rice’s racial landscape. Descriptive markers will contextualize important sites such as William Marsh Rice’s memorial, which was installed in 1930, two decades after the University’s founding. A panel text will acknowledge Rice’s associations with the plantation economy and honor the individuals he enslaved. Additional markers will map instances of Antebellum nostalgia that transpired on campus well into the 20th century. Crucially, in addition to grappling with sites of racial trauma, the Project will celebrate sites and moments of Black achievement at Rice and imagine future interventions that contribute to the process of building a more affirmative University for students, faculty and staff of all backgrounds. It aims to provide an altered narrative of our campus—one that critically analyzes its current statues and architectural styles—while rewriting metrics for accomplishment embedded in our geography.
Ultimately, the Racial Geography Project will take the form of site-specific interventions at strategic locations across the Rice University campus based on its research as a collective, work done in López-Durán and Rooney’s new HART course on Art and Activism, and the research of other Task Force members and their students. These site-specific interventions will be complemented by an online portal, ephemeral publications, podcast episodes, and a diachronic campus map that builds on an existing online mapping platform that illustrates the evolution of the campus developed by Dr. Farès el-Dahdah and his team at the Humanities Research Center.
Bravo to the entire research collective comprised of the following participants:
Amy Lin, Anthony Nguyen, Braden Perryman, Dalia Gulca, Emily Weaver, Gabriella Feuillet, Jared Snow, Lauren Ma, Morgan Seay, Soha Rizvi, Spoorthi Kamepalli, Sumin Hwan, Marc Armeña, Amber Wang, Sanvitti Sahdev, Venus Alemanji
Chaney Hill, Giovanna Bassi Cendra, Henry McMahon, James McCabe, Karen Siu, Karine Raynor, Lynne Lee, Philip Kelleher
The Race and Anti-Racism Research Fund awarded eight professors at Rice with grants as a way to gain a better understanding of how race racial injustice affect society. The new grants will help achieve Rice’s goal of creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive university and society and fund studies in six Rice departments on aspects of racism that impact the campus and the city.
Additional information about the new fund and the other grants can be found here.