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Volume 3, issue 2, October 2022

Welcome to HRC Monthly!

A preview of our October newsletter:
  • Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Mariam Alkazemi, Robertson School of Media and Culture
  • Announcements
    • Research Fridays at the HRC
    • HHL meetings
    • EH Lab "Beyond Sustainability" project
  • Upcoming Events
    • October Events at the HRC
  • Funding Opportunities
    • HRC 5x5 Grant applications now open
    • HRC Travel Grant applications now open
    • HRC Research Grants: Stay tuned for call for applications in January 2023
  • Professional Development
    • Introduction to Grant Writing
    • Project Management for Grant Writing
  • New Research Groups
    • Migration Studies
    • Ethics
  • Community Event Highlights

Faculty Spotlight

Mariam Alkazemi, Associate Professor, Robertson School of Media and Culture

Written by Scott Sherman, Associate Professor and Interim Associate Director, Robertson School of Media and Culture

Many people receive mental health advice from social media influencers. This is especially true of younger adults, like our students. Are they getting sound medical advice? Are they getting innocent misinformation? Or, are they getting information designed to manipulate them? These are all questions at the heart of Dr. Mariam Alkazemi's research. Dr. Alkazemi, an Associate Professor in the Robertson School...

Read full spotlight


Coming Soon: Research Fridays at the HRC!

Venue: The Valentine House

Starting in mid-October, join us for Research Fridays at the HRC. Bring your laptop, projects, a friend, collaborator, or writing buddy, and gather over coffee and snacks while you work. Write, brainstorm, chat, or map your projects! (We'll ask that you sign up in advance.)

Stay tuned for our first in-person Research Friday!

Health Humanities Lab

The Health Humanities Lab will be facilitating collaborations across campuses and communities to address health and health care disparities and inequities. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are welcome to join us! Contact: Chris Cynn (

Upcoming Meetings:
Sept. 30, 11-12pm | Zoom link:
Oct. 28, 11-12pm
Dec. 2, 11-12pm

Environmental Humanities Lab

The EH Lab's Beyond Sustainability project is hosting a series of collaborative working sessions to develop course activities and assignments that help students engage with environmental politics and institutional transformations (that go 'beyond sustainability'). If you're interested in learning more, contact Jesse Goldstein (

Miss an event? Check out our Youtube Playlist

The Humanities Research Center uploads all our event recordings here.

Upcoming Events at the HRC

Click on image to register for each event.
OCT 03 | 4–5PM
Commons Theater

Gathering Futures: Speculative Fiction as Transformative Possibility During the Climate Crisis

Phoebe Wagner

Co-sponsored by the Institute for Sustainable Energy and Environment (ISEE) and the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies at VCU.
OCT 15 | 9:30AM–3:30PM
MCALC 2nd Floor Lobby and 2104

Intersections: Black and Indigenous Sound in the Early Atlantic World

The event will feature short presentations from leading scholars, Q&A sessions, music, and a performance by the Charlottesville-based band Lua, known for their innovative blend of Latin-American and Appalachian tradition. Co-sponsored by the HRC.
OCT 19 | 4–5PM
Commons Theater

Fractures of Memory: Indigenous Futurisms and Experiential Symbolism

Join us for a screening of two experimental films: Tsenacommacah (2020) and First Landings (2022), followed by a discussion and Q&A with artists and filmmakers Ethan Brown and Federico Cuatlacuatl.
OCT 10 | 12–1PM
Meet VCU's Authors

Ageism Unmasked

Dr. Tracey Gendron
OCT 24 | 12–1PM
Meet VCU's Authors

Inventing Laziness: The Culture of Productivity in Late Ottoman Society

Dr. Melis Hafez
View all events

Funding Opportunities

The HRC 5x5 Grants

Applications are now open for the fall semester. The Humanities Research Center's 5×5 Collaborative Grants encourage faculty in the humanities, humanistic social sciences, natural sciences, and the arts to organize around a topic of common interest. This can include a set of readings, an activity, or just an idea which could lead to future research/projects.

How to apply→

Conference Travel Grants

With support from the VCU Office of Research and Innovation and the College of Humanities and Sciences, the Humanities Research Center is pleased to continue supporting travel by VCU faculty in the humanities to present their scholarly findings at major domestic and international conferences. More information about the application process is available here.

Research Travel Grants

Stay tuned for call for applications in January 2023
Research travel grants from the Humanities Research Center foster excellence in research and creative scholarship at Virginia Commonwealth University by providing funds to support direct research costs incurred by faculty. These costs include travel to archives and other research sites, lodging, meals and expenses related to collection of data such as photocopying and photography fees.

Residential Fellowships

We will begin accepting applications in February 2023. Our annual theme for 2023-24 will be "Medical Humanities."

Professional Development

VCU Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation logo

Introduction to Grant Writing

OCT 06 | 12–1PM

The OVPRI presents an overview of grant writing for faculty researchers. Learn about how to express your research ideas with clarity and persuasiveness. Hear about the most critical components of a successful grant application. Register here.

Project Management for Grant Writing

OCT 13 | 12–1PM

The OVPRI presents a workshop focusing on strategies for putting together your grant application on schedule and with ample time for reviewing and editing. We will share specific project-management tools to help you get organized around writing, refining, and submitting your proposal. Register here.

New Research Groups

Migration Studies

International migration is one of today’s most critical global issues and increasingly transforms sending and receiving societies. This group seeks to explore ways to enhance VCU’s capacity as a center of research and expertise that will intensify its involvement initially with the local and regional Latinx and Latin American communities. Eventually, we want to contribute to the theoretical reflection upon migration broadly as well as the formulation of constructive policies toward all migrant populations at the local, national, and international levels. With migration broadly defined, this group of scholars seeks to build a dialogue along not only political and social dynamics but also cultural and environmental factors that shape the migration experience in Richmond, the United States, and beyond.

Contact: R. McKenna Brown,

Ethics Research Group

We say we want good lives-- the topic of ethics-- but it's difficult to know just what we mean. This research group meets to discuss ethics, or morality, from the perspectives of the humanities, social sciences, theology, natural sciences, professional fields, and beyond. The group considers questions including: How does morality shift with changes in social context? How do works of art make ethical arguments? What is the moral standing of nonhuman animals? How does moral change occur? The group reads a variety of texts, from Confucius' Analects to Emile Durkheim's Suicide to Toni Morrison's Beloved, as well as group members’ works-in-progress. Faculty and graduate students from all schools and colleges at VCU are welcome.

Contact: Ross Collin,

Community Event Highlights

Making Ethical Healthcare Decisions

OCT 05 | 3–4:30PM
Cabell Library, Room 303

The first event in the 2022-2023 History and Health: Equitable Access to Care series is on Wednesday, October 5th. This panel will discuss medical choices, including the role of healthcare providers and patients as well as religious, spiritual and cultural considerations. Join moderator Jason Callahan, Palliative Chaplain and Instructor, David Flemming, President & CEO of Donate Life, America, Dr. Danielle Noreika, Medical Director of Palliative Services, Amarachi Onyejekwe, student president of Black Men in Medicine, and Dr. Leslie Randall, Director, Gynecologic Oncology as they discuss ways to advocate on behalf of patients and be agents of change.  A 45 minute facilitated discussion will follow the 45 minute panel. This event, co-sponsored by University College’s Common Book Program and the Office of Health Equity, will be held in-person and streamed. This event is free and open to the community, but space is limited. More info.

Community Health and the Built Environment

OCT 06 | 6–8PM

Richmond Racial Equity Essays collaborates with VCU’s Common Book Program to host a dynamic evening exploring the intersections of health, equity and the built environment. In a TED Talk-style event, five presenters with deep and prolific experience in community work will have 12 minutes and 12 slides to tell their story and showcase their emerging research, projects and the solutions they are using to curb and disrupt systemic inequities in order to support health and healing in the Richmond community.

The Last Turtlemen of the Caribbean

OCT 11 | 5PM

"The Last Turtlemen of the Caribbean: Mariners and Boundary Making in the Spanish-speaking circum-Caribbean" will explore a region that includes small islands and coastal communities in the southwestern Caribbean at the edge of multiple modern-day nations. Drawing on a long seafaring tradition, men from places like the Cayman Islands increasingly turned to the sea rather than to land to eke out a livelihood. Their hunt for green and hawksbill turtles, however, grew contentious. Hunting grounds became difficult to access when aspirant nations from Cuba to Colombia enacted legislation to regulate or restrict them from these spaces. Through contentious boundary disputes, the talk will show how efforts to draw maritime boundaries, protect marine animal resources, and nationalize territorial waters became a way to integrate peripheral spaces into the nation for strategic and fiscal reasons. These disputes also reveal how mariners leveraged and resisted state efforts to disrupt an extractive economy that bound them to a range of far-flung places through commercial and familial ties.

RESONATE: A Richmond Podcast Festival

OCT 14–15

Are you a student curious about podcasting? A producer looking to pick up additional skills? An avid listener who wants a look behind the scenes? Join us at RESONATE Podcast Festival in Richmond, Virginia: two days of workshops, performances, and exhibitions open to all.

RESONATE is brought to you by the VPM + ICA Community Media Center. Support for RESONATE comes from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.

The 6th Annual Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival

NOV 18–20

The only Native American film festival on the East Coast returns for its 6th year. The Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival brings together artists, authors, cineastes, and actors who share a passion for film and features experiential learning opportunities for the entire public. Storytelling and filmmaking have suffered from a dearth of representation of important groups that influenced American democracy, notably Native Americans. Pocahontas Reframed honors the contributions of Native Americans and reinvigorates conversations about telling stories of indigenous life.

Looking ahead

Next month, author Diane Wilson will visit VCU to give a talk and reading from The Seed Keeper (Milkweed 2021), winner of the 2022 Minnesota Book Award in Fiction. Wilson will also discuss her work as the former executive director of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, a national coalition of tribes and organizations working to create sovereign food systems for Native people.

Nov. 17, 6pm at Cabell Library, Room 303. Register here.
Support the HRC

Would you like to propose an event, workshop, grant application or working group for the HRC in the future?

 Email Cristina Stanciu at
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