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Volume 2, issue 2, October 2021

Welcome to HRC Monthly!

A preview of the September newsletter. 
  • Faculty Spotlight: Andrew Murphy (Political Science) and Adam Ewing (African American Studies)
  • Mark Your Calendars: October HRC events 
  • Fellowship Opportunities
    • HRC Residential Fellowships
  • Community Learning Opportunities: Humanities Events at VCU and around RVA

Faculty Spotlight
In this issue we spotlight two faculty members who are the two VCU nominees selected for the NEH Summer Stipend competition this year. Congratulations to Professors Andrew Murphy (Political Science) and Adam Ewing (African American Studies)!

Andrew Murphy, Political Science
Written by Jason Arnold, Chair of the Department of Political Science

When Andrew Murphy joined our faculty in August 2019, I knew my department had the great fortune of gaining one of the world’s leading theorists of religious liberty, political tolerance and liberty of conscience. That Andy exemplifies the liberal virtues he studies, with an apparently inexhaustible supply of toleration, inclusivity and fair-mindedness, became immediately clear to his colleagues and students, all of whom would also recognize his generosity of spirit. Political science hit the jackpot by acquiring an esteemed scholar and beloved teacher who happens to be a wonderful colleague.

Before moving to VCU, Andy published ten books and dozens of articles while holding positions at Rutgers, Valparaiso, the University of Richmond and the University of Chicago. In recent years, his focus has remained fixed on William Penn’s life and thought, leading to four books and a reputation as “the world's greatest authority on William Penn” (American Historical Review). His current work on political martyrdom signals an exciting new direction rooted in his long-standing interest in liberty of conscience and firm insistence about the interconnectedness of religion and politics. Earlier books probed those and related themes, including "Conscience and Community: Revisiting Toleration and Religious Dissent in Early Modern England and America," "Prodigal Nation: Moral Decline and Divine Punishment from New England to 9/11" and "Political Religion and Religious Politics: Navigating Identities in the United States."

Andy has won many honors and awards, including an Overseas Fellowship at the University of Cambridge’s Churchill College, a visiting fellowship at the University of Oxford’s Rothermere American Institute, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation fellowship. Early in his academic career, he won a top dissertation award, the American Political Science Association’s (APSA) Aaron Wildavsky Award, from the religion and politics section.

Adam Ewing, Associate Professor of African American Studies
Written by Mignonne Guy, Chair, Department of African American Studies

Adam Ewing’s work explores the dynamics of Black liberation politics in the 20th century. He is interested in the global perspectives and global networks developed by Black activists, and the ways in which those perspectives and networks inspire and create opportunities for local and community-based organizing work. His first book, "The Age of Garvey: How a Jamaican Activist Created a Mass Movement and Changed Global Black Politics" (Princeton University Press, 2014), explores the ways in which Black communities in Africa and the United States were mobilized in by the post-World War I era by the anti-colonial movement spearheaded by Jamaican activist Marcus Garvey. His edited collection (with Ronald J. Stephens), "Global Garveyism" (University Press of Florida, 2019), explores the dynamics of Garvey’s movement across locales ranging from Australia to South Africa to Liberia to Trinidad to Cuba to the United States Midwest. This work has established Dr. Ewing as one of the world’s leading scholars of the Garvey movement. "The Age of Garvey" was awarded the 2015 Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

Adam's new book project explores the broader pan-African tradition out of which Garveyism emerged. In the 20th century, spurred in large part by Garveyism, this tradition evolved into a revolutionary movement that played out over several decades. Pan-Africanism is typically portrayed in histories of the 20th century as an elite-driven, intellectual project that was overshadowed by the mass mobilizations of the civil rights struggle in the United States and the independence struggles in Africa and the Caribbean. Dr. Ewing’s project demonstrates that the pan-African movement had its own popular tradition—one stretching back to the inauguration of the Atlantic slave trade—that was crucial in propelling the Black liberation struggle. This was a popular politics rooted not only in cooperation—between Black people, Black organizations and Black nations—but more crucially in the effort to refuse the Eurocentric project of universalism and globalization and to build a new order grounded in the principles of anti-racism, cultural self-determination and economic equality. This revolutionary thrust was propelled by communities stretching throughout the African diaspora: by African, West Indian, and Black American migrants; by revivalists from the Congo, Jamaica, and Detroit; by urban rebels in U.S. cities, asafo groups in the colonial Gold Coast (Ghana) and booksellers in London. The defeat of this movement in the 1960s and 1970s and the revival of global White supremacy left the Black liberation struggle unfinished. It provides the backdrop and the explanation for the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the resurgence of White nationalism in our own time.

October Events at the HRC
For a complete list of all HRC events, please click here.

HRC Residential Fellowships

Annual Theme, 2021-22: “Race, Ethnicity, and Social Justice”
Residency Semester: Spring 2022
Deadline: October 18, 2021

We invite applications for faculty residential fellowships at the HRC. The selected residential fellows will form an intellectual community of faculty of diverse academic ranks and departmental affiliations who will contribute to and learn from each other’s work by developing research projects related to this year’s theme: “Race, Ethnicity, and Social Justice.” The HRC is interested in fostering interdisciplinary work, both within the humanistic disciplines, and between the humanities, the arts, and the social and natural sciences.

Application information on the HRC website: 

Community Learning Opportunities: Humanities Events at VCU and around RVA
RVA Humanities Related Events

October 1, 2021
Qué Pasa Festival?: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. More info here

October 2, 2021
Richmond Vegetarian Festival. More info here.

October 3, 2021
VA State Fair - Doswell

October 4-10, 2021
RVAFW Fall Fashion week 2021. More info here.

October 6, 2021
Virginia Humanities. Blacksburg Library: Edgar A Long Book Launch, 6 p.m. More here.

October 8-10, 2021
Richmond Folk Festival - Brown’s Island, 1:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.

October 9, 2021
25th Annual Glen Allen Day Fair, Meadow Farms Museum, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

October 10, 2021
The ICA: Kutunza Kila Mmoja (Taking Care of Each Other). October 10, 2021 - December 17, 2021

October 15, 2021
Would I Lie to You? Mural Walks - Richmond. More info here. 

October 16, 2021
Virginia Center for the Book at the Jefferson School City Center - Bookbinding Core Skills: Fall 2021 Session. Register here

October 16, 2021-November 21, 2021
“Museums on Main Street” - Danville. More info here.

October 20-24, 2021
VMFA: Fine Arts and Flowers 2021, 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. 

October 30, 2021
History in Focus: Cemeteries - Meadow Farm Museum, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
The Humanities Research Center is proud to support the 5th Annual Film Festival, "Pocahontas Reframed," the only Indigenous Film Festival on the East Coast. You can learn more about it here.

In September 2021, thousands of Haitian migrants began crossing the Rio Grande and camping in Del Rio, Texas, seeking asylum from the United States government. Instead, they faced the whips of border patrol agents and deportation orders from the Biden Administration. How do we make sense of this response?

Although people living in the United States are taught very little about Haiti, the fates of the two countries have long been intertwined--by Atlantic slavery, by the American and Haitian Revolutions, by U.S. imperialism and colonial occupation, by a global political economy that encourages the flow of capital, polices the movement of migrants, and creates widening inequalities. These connections reflect the persistence of White supremacy as an organizing principle and as a barrier to creation of more equitable and just global order.

Join VCU African American Studies professors Mignonne Guy and Adam Ewing for a conversation about Haitian migrant crisis and its roots.

When: Monday, October 4, 6:00PM
Where: ZOOM:

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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