The University Record, November 16, 1992

Rockefeller Foundation grant supports 6 CAAS postdoctoral fellows

By Terry Gallagher
News and Information Services

The Center for Afroamerican and African Studies (CAAS) has received a $249,500 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to provide postdoctoral fellowships for scholars in the humanities to work on the theme of “African Peoples in the Industrial Age.”

“Structural changes in the global economy have long linked African peoples, but studies of racism, colonialism, imperialism and cultural production have been insufficiently tied together and conceptualized,” says CAAS Director Earl Lewis. “A group of faculty members at the U-M has established a program to examine how these issues have shaped expectations, opportunities and decisions among Africans and people of African descent throughout the diaspora.”

The grant will support a total of six postdoctoral fellows over the next four years. The fellows will be involved with U-M faculty members and students in a conference to be held in fall 1993, a year-long graduate seminar to be taught in 1993–94 and alternate years thereafter, and in an annual review of scholarship on the subject of “Africans in the Industrial Age.”

Lewis says he expects the project to last for at least five years. “We’re focusing on the intersection of ‘industry,’ ‘modernity’ and ‘the urban,’ and exploring the influence of industrial capitalism on the construction and reconstruction of race on an international level.”

Areas examined in the project will include Africa, the United States, parts of Brazil and the Caribbean. In addition to the emphasis on the influence of the rise of industrial capitalism, Lewis notes, the project will look at “how cultural encounters in one instance shaped the way problems were posed in others,” and comparative studies of institutional, ideological and cultural changes.

Candidates for the fellowships should contact CAAS at 764-9510 for more information.