The University of Tulsa


An SSRC/NEH SHIP grant will help the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities (OCH) at The University of Tulsa re-activate the Zarrow Center as a key site for bringing the distinctive tools of the humanities to bear on urgent community challenges. This multi-use facility stands in the heart of a thriving downtown arts district directly adjacent to the neighborhoods shattered by the 1921 Race Massacre. Prior to the arrival of Covid-19, Zarrow had developed into a public humanities hub where civic partners collaborated with campus scholars in gallery, meeting, and classroom spaces. SHIP support will be used to reactivate the Zarrow Center  by exploring the pathways to and from freedom that intersect in a state defined by indigenous sovereignty, the nation’s deadliest race massacre, and the agonizing experience of human-caused climate change. Funds will support the addition of a post-doctoral assistant director who will gain mentoring and practical management experience in the public humanities. Working with the director, this emerging scholar will help lead three interconnected symposia hosted at Zarrow that focus on 1.) indigenous sovereignty before and after the McGirt decision, 2.) the cultural history of Oklahoma’s all-Black towns, and 3.) the musical legacies of the Dust Bowl. Finally, grant support will be used to equitably fund stipends for our innovative public fellows program, an established driver of inclusion at a university with a Jim Crow past.  In alignment with our mission-driven focus on diversity and equity, these interrelated initiatives will allow us to re-energize a powerful nexus between scholarly and community modes of expertise.