Announcing the 2020 Grantees: New Interdisciplinary Projects in the Social Sciences

The Social Science Research Council is pleased to announce the 2020 grantees of New Interdisciplinary Projects in the Social Sciences, a request for proposals open exclusively to faculty of the College and University Fund for the Social Sciences member institutions.

Scholarly Borderlands, the Council’s research incubator program, invited proposals for interdisciplinary working groups that would ask novel questions, develop new frameworks, rethink methodological approaches, and find innovative answers. Applicants were encouraged, although not required, to submit applications for research projects related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The response to this competition made it clear that this kind of funding fills a significant gap in the research environment. We were thrilled to receive thirty-seven eligible applications from PIs representing eighteen different College and University Fund member institutions. With the inclusion of research collaborators, twenty-nine member institutions were represented in this year’s applicant pool.

With proposed research programs ranging from racial justice in the social sciences to youth violence and generational trauma, it was a challenge for the selection committee to choose just two projects to fund. We are pleased to announce that funding has been awarded to the following working groups:


Pandemics and Migrant Precarity: North-South Dialogues

PI: Soma Chaudhuri, Michigan State University
Co-PIs: Elizabeth Chacko, George Washington University
Bandana Purkayastha, University of Connecticut

This project will facilitate a collaboration between seven international scholars spanning multiple disciplines, including sociology, history, economics, and geography. The collaboration is aimed at developing an interdisciplinary methodological toolkit to study migrant precarity at the time of pandemics in the global context. By examining the world’s largest democracies—India and the US—the working group will focus on migrants as an entrée to analyze the socio-economic-political and geographical dimensions of the Covid-19 crisis as it is unfolding.


Dreaming Indigenous Futures Working Group: Sustainability Practices for Mitigating the Social, Ecological, and Spiritual Dimensions of Climate Change

PI: Keolu Fox, University of California, San Diego
Co-PIs: Theresa Ambo, University of California, San Diego
K. Wayne Yang, University of California, San Diego

The Indigenous Futures Lab at UC San Diego integrates biotechnology, design thinking, and Indigenous sustainability practices to activate and empower Indigenous leadership for the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Grant funds will launch the working group Dreaming Indigenous Futures to convene an international, multidisciplinary, multi-institutional group of scholars and graduate students to build an intergenerational trans-Indigenous scholarly community within and beyond the social sciences. The working group will facilitate research activities amongst a growing global community of Indigenous scholars, sharing best practices to create a living repository that revitalizes Indigenous wisdom of ecosystem guardianship for global challenges related to climate change adaptation. The working group’s topical areas of focus will include Indigenous genetics and data sovereignty, land-based education and community engagement, and ancestral and digital repatriation policies and protocols.