Race, Racialization, and Resistance in the United States

Curricular Project Funded by the Mellon Foundation

Fountain the quad

January 2023- December 2025

Project Goals

The overall aim for this project is that all undergraduate students at Seattle University will have an educational experience that deepens their understanding of the long and complex processes of the construction of race as a concept within a global historical framework; analyzes the profound impacts of racialization; and explores the interconnected political, cultural, and social processes by which marginalized groups have resisted and thereby participated in changing the fabric of the US experience. By understanding the complex constructions of race and racialization and interrogating the varied methods of resistance, this project builds solidarity with those who resist and imagining more just and equitable futures.

Seattle University Awarded $495,000 Grant from Mellon Foundation

The Mellon Foundation, the nation's largest funder of the arts, culture and humanities, announced this week that Seattle University has received grant funding for its social justice-related curriculum work. The grant will aid in SU's path to achieving its strategic directions.

The central aim of the project, titled Race, Racialization, and Resistance in the United States, is to enable faculty in the humanities and humanistic social sciences to design courses that explore the complex processes of the construction of race in the U.S. in global contexts. It also strives to investigate the broad range of collective and individual forms of resistance to racism and address the tension between the social-structural constitution of race and subjective experiences of it.

Professor and Chair of History Hazel Hahn, PhD, and project director, says, “Intersectionality, global contexts for analyzing race and racialization in the U.S., ecology and methods of resistance are some of the key themes the grant will enable faculty to work on.”

In addition to Hahn, the leaders of this project include Professor of English and Special Assistant to the Provost for Curriculum Charles Tung, PhD, and Professor of English and Director of University Honors María Bullón-Fernández, PhD, who is also Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities.

“We’re excited to build on the amazing work of our faculty members,” explains Tung. “We are incorporating this work as widely and systematically as possible into our programs, to support our efforts in reimagining and revising our curriculum.”

“This particular grant and the mission and vision of the Mellon Foundation are in complete alignment with the College of Arts and Sciences’ strategic plan,” says Professor Bullón-Fernández. “We look forward to the many ways the grant will support the work of our faculty, transform our students’ education and strengthen the humanities in our college and university.

What  are the Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences?

Faculty in the social sciences wishing to apply for funds of the project “Race, Racialization and Resistance in the United States” are asked to make the case that their projects have predominantly humanistic content and employ humanistic approaches and qualitative/interpretive methodologies in their applications.

To learn more, visit ACLS FAQs on the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) website.

From an academic standpoint, the humanities include the study of history, philosophy and religion, modern and ancient languages and literatures, fine and performing arts, media and cultural studies, and other fields. Humanities research adds to our knowledge of the world, as scholars investigate differences between cultures and communities around the world and across time, consider the ways art is made and received, or unveil the undercurrents that have shaped history. Humanities education encourages students to think creatively and critically, to reason, and ask questions. And, as the humanities offer insight into nearly every aspect of life, they have been considered a core element of a well-rounded education since ancient times.

To learn more, see What Are the Humanities?

The term ‘humanities’ includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.

To learn more, see About the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The humanities comprise those fields of knowledge and learning concerned with human thought, experience, and creativity. By exploring the foundations of aesthetic, ethical, and cultural values and the ways in which they may endure, be challenged, or transformed, humanists help us appreciate and understand what distinguishes us as human beings as well as what unites us. Humanists study many different subjects, such as history, languages and literatures, philosophy, art history, and religion. […] humanistic inquiry is not limited to particular departments or fields but encompasses all areas of research and learning that ask fundamental questions about the way individuals and societies live, think, interact, and express themselves. Accordingly, the humanities may include work in such fields as sociology, psychology, and anthropology. The humanities, like the sciences, involve the analysis and interpretation of evidence, but their subject matter concerns those aspects of the human condition that are not necessarily quantifiable or open to experiment. […] 

The humanities and humanistic social sciences are fundamentally acts of investigation and reflection about different cultures, texts, and artifacts across space and time. Humanists study the diverse means by which human beings in every age and culture explore, understand, and change their world. The humanities enable us to think about and think through the issues that confront us as global citizens of the twenty-first century. As ACLS President Pauline Yu notes, the humanities “provide the means for understanding and appreciating other cultures through studying the language, arts, religion, philosophy, history, and social life of peoples . . . in actual conditions of extensive interaction and mutual change. . . . The humanist’s insistence on local knowledge plays a crucial role in concentrating the vision of an otherwise monocular globalizing lens.”

Almost 50 years ago, Howard Mumford Jones, a scholar of English and American literature and chair of the board of ACLS, affirmed the importance of the humanities in this way: “Perhaps nobody knows how to make any human being better, happier, and more capable, but at the very least the humanities, humane learning, and humanistic scholarship help to sustain a universe of thought in which these questions have meaning and in which adults may have the opportunity to work out such problems for themselves.” Today, these questions still have meaning, and the humanities continue to help us with them. Indeed, the record of the humanities is the record of the human capacity not only to survive but also to overcome obstacles to obtaining a deeply rich and satisfying life.

To learn more, visit ACLS FAQs on the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) website.


Contact Us

Hejeong Hazel Hahn, PhD

Director and Co-Principal Investigator

Charles Tung, PhD

Co-Principal Investigator

Maria Bullon-Fernandez, PhD

Co-Principal Investigator

Malali Popalzai

Administrative Assistant