Congratulations to Prof. Mirelsie Velázquez for being chosen as a Humanities Research Institute (HRI) Summer Fellow! The Humanities Research Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has awarded its annual Summer Faculty Fellowships to nine faculty members for 2023. These fellowships are designed to help faculty maximize the summer in service of their ongoing professional development. They provide an infusion of resources to jumpstart or fuel an ongoing research project, undertake course development, or pursue a professional training opportunity over the summer months.

Prof. Velázquez’s project, “Space, Place, and Homemaking: Black and Indigenous Oklahoma, 1865-1925,” speaks to the need to center both Oklahoma and communities of color into larger conversations within the history of education and the U.S. more broadly. By centering and documenting schools and schooling Prof. Velázquez hopes to challenge monolithic readings of schools as not only sites of oppression within Oklahoma and Indian Territories, but similarly speak to how both groups enacted agency to situate these spaces as sites of liberation prior to statehood. Mapping the history of education for both communities, especially the documentation of the physical structures Indigenous and Black communities organized themselves to build and support, will be central to the project.