Dartmouth College Launches the Institute for Black Intellectual and Cultural Life

Dartmouth College, the Ivy League educational institution in Hanover, New Hampshire, has announced the creation of the  Institute for Black Intellectual and Cultural Life. The institute will host visiting scholars, artists, writers, activists, and postdoctoral fellows; provide research grants to Dartmouth faculty and staff; fund student internships; and sponsor events such as symposia, performances, and courses, among other activities.

The institute’s intellectual activities around a small number of multiyear interdisciplinary research pillars, such as slavery and justice, arts and activism, climate change, and histories of race at Dartmouth and in New England. The topics will build on faculty strengths and support collaborations with other centers, institutes, and programs on campus and beyond to develop public-facing research and creative projects related to Black history and culture.

Known as the IBICL, the institute is being launched with initial funding of $2.3 million, including $1 million raised from alumni, families, and friends and $1.3 million from the Office of the Provost, which will also provide a further $400,000 to match funds raised during the initial period of operation.

Associate professor of English and creative writing Kimberly Juanita Brown has been named the institute’s inaugural director. “Dartmouth is the right place, and this is the right time for an institute that centers the research of Black studies in all of its iterations,” Dr. Brown said. “This moment calls for expansive vision and profound imagination, and this is what the institute endeavors to bring to Hanover. My goals are to create a space that fosters scholarly engagement and collaboration. I want the institute to be a thriving arena for the work of the Black diaspora, and I want to ensure its longevity.”

Dr. Brown, who specializes in African American and African diasporic literature and visual culture studies, joined the Dartmouth faculty in 2020 and served as co-director of the Consortium of Studies in Race, Migration, and Sexuality. The author of two books — The Repeating Body: Slavery’s Visual Resonance in the Contemporary (Duke University Press, 2015) and the forthcoming Mortevivum: Photography and the Politics of the Visual (MIT Press, 2024) — Dr. Brown came to Dartmouth from Mount Holyoke College, where she was the Elizabeth C. Small Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies and chair of the department of gender studies. Previously, she was an assistant professor of English at Northeastern University in Boston.

A graduate of Queens College of the City University of New York, Dr. Brown earned a Ph.D. in African American studies and American studies from Yale University.

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