“Elevating the knowledge that informs more complete and accurate narratives of the human experience and lays the foundation for more just and equitable futures.”
Through the Higher Learning program, the Mellon Foundation makes grants with the objective of amplifying perspectives and contributions that have been marginalized within the conventional scholarly record, and that promote the realization of a more socially just world. We call this objective multivocality, and this commitment is at the core of MMUF.
This MMUF program is named after Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, educator, college president, and civil rights activist, and it is underwritten by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens.
Student applicants to MMUF will be evaluated on the basis of their prior coursework, their plans for a major, and their potential to bring historically marginalized or underrepresented perspectives to the academy, including by producing scholarly research that reflects and satisfies the above-stated goal of the Higher Learning program.
Some research themes and rubrics that may satisfy this goal include, but are not limited to, the following: historical and contemporary treatments of race, racialization, and racial formation; intersectional experience and analysis; gender and sexuality; Indigenous history and culture; questions about diaspora; coloniality and decolonization; the carceral state; migration and immigration; urban inequalities; social movements and mass mobilizations; the transatlantic slave trade; settler colonial societies; and literary accounts of agency, subjectivity, and community. While it is not required that student applicants work within the above or related rubrics, preference may be given to applicants who do.
The Fellowship allows students to work on paid research projects during the academic year and to pursue full-time research during the summers between sophomore and junior years and between junior and senior years. The program also provides some assistance with student loans.