Mellon Foundation Grant Supports Study of Brown Identities at Whittier College 

Enero 27, 2023

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Whittier College has been awarded $500,000 from the Mellon Foundation for the faculty-led project, The Poet StoryLab: Narrative, Community, and the Transformative Possibilities of Brown Storytelling.

Using a broad range of storytelling methodologies such as oral history projects, virtual and augmented reality story experiences, creative writing, and podcasting, this effort will seek to investigate the historical evolution of an intersectional “brown” identity in the U.S. 

“Whittier College is proud to be part of this exciting new effort by the Mellon Foundation designed, in part, to explore the complexity of race within our society,” said President Linda Oubré. “Whittier College faculty, students, and staff have a great deal to add to this discourse and the results from this project will have a significant impact on our campus and beyond.”   

Whittier College is one of the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the country and is classified as a Hispanic Serving Institution and Minority Serving Institution. 

“Through innovative experiential pedagogy and scholarly research, we will generate and amplify stories that celebrate the complexity, friction, and expansiveness of a ‘brown’ identity in the US paying close attention to the way intersectional experiences related to gender and sexual orientation impact the lived experience of racialized bodies in our current cultural and political climate,” explained Jauregui. 

Led by Associate Professor of Art History Kate Palmer Albers, Associate Professor of Art Danny Jauregui, and Professor of History José Orozco, the StoryLab will be jointly managed by the art and history departments working in close collaboration with Wardman Library and the Center for Engagement with Communities. 

“While our initial work will be focused on Latinx stories and storytelling, we recognize that multitudes of people use the term brown, including South/Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, African-Carribean, and Latinx people of all races,” added Albers. “This multiplicity is the strength of the project and its distinctive feature among campus initiatives. We seek to celebrate this shared identification without losing the particulars of each group.”

This grant is the result of Mellon’s Higher Learning inaugural open call that invited proposals from institutions exploring three distinct topical categories–Civic Engagement and Voting Rights, Race and Racialization in the United States, and Social Justice and the Literary Imagination–in an effort to help illuminate the significance of voting rights controversies in US history from numerous humanities perspectives; demonstrate the complex import of race and racialization within US culture and society; and highlight the role of the literary imagination in making and remaking worlds and societies, past and present.

About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at