Prof. Jigna Desai is the winner of the 2021 Mellon Foundation Just Futures Initiative Grant for Minnesota Transform. The Just Futures Initiative provides funding to support visionary, unconventional, experimental, and groundbreaking projects in order to address the long-existing fault lines of racism, inequality, and injustice that tear at the fabric of democracy and civil society. Prof. Desai served as the primary investigator for this grant, along with team members and collaborators David Chang, Tracey Deutsch, Tadd Johnson, Kevin Murphy, and Kari Smalkoski. The Minnesota Transform Initiative brings substantial resources to our department and to the College of Liberal Arts.
About Minnesota Transform
Minnesota Transform is a $5M higher education initiative funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that addresses transformational decolonial and racial justice in the University, Twin Cities, and state through public humanities projects. Some of the most important work that is necessary to create more racially just societies and more racially just universities must be done in and by the humanities. Minnesota Transform collaborates with community groups to create mutually beneficial internships, undergraduate and graduate curriculum, and public exhibits and programming focused on racial justice. We deploy public-facing humanities and the subsequent co-created knowledge to make the university accountable to and learn from the BIPOC communities it has often excluded, neglected, or harmed. In so doing, we build the university’s capacity for racial justice. This project also supports access to Ojibwe and Dakota language, creation of truth, reconciliation, and redress report between the university and tribal nations, undergraduate and graduate student internship funding to work with community partners, and so much more.