Collaborative Research Clusters

The Northeastern Humanities Center’s Collaborative Research Clusters give faculty the opportunity for a range of interdisciplinary research collaborations with awards up to $2,000. These clusters bring together scholars and practitioners from different disciplines, both within and outside the university community, around a common issue of humanistic significance. The purpose is to facilitate productive discussions and collaborations among the participants, with a view toward the development of joint projects, conferences, publications, and grant applications.

The Humanities Center funds a wide range of themes and topics. Past groups have organized around such topics as critical social theory; sexual citizenship; urban environmental governance; food; and race and visual culture studies.


“Achieving Gender Equality in the Workplace
Alicia Sasser Modestino
Associate Professor, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Department of Economics, CSSH

Jamie Ladge
Associate Professor, Management and Organizational Development, D’Amore-McKim School of Business

This research cluster will discuss the gender wage gap and the lack of improvement in gender equality in the workplace since 2000.   The group will focus on subtle and often unconscious differences in recruitment practices, management styles, employment patterns, and compensation schemes that can lead to bias against women in the workplace.  The primary goal is to shed light on how workplace norms affect gender equality and draw attention to potential policies and programs to alleviate such disparities.  Findings may have important implications for individuals, organizations, and the economy as a whole.

“Interdisciplinary Determinants of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets”
Amilcar Barreto
Associate Professor, Political Science, International Affairs, and Public Policy, CSSH

Elizabeth Moore
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Political Science

The overall theme of this cluster is interdisciplinary linkages between the fields of political science (particularly international relations) and international business through the examination of institutional violence and entrepreneurship.  According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 15 of the top 20 countries in terms of Total Entrepreneurial Activity are wrought with thigh levels of institutionalized violence.  The group will conduct case study research to test the proposition that high levels of institutional violence are a motivating factor for higher levels of family entrepreneurship.

“Flooding and Politics in Urban Coastal Megacities”
Gavin Shatkin
Associate Director, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs; Director of Asian Studies Program

This cluster will develop a spring workshop on the implications of flooding for urban political change in Asian cities. How is flooding, and the threat of climate change induced inundation, reshaping the terrain of urban political power and contestation in Asian coastal cities? What pressures are state actors facing to rescale and reconstitute their action in the face of climate change induced hazards, to confront mounting pressures and threats both from the grassroots and from much larger regional forces of change? How has this issue shaped debates about such contentious issues as real estate development, property, and infrastructure?

“Gender and Carceral Complexes”
Suzanna Danuta Walters
Professor of Sociology and Director, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, CSSH

This cluster will examine the phenomenon of mass incarceration and the political, economic, and legal structures that support it.  In addition the group will engage with narrative fiction and popular culture that speaks to incarceration, particularly as punitive and carceral apparatuses that operate on gendered and sexed bodies.  The primary goal is to provide an interdisciplinary and feminist framework for examining carcerality.  The group will produce the third WGSS annual symposium around this topic.

“Horrific Blindness: Genocides and Mass Atrocities from Armenia to Darfur”
Natalie Bormann
Associate Academic Specialist, Department of Political Science, CSSH

Gordana Rabrenovic
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Director of the Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict

This cluster aims at continuing to provide a forum for NU faculty, staff, and students with an interest in our role and responsibilities regarding the prevention of, and intervention in, genocides and mass atrocities.  This group is a continuation of the 2014-15 Rwanda Research cluster, and wishes to deepen and broaden conceptual insights (prevention, intervention, denial, reconciliation, and reconstruction) to other instances of genocides. For more information, visit their website.

“The Early Caribbean and the Digital”
Nicole Aljoe
Associate Professor, Department of English, CSSH

This cluster will explore the ethics, aesthetics, and processes of digital collection and curation of the print culture of the Early Caribbean ad manifested by the Early Caribbean Digital Archive, hosted by NUlab for Texts, Maps, and Networks at the Snell Library.  Meetings will consist of engagements with scholarly readings in the field of Early/Caribbean Studies and Digital Humanities, as well as hands on workshops on working with TEI, Omeka platform, WordPress, and other digital techniques and strategies.

“The Sustainable Humanites”
Christopher Parsons
Assistant Professor, Department of History, CSSH

Building on the 2015 Green City Spaces Colloquium, the primary goal of this research cluster will be to integrate methods of humanistic inquiry more fully into the sustainability research and educational mission at Northeastern. Common readings in erocriticism, environmental ethics, environmental history, and other related fields will provide a core avenue for discussion about the broader project of the sustainable humanities.