Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice

Opportunities at the Center

The Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice (CSSJ) at Brown University is offering enrichment opportunities to creative, energetic, motivated high students for the 2022- 2023 school year. The CSSJ is a scholarly research center with a public humanities mission. Our work is focused on projects that examine the history and legacies of the racial slave trade. 

During the enrichment program, students will work closely with CSSJ Manager of Education Nada Samih-Rotondo, a certified grades 7-12 educator, to develop and implement community-based projects deeply rooted in social justice.

The individual project plan includes the following:

  • Purpose and goals
  • Draft timeline of when goals will be met 
  • List of needed resources/contacts
  • Written monthly reflections
  • Final presentation in the form of students’ choice such a research paper, oral presentation, panel, performance, etc.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis 

If you have any questions please reach out to Nada Samih-Rotondo at:



The CSSJ is looking to hire creative and energetic on-call Slavery & Legacy Walking Tour Guides for the fall semester (with the potential to continue in the spring and next school year).

The on-call guides will provide support sporadically over the course of the semester as needed, and in particular, will provide support during Family Weekend on the morning of October 22nd. The guides will receive paid training on the Slavery & Legacy Walking Tour. The Slavery & Legacy Walking Tours examine the history behind Brown University, the State of Rhode Island, and their roles in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The tours help students (K-12 + college) as well as adult groups think critically about the University and state histories.

Guides will be expected to learn the scope of these tours and be able to facilitate discussions with visitors based on their knowledge of topics connected to the tour including how to advance questions about historical understanding and social justice connected to the legacies of the racial slave trade. Interested students can learn more about these tours here.


The CSSJ is able to host up to two fellows. The contact person for this program is the director, Anthony Bogues.

The CSSJ is a center which examines the historical forms of slavery, the ways that these forms have shaped the modern world and how questions of freedom and justice have been generated by this historical condition. The CSSJ also focuses on contemporary forms of human bondage. It has a public humanities program which consists of an exhibition and series of public lectures. The CSSJ research program circles around the following research clusters: forms of contemporary human bondage; scholarship on the historic forms of slavery; the relationship between slavery, colonialism and democracy; the relationship between race, slavery and capitalism; and curating an international exhibition on slavery and colonialism with international partners. The center hosts a vibrant interdisciplinary research cluster on race, slavery and medical knowledge. 

The CSSJ seeks 5th or 6th year graduate students whose research areas falls broadly within any of these clusters. Graduate students who are focusing on questions of historical injustice and racial slavery in any part of the contemporary world are also encouraged to apply. Responsibilities of the fellowship will include coordination and participation in the on-going seminar series of the center and present their research at the center during the fellowship period. The primary focus of the fellow should be to complete the dissertation, present it to the Center, and collaborate with the center faculty and staff in developing and participating in programming.

Learn more and apply

About Reimagining New England Histories Project

Brown University faculty members can apply for funds to support the development or expansion of a course along the themes of the Reimagining New England Histories project. Themes include: the maritime perspective, place & Indigeneity, African American captivity and slavery in New England, discussions around settler colonialism and white supremacy, Indigenous slavery, and decolonial approaches to archival practices, among others. 

Applicants can apply for funds up to $5,000 which can be used for items such as student research support, books, purchasing film, travel to an archive to gather primary documents.  

Applications are due by Nov 1, 2022.  Applications should include a brief itemized budget; a one-two page write-up on the proposed course, the semester it will be taught, and the ways the grant can support this work.


Summer Institutes

The Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice at Brown University in partnership with the Tomaquag Museum, is hosting a free one week (6 day) Black & Indigenous Summer Institute (2023) for Rhode Island rising 10th-12th grade students (graduating 12th graders are eligible as well). The Summer Institute is designed within a restorative justice framework that centers self-reflection, critical thinking, and reading against the grain to reframe how we understand history and heal our communities. Students will visit the Tomaquag Museum, the Mystic Seaport Museum, as well as other venues to uncover the hidden stories of Rhode Island’s communities of color, as well as participate in a transformational workshop with the Haus of Glitter, among others. The week culminates with a celebratory visit to Martha's Vineyard to visit the Aquinnah Cultural Center.

Students must submit a complete and thoughtful application by the deadline of May 26, 2023 

 * Please note: Applications received after the deadline of 12am on May 26th will be placed on the waitlist. Accepted and waitlisted students will be notified the week of June 12th, 2023.

If you have any questions please reach out to Nada Samih-Rotondo at:

Learn more and apply

Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University (CSSJ) and the John Carter Brown Library (JCB) invite applications for a postdoctoral fellowship focused on any area/theme of historical scholarship around African racial slavery, and/ or Indigenous dispossession and slavery. The fellowship is also open to scholars working on the relationships between African slavery and Indigenous slavery and dispossession as well as related issues of freedom and sovereignty. Combining the mission and resources of the CSSJ and the JCB, we expect to support a single fellow doing advanced research for a year (12 months) in residence beginning July 2023. The CSSJ-JCB postdoctoral fellowship is expected to be offered annually in recognition of our collective commitment to advance scholarship in critical areas. Applications representing a wide range of disciplinary perspectives are welcome.

Learn more and apply

The Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice and the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University invites applications for a one-year position (2023-2024) as the Historical Injustice and Democracy Postdoctoral Research Associate.

The making of the modern world was in part constituted by the historical injustices of colonialism and racial slavery. These injustices have played out in contemporary phenomena such as apartheid, displacement, discrimination, and other forms of domination in which substantial portions of the human population have been deprived of rights, economic opportunity, social mobility, or even their very lives. All these forms of historical and contemporary wrongs have generated a plethora of scholarship around different forms of justice: reparative, redistributive, transitional and, of course, reparations. However, how do forms of historical and contemporary injustices shape practices of democracy? Are contemporary forms of democracy adequate responses to historical and contemporary forms of injustice? This joint collaborative project between the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs and the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice seeks a one-year post-doctoral fellow who will anchor the project. The candidate should be trained in any social science field and have an interest in questions of human rights as well as theories of democracy. They should also be interested in the ways in which historical injustices have worked in different countries.  Applicants should have wide knowledge about the different practices which challenge historical and contemporary wrongs. The candidate should be ready to work in collaboration with the Watson Institute and the CSSJ to create a public program around these issues.

Learn more and apply



This proctorship will provide an opportunity for a graduate student to gain experience in the implementation of a high profile regional public humanities project that includes several institutional partners as well as Indigenous and African American community stakeholders  who are core collaborators.  The graduate proctor will provide essential assistance in facilitating collaborations, design and implementation of programming initiatives, and provide research support in such areas and topics as: the maritime perspective, place & Indigeneity, African American captivity and slavery in New England, questions of settler colonialism and white supremacy, Indigenous slavery, and decolonial approaches to archival practices, among others.   This opportunity will allow a graduate student to develop important skills that are essential for public humanities work such as project management and collaboration relationship building.  The proctor will have the opportunity to attend regular meetings of the project’s stakeholders and various project committees deliverables. Travel to local meetings, archives and museums may also be part of the proctor’s work.

Learn more and apply by May 15

The Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice is working on a collaborative partnership with Firelight Media as part of the engagement and education campaign in support of Creating The New World: The Transatlantic Slave Trade, the PBS film series directed by Stanley Nelson. The Simmons Center has been the research arm of this project and both parties share the goal of developing a comprehensive education curriculum for high school students; providing educational support to transform the ways that the history of the transatlantic slave trade is taught in classrooms; and making this history accessible to a general American audience.

The role of this proctorship will be to work closely with the Postdoctoral Fellow in Slavery and the Public Humanities leading this project primarily in a research capacity. 

Learn more and apply by May 31

Opportunities Beyond the Center

No opportunities available at this time