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

Work of the Center

The Center's work is organized around a set of research clusters, projects, seminars, and public engagement initiatives that drive our scholarly and public humanities focus.

The Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice is a scholarly research center with a public humanities mission. Recognizing that racial and chattel slavery were central to the historical formation of the Americas and the modern world, the Simmons Center creates a space for the interdisciplinary study of the historical forms of slavery while also examining how these legacies shape our contemporary world.

For the 2020-2021 academic year, the Center's work is organized around the following research clusters and projects:

Led by Simmons Center Faculty Fellows, research clusters examine the legacies of racial slavery through scholarship and public engagement. The clusters encourage new scholarship and critical debates to create forms of knowledge which intervene in the world.
Public Humanities projects include gallery exhibitions, arts programming and the development of new high school curriculum. The Simmons Center has created partnerships with many museums, universities and film makers developing projects that are reshaping the way we understand racial slavery and its impact on our world today.
The Simmons Center creates art platforms for artists and curators to develop a space for debate and discussion around the history of art, black aesthetics, and new forms of African and African diasporic art which draw their inspiration from grappling with the meaning of racial slavery and colonialism and their current afterlives.
Seminars create a space for postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, undergraduates, and community members to discuss and debate outside the classroom; participants develop curricular reading lists, facilitate discussions, workshop papers and projects, and host public conversations.
These initiatives uphold the educational and community recommendations outlined in Brown’s landmark Slavery & Justice Report. These programs seek to empower young people at Providence Public Schools. Public engagement initiatives include different forms of curriculum.