Advancing Scholarship across the Americas

Dr. Knaul, Grants, Faculty, small Grants, Awards Dr. Knaul
Dr. Felicia Marie Knaul, director of the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas, announces the 2018 grant recipients at the institute's Open House.
The University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas announces 11 seed grants for 23 faculty across the University.


The material effects of racism in Miami, the impact on mental health and familial relationships among Puerto Ricans following Hurricane Maria, and the archaeology of Bahamian caves and shipwrecks are among eleven proposals from 23 University of Miami professors that have been awarded seed grants from the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas (UMIA).
The grants support project development within multidisciplinary research or discussion groups, as individual projects, or in a book manuscript workshop. UMIA grants are intended to encourage interdisciplinary research and problem-solving on key challenges facing the Americas, including Latin America, the Caribbean, and Miami as a hemispheric crossroads.
“Whether the work advances our understanding of disaster resilience or the history of music, we believe each of these projects will make important contributions to the wellbeing and quality of life of people across our hemisphere,” said Dr. Felicia Marie Knaul, director of UMIA.
UMIA’s work supports and showcases the research of more than 230 faculty members across the University’s three campuses whose research or teaching includes Latin America, the Caribbean or immigrant populations from these regions. In its second year, the faculty seed grants program has received applications involving 134 faculty members.
A multidisciplinary committee comprised of four faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences, University Libraries, and the School of Communication reviewed 25 submissions from 67 faculty members for this year’s grant cycle. Among the criteria considered in their evaluation were innovativeness, interdisciplinarity, impact, the possibility of future sustainability, and the balance of grant awards among academic units and geographic territories.
Two interdisciplinary research topics/groups, which will be supported by the grants, are:
Storms and Migration: Stress, Mental Health, Service Needs, and Intervention Needs among Puerto Ricans Following Hurricane Maria

This group includes researchers from the Miller School of Medicine and School of Education and Human Development—Seth Schwartz, Dina Berman and Eric Brown, with graduate students Arthur Corrêa and Andrea Ruiz Sorrentini—plus collaborators in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Central Florida. The group will survey Puerto Rican parents of children under age 18 living in Florida and in San Juan to learn their experiences during and after Hurricane Maria, and how these experiences may have affected their mental health and family relationships.
The Reproduction of Race in Miami Research Project
This group includes researchers from the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education and Human Development, School of Architecture, and Miller School of Medicine—Donette Francis, Laura Kohn-Wood, Ta-Shana Taylor, Sophia George, Germane Barnes and Jafari S. Allen. The group will examine the material effects of racism in the areas of health and wellbeing, cultural belonging, and equal access to institutions.
In addition to the research groups, a discussion group and a manuscript workshop will also receive support.
Discussion Group: Caves, Culture, and Sunken Ships: Underwater Archaeology of the Bahamas
Reserchers from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science—Kenny Broad, Fritz Hanselmann, Will Pestle, and Meryl Shriver-Rice—will collaborate with the National Museum of the Bahamas in underwater archaeology and paleontology.
Manuscript Workshop: Disobedient Markets: Street Vendors, Enforcement, and State Intervention in Collective Action 
With research from Bolivia and Brazil, this project by Calla Hummel, of the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences, answers why informal workers organize, and why governments pay informal workers to organize even when they routinely violate the law.
Seven faculty members also received grants to initiate or continue individual research projects. These are:
Understanding the Role of African Dust on Climate and Precipitation in the Caribbean
To gain a better understanding of the impact of African dust on storms, clouds, climate, and precipitation, Cassandra J. Gaston, of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the Rosenstiel School, will collaborate with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology in Barbados, and the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, to characterize the ice nucleating ability of African dust that is transported to the Caribbean.
Bioarchaeological Foundations: Identifying Collections with Skeletal and Mortuary Remains from 18th- and 19th-Century Haiti
For this project, Pamela Geller, in the Department of Anthropology at the College of Arts and Sciences, will investigate how locals’ memories about the monumental structures of the northern Haitian community of Milot signaled a cohesive national identity and countered official histories and nationalist agendas.
Carried Back: Black Kidnapping and State Formation in the Age of Atlantic Emancipation
For this project, Scott Heerman, of the Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences, focuses on a series of kidnapping cases spanning the first half of the 19th century that brought freed slaves out of the British Caribbean and to the U.S. South, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Through the cases, Heerman gives an inter-imperial history of slavery, forced migration, and state formation.
Inhabiting the Postcolony: Personhood, House and Configuration of Houses in Brazil and Haiti
By foregrounding the house and housing configurations as objects of ethnographic analysis, Louis Herns Marcelin, of the Department of Anthropology, Department of International Studies, and Department of Public Health Sciences, seeks to illuminate individual and collective experiences as they articulate with economic and political institutions as well as political projects/dynamics in the making in Haiti and Brazil.
An Afro-Brazilian Atlantic: Slavery and Anglo-American Abolitionism in 19th-Century Brazil

For this project, which Isadora Mota, of the Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences, calls “a black geopolitical imagination,” Mota will analyze the place of Brazil in the history of 19th century international abolitionism.
Breaking with Tradition: Classical Music in Cuba during the Cold War

For this project, Marysol Quevedo, of the Department of Musicology at the Frost School of Music, examines musical compositions, writings on music, and music criticism by and about classical music composers in Cuba between 1940 and 1989.
Evolution and Conservation of Royal Palms (Roystonea) in Cuba and the Caribbean
This proposal by Barbara Whitlock, of the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, involves establishment of collaborations with Cuban botanists for a new project on the evolution and conservation of palms in the genus Roystonea, which are ideal subjects for understanding the diversification of trees in the Caribbean.
The mission of the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas is to create and share knowledge bridging the Americas by strengthening the myriad areas of the University of Miami undertaking research pertaining to the hemisphere.