The MIT Press announces Grant Program for Diverse Voices recipients for 2024

From a scholarly monograph on Haitian language to a feminist history of social media photography, grant recipients bring new perspectives to the world through the MIT Press.

Launched in 2021, the Grant Program for Diverse Voices from the MIT Press provides direct support for new work by authors who bring excluded or chronically underrepresented perspectives to the fields in which the press publishes, which include the sciences, arts, and humanities.

Recipients are selected after submitting a book proposal and completing a successful peer review. Grants can support a variety of needs, including research travel, copyright permission fees, parental/family care, developmental editing, and other costs associated with the research and writing process.

For 2024, the press will support five projects, including "Our Own Language: The Power of Krey˛l and Other Native Languages for Liberation and Justice in Haiti and Beyond," by MIT of linguistics Michel DeGraff. The book will provide a much-needed reassessment of what learning might look like in Krey˛l-based, as opposed to French-language, classrooms in Haiti.

Additionally, Kimberly Juanita Brown has been selected for "Black Elegies," which will be the second book in the "On Seeing" series, which is published in simultaneous print and expanded digital formats. Brown says, "I am thrilled to be a recipient of the Grant Program for Diverse Voices. This award is an investment in the work that we do; work that responds to sites of inquiry that deserve illumination."

"The recipients of this year’s grant program have produced exceptional proposals that surface new ideas, voices, and perspectives within their respective fields," says Amy Brand, director and publisher, the MIT Press. "We are proud to lend our support and look forward to publishing these works in the near future."

Recipients for 2024 include:

"Black Elegies," by Kimberly Juanita Brown

"Black Elegies" explores the art of mourning in contemporary cultural productions. Structured around the sensorial, the book moves through sight, sound, and touch in order to complicate what Okwui Enwezor calls the "national emergency of black grief." Using fiction, photography, music, film, and poetry, "Black Elegies" delves into explorations of mourning that take into account the multiple losses sustained by black subjects, from forced migration and enslavement to bodily violations, imprisonment, and death. "Black Elegies" is in the " On Seeing " series and will be published in collaboration with Brown University Digital Publications.

Kimberly Juanita Brown is the inaugural director of the Institute for Black Intellectual and Cultural Life at Dartmouth College, where she is also an associate professor of English and creative writing. She is the author of "The Repeating Body: Slavery’s Visual Resonance in the Contemporary" and " Mortevivum."

"Our Own Language: The Power of Krey˛l and Other Native Languages for Liberation and Justice in Haiti and Beyond," by Michel DeGraff

Krey˛l is the only language spoken by all’Haitians in Haiti. Yet, most schoolchildren in Haiti are still being taught with manuals written in a language they do not speak - French. DeGraff challenges and corrects the assumptions and errors in the linguistics discipline that regard Creole languages as inferior, and puts forth what learning might look like in Krey˛l-based classrooms in Haiti. Published in a dual-language edition,"Our Own Language" will use Haiti and Krey˛l as a case study of linguistic and educational justice for human rights, liberation, sovereignty, and nation building.

Michel DeGraff is an MIT of linguistics, co-founder and co-director of the MIT-Haiti Initiative, founding member of Akademi Krey˛l Ayisyen, and in 2022 was named a fellow of the Linguistic Society of America.

"Glitchy Vision: A Feminist History of the Social Photo," by Amanda K. Greene

"Glitchy Vision" examines how new photographic social media cultures can change human bodies through the glitches they introduce into quotidian habits of feeling and seeing. Focusing on glitchiness provides new, needed vantages on the familiar by troubling the typical trajectories of bodies and technologies. Greene’s research operates at the nexus of visual culture, digital studies, and the health humanities, attending especially to the relationship between new media and chronic pain and vulnerability. Shining a light on an underserved area of analysis, her scholarship focuses on how illness, pain, and disability are encountered and "read" in everyday life.

Amanda Greene is a researcher at the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine at the University of Michigan.

"Data by Design: A Counterhistory of Data Visualization, 1789-1900," by Silas Munro, et al.

"Data by Design: A Counterhistory of Data Visualization, 1789-1900" excavates the hidden history of data visualization through evocative argument and bold visual detail. Developed by the project team of Lauren F. Klein with Tanvi Sharma, Jay Varner, Nicholas Yang, Dan Jutan, Jianing Fu, Anna Mola, Zhou Fang, Marguerite Adams, Shiyao Li, Yang Li, and Silas Munro, "Data by Design" is both an interactive website and a lavishly illustrated book expertly adapted for print by Munro. The project interweaves cultural-critical analyses of historical visualization examples, culled from archival research, with new visualizations.

Silas Munro is founder of the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color)-owned graphic design studio Polymode, based in Los Angeles and Raleigh, North Carolina. Munro is faculty co-chair for the Museum of Fine Arts Program in Graphic Design at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

"Attention is Discovery: The Life and Work of Henrietta Leavitt," by Anna Von Mertens

"Attention is Discovery" is a layered portrait of Henrietta Leavitt, the woman who laid the foundation for modern cosmology. Through her attentive study of the two-dimensional surface of thousands of glass plates, Leavitt revealed a way to calculate the distance to faraway stars and envision a previously inconceivable three-dimensional universe. In this compelling story of an underrecognized female scientist, Leavitt’s achievement, long subsumed under the headlining work of Edwin Hubble, receives its due spotlight.

Anna Von Mertens received her MFA from the California College of the Arts and her BA from Brown University.