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The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Penn a $5 million grant to professor Tulia Falleti for her project, “Dispossessions in the Americas: The Extraction of Bodies, Land, and Heritage from La Conquista to the Present."

Credit: Eliud Vargas

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Penn a $5 million grant to support a project directed by professor of Political Science and the Director of the Latin American and Latinx Studies Program Tulia Falleti. 

The project, “Dispossessions in the Americas: The Extraction of Bodies, Land, and Heritage from La Conquista to the Present,” is an interdisciplinary project designed to document dispossessions of land, embodiments, and cultural values in the Americas from 1492 to today. The project will also outline how restoring land, embodiments, and cultural values can facilitate restorative justice, Penn Arts & Sciences News reported.

The grant will allow Falleti and her collaborators to create a multilingual website, host conferences, develop arts and performance events, help design cultural heritage museums in Mexico and Belize, and publish journal articles and an art catalog, Arts & Sciences News reported.

"'Dispossessions in the Americas' is not only about documenting what was lost, but also about decolonizing the way we research and working with communities to propose measures for healing," Falleti told Arts & Sciences News.

The project will collaborate with over 40 institutions and community groups across the Americas, including local groups such as the Barnes Foundation and the African American Museum in Philadelphia.

The grant is part of the Mellon Foundation’s Just Futures Initiative, which awards grants of up to $5 million to multidisciplinary university-based teams across the United States who are committed to racial justice and social equality. The foundation invited scholars from a select group of universities to propose ambitious humanities projects that would address racial inequality in innovative ways.

“Dispossessions in the Americas” is 1 of 16 selected teams from 165 proposals. 

In October, the Mellon Foundation awarded a $4 million grant to the Monument Lab, an art history studio founded by Penn Professors, to support art and justice initiatives.

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