Call for Proposals

New American Studies Collaboratory on Sustainability and Social Justice

Program in American Studies
Sustainability at Princeton logo

The Effron Center for the Study of America Col(LAB) is a series of research affinity groups aimed to build bridges and create opportunities for research scholars and practitioners from across campus to explore major issues in America today. In partnership with the Office of Sustainability’s Campus as Lab program, we are seeking proposals for a semester-long new Col(LAB) module on the topic of Sustainability and Social Justice.

Suggested Topics of Focus

Is it possible to reframe the way people think about environmental issues and solutions? In what ways can the humanities expand current conversations about sustainability, so often seemingly addressed from an exclusively science perspective?

The links between sustainability and social justice are growing ever clearer: environmental catastrophes disproportionately affect poor people in undeveloped regions; deforestation and desertification make access to resources even more difficult for those already in need at the same time as they create barriers to gender equality; and conflict over quickly disappearing resources is an undeniable cause of violence and war.

Lines of inquiry may involve issues of poverty (people in historically poor or disenfranchised areas); race (the complicated connections between humans and ecosystems; the Black Lives Matter movement; the U.S. prison industrial complex; indigenous communities); human vs animal rights; gender (women's role in environmental management and development), just to name a few.

If these issues are of interest to you and you wish to organize a Col(LAB) module focused on this topic, you are encouraged to submit a proposal. We will be happy to work with you on putting together a proposal.

The Col(LAB) aims to be an opening on the Princeton campus where theory and practice help us attend to the messy entanglements of our social world and our individual lives. We will make room for the unexpected and for the gifts of “productive unmooring” so vital to innovative thinking. Participants — col(LAB)orators — need not know answers in advance but are willing to work together to devise ways of knowing. The goal is to discover or make new archives, to share rather than present work across divergent fields of knowledge.


Please send proposals to Director Aisha Beliso-De Jesús.

Priority will be given to proposals that are interdisciplinary in conception and spirit; highlight collaboration across fields; emphasize innovations in research and pedagogical methods; and will contribute to cultivating a sustainability ethos on campus.

Proposals should include:

  • a statement of focus; description of Col(LAB) activities; budget; names and contacts of 2 to 3 principal investigators in charge of coordination — at least one of whom should be faculty;
  • plans for vertical integration (engaging faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students);
  • a theory-practice component (this could involve campus life and operations and/or the public).