In its response to the report of the University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice, the University committed itself to “a major research and teaching initiative on slavery and justice” and indicated that a “committee of experts will be appointed to explore how best to carry out such an initiative, the shape, cost, and scope of which is to Corporation, and the relevant standing committees of the faculty. Whether this results in a new center or the significant enlargement of an existing and coordinated set of programs should be determined through this process.” The focus is to be on the history of slavery and its legacy.
In order to implement this aspect of the University's plan, I have appointed a committee with the following charge:
- To familiarize itself with the resources already available on campus to support this initiative, including (but not limited to) those to be found in the John Carter Brown Library, the John Hay Library, the Department of Africana Studies, the John Nicholas Brown Center for the Study of American Civilization, the Department of History, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. One aim of this effort should be to bring these varied and rich resources into clearer view so as to more readily foster research and teaching, and, with the use of additional resources, to make Brown a nationally prominent center for the study of the history of slavery and its legacy.
- To familiarize itself with relevant centers and institutes at peer institutions in the United States and abroad, to see what we might learn from best practices elsewhere and to identify the ways in which Brown might most readily make a distinctive contribution to scholarship and education in this area.
- To develop recommendations for scholarly activities and programs that will expand and enrich Brown's curricular and co-curricular offerings and research activities related to this topic. These might (but need not necessarily) include seed funds for collaborative research projects, support for undergraduate research projects, funds to assist faculty and graduate students with travel to archives, support for scholarly conferences, and related activities.
Once the committee has developed its recommendations (ideally by the end of first semester, 2007-8), a panel of external scholars will be convened by the Provost to meet with the committee, to review its recommendations, and to offer its own views to the President and Provost of the proposed initiative. Following that visit, the President and Provost will formulate their recommendations. Any recommendations that require Faculty approval will be sent to the relevant Faculty committees for their consideration.