Presenting the Recipients of the 2019 Howard R. Swearer Engaged Faculty Awards

April 15, 2019

The Howard R. Swearer Engaged Faculty Awards recognize and celebrate excellence in community-engaged scholarship by Brown University faculty. The inaugural award recipients in 2018-19 demonstrate the richness and rigor of teaching and research conducted in collaboration with local and global partners.

Dr. Keisha-Khan Y. Perry has engaged in collaborative research for two decades with the communities in the Gamboa de Baixo neighborhood in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. As an engaged scholar she queries the interrelationship between scholarship, pedagogy, and political engagement, in often field-changing ways. In one of her current research projects, Anthropology for Liberation: Research, Writing and Teaching for Social Justice, she discusses co-theorization and collaborative writing with her community partners. The selection committee highlighted this multifaceted nature of Dr. Perry’s work, particularly the multiple formats of her co-authored and collaborative publishing projects from scholarly articles to public reports to graphic novels. Assessing the impact of Dr. Perry’s individual and co-authored scholarly contributions, Dr. Lundy Braun writes, “It is, quite simply, di cult for educated researchers, in the US and elsewhere in the world, to imagine the equivalence, if not superiority of community activists’ knowledge. And, yet, anything less than sharing expertise fails communities. Black Women Against the Land Grab and the co-authored essays Professor Perry has written are testaments to rich possibilities of co-production of knowledge (when done well)--- and to the key importance of her truly remarkable sustained commitment to the Gamboa de Baixo Neighborhood Association.” At Brown, Professor Perry teaches courses on academic thought and social movements, such as “Race, Rights and Rebellion,” “Race, Gender, and Urban Politics,” and “Activist Scholarship: Research for Social Change.” As she writes, her coursework allows students to think through, “how social movements are important political classrooms for activists as well as for scholars.” 

Dr. Amy Remensnyder is an imaginative, passionate, and inspiring teacher of both Brown students and incarcerated students through her course, “Locked Up: A Global History of Prison and Captivity.” Writing in support of Remensnyder, Dr. Susan Smulyan lauds her innovative pedagogical approach, “The “inside out” nature of the course benefits both sets of students and makes an impressive case that Brown students and incarcerated students can undertake the same work and gain much from an inspired teacher and each other.” Remensnyder supports student leadership beyond the classroom, as evidenced by the creation of campus and community initiatives by her former students, most notably Petey Greene and RailRoad. Aidea Downie ‘18 writes, “I believe taking this class helped me to understand the inequalities of my community and how social and economic disparities such as inadequate education, poverty, and chronic unemployment encourage the criminality of marginalized groups of people... Taking Amy’s class and being inspired by her passion de nitely changed the course of my life and many other students.” Remensnyder also organizes colleagues to expand engagement and educational opportunity, as the founder and director of the Brown History Education Prison Project (BHEPP) and a member of President Paxson’s Brown Prison Education Committee.