ATLANTA — Georgia State University’s Georgia Policy Labs (GPL) has named historian Ras Michael Brown the winner of its second Engaged Research Competition.
Brown, an associate professor on the tenure track in the Department of History, will receive an award of almost $35,000 to support a research-practice partnership with the Gullah Museum, a nonprofit organization based in Georgetown, S.C., dedicated to the preservation and teaching of Gullah Geechee culture and history. Their work together will focus on developing an ongoing partnership to support the needs of the museum and a research agenda that advances understanding of the Gullah Geechee community and adds vital resources to the museum.
Brown, along with doctoral student Debra Dozier-Coulter — who grew up in Georgetown — will work with the Gullah Museum to produce ongoing research that benefits the community and extends the legacies of the museum’s founders, Vermelle “Bunny” Smith Rodrigues and her husband, Andrew Rodrigues. Their work will show how university-based research can be used to serve the needs of the communities it represents.
“For more than a century, scholars from universities have too often exploited Gullah Geechee people to produce studies that either misrepresented or failed to serve the priorities of Gullah Geechee communities in expressing and projecting their history and culture,” Brown wrote in his project description. “Good-faith academics and their institutions have been attempting to rectify this injustice in recent years. It remains imperative to develop new ways for university-based scholars to respond to the goals of community-focused and public-facing organizations.”
The Engaged Research Competition, funded by the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, the Office of the Provost and the Dan E. Sweat Endowment, promotes partnership-based research by Georgia State’s faculty and researchers by removing the structural barriers that can prevent them from conducting partner-driven research. These barriers may include lengthier time to publication, data-sharing complications and time needed to build trust with a partner.
Professor Janice Fournillier of the College of Education & Human Development, Associate Professor of Economics Jonathan Smith and Tyler Rogers, Associate Director of GPL, judged this year’s competition. It is the second of four Engaged Research Competitions that will be administered by GPL, a research unit in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.