Research Associate-Fixed Term
Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)
February 16, 2025
Post date: February 23, 2023


Research Associate-Fixed Term


Job no: 846766
Work type: Faculty/Academic Staff
Major Administrative Unit / College: College Of Arts And Letters
Department: English 10004264
Sub Area: FAS- Fac./Acad Staff
Salary: Salary Commensurate with Experience
Location: East Lansing
Categories: Education/Training, Fixed Term Academic Staff, Full Time (90-100%), Non-Union

Position Summary

As part of the Mellon funded project, "Diaspora Solidarities Lab", the College of Arts & Letters announces a new postdoctoral or post-MFA fellowship in the Arts & Humanities. This is a search for an interdisciplinary scholar to fill a 12-month, full-year postdoctoral position (research associate) in the Department of English with the opportunity to begin a tenure-system assistant professorship in one of the departments within the College of Arts & Letters the following year. The goal of the Diaspora Solidarities Lab [co-directed by Yomaira Figueroa (MSU) and Jessica Marie Johnson (JHU)] is to foment work in Black and Ethnic Studies digital humanities, transdisciplinary studies, and community collaboration. The ideal candidate will pursue research and/or creative activities, teach a 0-1 course load, and engage in the intellectual life of the "Diaspora Solidarities Lab" and within the College of Arts & Letters. They will be supported by a network of mentors who help them embark on an academic career and chart their pathway to intellectual leadership by way of sharing knowledge, expanding opportunities, and mentorship and stewardship. The successful candidate may also participate in college-cohort programming organized by a Mentoring Team that includes presenting in an inter-departmental colloquium series and opportunities for faculty development.

To be eligible, applicants must have completed their PhD, MFA, or equivalent during or after the 2018-2019 academic year and prior to the start date. The one year fixed-term Research Associate position will begin on August 16, 2023. The appointment will be made to the applicant who shows promise for a tenure-track position in Michigan State University's College of Arts & Letters in the 2024-2025 academic year in accordance with MSU academic hiring process. Transitioning into a tenure-track faculty position at Michigan State University will require a series of structured, merit-based evaluations, which will include substantial peer input. MSU's academic hiring process will be followed in appointing the candidate that advances into the tenure-track.

Job Description:

As part of the Mellon-funded "Diaspora Solidarities Lab" project, the College of Arts & Letters announces a national search for a community-engaged scholar-activist postdoctoral fellow with the title of Research Associate with expertise in the area(s) of Black Feminist and Ethnic Studies Humanities broadly construed to include Digital Humanities, Literary Studies, Arts Practice, Cultural Studies, Racialized Gender and Sexuality Studies; Relational or Comparative Ethnic Studies (at the intersections of Black, Indigenous, Asian, and/or Pacific Island Studies), and decolonial studies.

Preference will be given to community-engaged scholars with a strong background in Black feminist and/or Ethnic Studies whose work seeks to advance community collaboration, social justice goals across LGBTQIA+, Black, Brown, Asian, Indigenous, and disability justice perspectives and their intersections; Candidates can have a variety of research backgrounds including: Black Studies, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, cultural or literary studies, digital humanities, and/or other transdisciplinary approaches to the humanities studies are especially welcome, as are socially engaged scholars and researchers with community collaborative or community outreach experience.

Through the life of the grant, the successful candidate will provide organizing and research support to the Diaspora Solidarities Lab and will collaborate with a transdisciplinary team of researchers on projects of transnational and hemispheric scope that prioritize community-based collaboration, ethical data collection and processing, and support projects for artists, organizers, and student researchers, including organizing the 2024 DSL Research Symposium at the Avery Research Center in Charleston, South Carolina. The research associate position carries a teaching load of 0-1 and responsibilities are allocated as 33% DSL grant related work, 17% teaching, and 50% research. If successfully appointed to a tenure-stream position in the second year, the candidate will receive a course release as they support the closing of the grant in fall 2024.

About the Diaspora Solidarities Lab

The Diaspora Solidarities Lab (DSL) is a multi-institutional Black feminist partnership that supports solidarity work in Black and Ethnic Studies conducted by undergraduates, graduate students, faculty members, and community partners who are committed to transformative justice and accountable to communities beyond the Western academy. We sponsor both traditional analog and digital experimental scholarship to build knowledge communities across institutions and geographies, training participants in the practices and principles of radical media, ethics of Black feminist praxis, and decolonial and antiracist principles. We emphasize the literacies of the born-digital and in-person ethical collaboration. The DSL is a community and a co-creating space that is anti-hierarchical, promoting equitable knowledge exchange, considerate mentorship, and an ethos of mutual learning.

The DSL comprises two research groupings that we characterize as archipelagos: The Open Boat Lab (MSU, dir. Dr. Yomaira Figueroa-Vásquez) and the Community Knowledge Lab (JHU, dir. Dr. Jessica Marie Johnson). The Open Boat Lab develops community organizing, storytelling, and curatorial skills. The Open Boat Lab supports creation of digital archives, museum and gallery exhibits, and community workshops. OBL builds ethical digital archives informed by community centers, public art and organizing practices, and offers online and in-person workshops that help to transform how we approach knowledge production, storytelling, documentation, and archives. The Community Knowledge Lab develops digital, radical media, and community research skills.

Within and across the DSL archipelago, microlabs and incubators engage computational humanities, digital archives, documentary editing, and public humanities and art projects. In these microlabs, DSL members are at work on a range of research, analog as well as digital. The analog artifacts range from publications, conference presentations, murals, museum exhibitions, white papers, and course syllabi. The digital artifacts range from digital archives, documentary editions, online art exhibits, virtual reality sculptures, and podcasts.

Loose, fluid, and responsive, the DSL responds to the exigencies of the current moment. Because our aim is to develop and share models for new intellectual practices and knowledge communities, not products, the islands within the DSL demonstrate this same fluidity and commitment to participatory praxis and collaboration. Financial support for the DSL is provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Michigan State University, and Johns Hopkins University.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, disability or protected veteran status.

Required Degree

Doctorate -Doctorate or MFA

Minimum Requirements

• A relevant terminal graduate degree, such as: Ph.D. or MFA in the Humanities or a related field.

Required Application Materials

Qualified applicants should submit

1. A letter expressing interest in the position and describing qualifications and experience
2. A current curriculum vitae
3. A writing sample taken from current or past research, or that engages the public in knowledge sharing
4. A 1-page summary of your philosophy of diversity, equity, and inclusion as it pertains to intellectual leadership in the areas of teaching/curriculum development, research/creative activities, service, outreach, advising, and/or administration. The statement should also include an explanation of related past or planned activities/endeavors as well as how the candidate will advance our goals of inclusive excellence. For more about MSU's DEI efforts, see For more information about writing diversity statements, see
5. The names of three references and their contact information.

Please note: three letters of reference will be requested at the time candidates advance to the second round of interviews and will be asked only of those candidates.

Together-we-will Statement
The university is requiring all MSU students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with limited exceptions. Learn more at:

Special Instructions

Review of applications will begin March 17, 2023 and will continue until the position is filled. Applications must be submitted electronically to the Michigan State University Human Resources website Posting number 846766.

For more information, contact Yomaira Figueroa, Chair of the Search Committee at

Persons with disabilities have the right to request and receive reasonable accommodation.

Review of Applications Begins On



Department Statement

The College of Arts & Letters recognizes that only an academic and organizational culture, which actively seeks out and strengthens diverse voices and perspectives among its members, results in true excellence. We are an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. The College of Arts & Letters is particularly interested in candidates of all backgrounds who are committed to the principle that intellectual leadership is achieved through open access and pro-active inclusion.

MSU Statement

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

Advertised: Feb 16, 2023 Eastern Standard Time
Applications close: Feb 16, 2025 Eastern Standard Time

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Application Instructions 
Review Begins: 
March 17, 2023

Job, fellowship, and CFP listings are services that are offered by the American Studies Association to support its members in exploring professional opportunities in American studies. Any questions should be directed to the program, department, or center that has posted the opportunity.