Three Faculty Researchers Named 2021 Andrew W. Mellon/ACLS Fellows for Groundbreaking Humanities Research

April 29, 2021

Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) Modern Language Professors Sophie Maríñez and Ángeles Donoso Macaya, and Social Sciences Professor Marci Littlefield are among the 28 faculty from 24 two-year colleges across the country named as 2021 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) community college faculty fellows.

Including the three BMCC faculty named Mellon/ACLS fellows, CUNY fellows comprise 12 of the 28 national awardees. Each Mellon/ACLS fellow receives a $40,000 stipend for travel and activities related to their research projects between July 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022.

“Community colleges are invaluable sites for deep student engagement with the humanities, with over one-third of the nation’s undergraduates enrolled,” said ACLS President Joy Connolly. “With the generous support of the Mellon Foundation, we are pleased to announce the third cohort of Community College Faculty Fellows, who bring mission-driven pedagogy and critical humanistic research to diverse student bodies and communities across the country.”

Professor Littlefield will reconstruct the 18th-century narrative of enslaved people in the U.K.

BMCC Professor Marcie Littlefield
BMCC Professor Marcie Littlefield

Professor Marcie Littlefield’s book project, “Reconstructed Legacies: Black People, Freedom, and the United Kingdom,” challenges the national narrative of servitude in the United Kingdom.

“The transatlantic slave trade terrorized and dismantled the lives African people,” Professor Littlefield writes in her ACLS profile statement. “This reality is well documented in the British Caribbean and North America but ignored in the United Kingdom. In the eighteenth century, enslaved people experienced various forms of forced labor and are remembered as servants but not as enslaved people who were not free. This reality is critical to the national narrative of slavery and the persistence of racism in the world.”

Using archival ethnography and other sources, Professor Littlefield’s describes her project as questioning “the geography of freedom and unfreedom and the complexities of agency in the lives of enslaved Africans. This book project recovers the mutilated histories of enslaved people in the United Kingdom in the eighteenth century and reconciles the sordid history of slavery and agency in the diaspora.”

Professor Donoso Macaya will explore the use of photography and other visual platforms by feminist movements during Chilean political upheaval

BMCC Professor Ángeles Donoso Macaya
BMCC Professor Ángeles Donoso Macaya

Professor Ángeles Donoso Macaya’s book-length research project, “The Expanding Photographic Archive of Feminist Movements in Chile,” will explore the use of photography and other visual platforms by feminist and women-led movements during periods of political upheaval across the 20th century in Chile.

The interdisciplinary project connects archival documentary images such as photographs and film, with visual studies, feminist history, photography theory, art theory, feminist theory and more.

Goals of “The Expanding Photographic Archive” project are twofold, says Professor Donoso Macaya.

“First, with the book project I hope to further disseminate the textual and visual contributions of feminists movements in the Southern hemisphere within a U.S. academic context; second, I plan to develop a new course and to organize a student symposium at BMCC about Hemispheric Feminisms. In this way, I will work to ensure that students at all levels, as well as feminist activists and community organizers based in NYC, have access to the histories and experiences of Latin America feminisms.”

Because the fellowship allows for travel, “I will conduct archival research in Chile in the summer and winter of 2022—travel plans might change due to Covid—to organize a 2022 Student Symposium on Hemispheric Feminisms,” Professor Donoso Macaya says.

Professor Maríñez will create a decolonizing framework for considering the Afro-diasporic experience in Haiti and the D.R.

BMCC Professor Sophie Maríñez
BMCC Professor Sophie Maríñez

Professor Sophie Maríñez’s project, “Spirals in the Caribbean: Representing Violence in Haiti and the Dominican Republic,” examines representations of violence in literature, political discourse and culture from Haiti and the Dominican Republic across three centuries.

Across many disciplines, she says, the project  “draws on perspectives, aesthetics and epistemologies from both sides of the island. In doing so, it responds to calls for deploying indigenous tools to interpret Afro-diasporic experiences; offering a homegrown, decolonial, island-centric framework through which to interpret reality across the entire island.”

The project will also examine the relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, “unraveling the complexity born of superimposed French, Spanish, British and U.S- geopolitical interests, and emphasizing not optimism, as recent scholarship has done, but precisely the contentious as a productive, realistic site for change,” Professor Maríñez says.

In addition, “The fellowship will allow me to take time off from teaching over the next three semesters starting this fall,” she says. “I plan to use this time to write my manuscript, conduct additional research in the Dominican Republic, and organize a symposium on Haiti and the Dominican Republic at BMCC in Fall 2022.”

Visit the ACLS website for more information on fellowship opportunities. Also, the BMCC Office of Sponsored Programs offers resources and support for proposal development and project management, and COS Pivot and GrantForward maintain a database of grants, fellowships and other funding information from public and private, domestic and international sources.


Related articles in BMCC News:

BMCC Professor Sharon Avni Receives Mellon/ACLS Fellowship

Mellon/ACLS Fellow Soniya Munshi Sheds Light on Institutional Responses to Domestic Violence Survivors






  • Professors Sophie Maríñez, Ángeles Donoso Macaya and Marci Littlefield among 28 faculty selected nationwide as 2021 Andrew W. Mellon/ACLS Fellows
  • Each fellow receives $40,000 stipend for travel and activities related to their research projects between July 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022
  • Their book and research projects are interdisciplinary, will result in course materials and student-led symposia, and will expand existing narratives of enslaved people in the U.K., feminist movements in Chile and the Afro-diasporic experience in Haiti and the D.R.

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