Global Research Initiative (GRI)
The Office of the Provost supports Global Research Initiative (GRI) fellows for short- and long-term research during the academic semesters at the NYU Washington, DC center. Such fellows receive shared office spaces with iMacs providing Windows and Mac environments, printing access, and NYURoam wireless service. Fellows are invited to participate in the many public events and Zoom webinars at the center and are encouraged to present research as they see fit.
Additionally, NYU Washington, DC hosts the summer dissertation writing workshop.
GRI Fellows (Fall 2021)
Howard Besser (He/Him/His), Professor, Department of Cinema Studies, Tisch School of the Arts
Professor Howard Besser is working on two research projects (History of the birth of modern theoretical Cinema Studies; Historic relationship between Cinema Studies and Film Archives) that rely heavily on oral histories with Professor Bertrand Augst and consultation with his personal archives (both residing in suburban D.C.). The research is timed to meet the 50th anniversary of both UC Berkeley's first cinema studies class and first official home of the Pacific Film Archive (2022), and the 50th anniversary of the Centre Americaine d'Etude du Cinema (2023). Professor Augst played a key role in all of these, and no one has previously interviewed him or gone through his personal archives. In addition, Professor Besser plans to consult archival documents of the National Endowment for the Arts, which contributed funds to some of these activities.
Patrick J. Egan (Any/All), Associate Professor of Politics & Public Policy, Department of Politics, Faculty of Arts & Science
Professor Egan will be working on their book manuscript QUEER PROGRESS, QUEER LIVES, QUEER POLITICS - a sweeping, in-depth examination of the lived existence and political values of LGBTQ Americans. It takes advantage of the fact that more is known about the U.S. LGBTQ population than at any time in history because national surveys have finally begun asking respondents about their sexual orientation and gender identity, yielding representative samples of these populations for the first time. The book is intended for both academic and non-specialist audiences and Professor Egan will be in D.C. so that they can connect with advocates at D.C.-based LGBTQ NGOs as well as relevant policymakers to get feedback on the work.
Elisa Corona Aguilar (She/Her/Hers), PhD Candidate, Department of Music, Graduate School of Arts & Science
As part of Elisa Corona Aguilar’s PhD, she is writing about Charles Mingus and his stay in Cuernavaca, Mexico, right before his death in 1979. His archive is in the Library of Congress and she needs to do research on the boxes that cannot be accessed online. She is hoping that the Library of Congress will reopen by the fall.
Robert Geilfuss (He/Him/His), PhD Candidate, Institute of Fine Arts, Graduate School of Arts & Science
Robert Geilfuss’s dissertation project — with the working title “The Washington Color School, Blackness, and the Politics of Art in Washington, D.C., 1950-1980” — will present a revisionist history of the Washington Color School of abstract painting, focusing on the movement’s early debts to Black culture and its later transformation through the artwork of two Black painters in the late 1960s and 1970s, Alma Thomas and Sam Gilliam. His research is particularly interested in the specifics of placement, i.e., where artists lived, worked, and exhibited; spending a semester in Washington would provide an invaluable opportunity to develop a deeper personal understanding of these sites. Living in Washington, D.C. for a semester would have (at least) three additional advantages for his research. Alma Thomas, one of the artists he is focusing on, will be the subject of a retrospective exhibition which will be at the Phillips Collection in Washington during the Fall 2021 semester. Additionally, the bulk of the archival material which he will need to examine to finish his dissertation, but which has been inaccessible during the pandemic, is at the Archives of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. Washington is also home to the greatest collection of artworks related to the Washington Color School, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Jan Zilinsky (He/Him/His), PhD Candidate, Department of Politics, Graduate School of Arts & Science
The overarching aim of Jan Zilinsky’s research is to understand citizens' concerns about public policy. In his dissertation, he analyzes citizens' public opinion using a variety of sources, including social media data and economic trends. To that end, he studies people's perceptions of the state of the economy, applying innovative machine learning methods. (While social scientists in a number of fields posit that economic growth has positive downstream effects on citizens’ well-being, Zilinsky’s work tests whether the rising tide truly lifts all boats.) In D.C., he hopes to continue building this work and presenting it both at NYU and to local researchers.