MIT Press Grant Program for Diverse Voices Recipients

Recipients of the MIT Press Grant Program for Diverse Voices

The MIT Press Grant Program for Diverse Voices supports new work by authors who bring excluded and chronically underrepresented perspectives to the fields in which the Press publishes across the sciences, arts, and humanities.

The book titles listed below are subject to change.

2022 - 2023

This portrait of Kimberly Juanita Brown is reflectedin a mirror with a yellow frame with orange rays radiating outward from the mirror.

Mortevivum: Photography and the Politics of the Visual by Kimberly Juanita Brown

Mortevivum: Photography and the Politics of the Visual is positioned at the center of the unsettling history of photography. Examining how images can situate the world of those who belong in stark contrast to those who do not, Brown reveals the connection between photography and a global history of antiblackness. She focuses on images of the dead and dying to demonstrate how Black subjects are presented as “evidence” while their lives and histories register outside their agency. With an eye to the global repercussions grounded through case studies on Haiti, Rwanda, South Africa, and the United States, Brown probes the cultural legacy of empire as much as the power of the photographic image. Mortevivum brings together methods of Black studies, photography studies, and Black feminism to show us how to see and to resist the power dynamics that cheapen Black humanity. Mortevivum is the inaugural title in the On Seeing series and will be published in collaboration with Brown Digital Publications.

Kimberly Juanita Brown’s research engages the visual as a way to negotiate the parameters of race, gender, and belonging. Her first book, The Repeating Body: Slavery’s Visual Resonance in the Contemporary was published by Duke University Press in 2015. She is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College.

Aymar Jean “AJ” Christian stares straight into the camera with a neutral expression. He is sitting on a brown chair against a red patterned wall.

Reparative Media: Cultivating Stories and Platforms to Heal Our Culture by Aymar Jean “AJ” Christian

Detailing the problematic institutional structures that hinder indie storytelling, Reparative Media argues we can create a healing cultural system by developing media, technology, and research in communities, informed by intersectionality. It is based on five years of deep, productive, and complex work creating an independent alternative to networked media platforms like Netflix: a Chicago-based channel called OTV | Open Television developed in solidarity with Black and Brown queer, trans, and women-identified artists—professional cultural healers. Christian starts with this question: can producing media and developing platforms to support people who have been harmed by multiple intersecting systems—racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, nationalism, ethnocentrism, classism, religious discrimination, and more—heal those systems?

Aymar Jean "AJ" Christian is Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Director of the Media and Data Equity Lab (MADE) at Northwestern University. His research focuses on the political economy of legacy and new media, cultural studies, and community-based research.  He published his first book, Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television, with New York University Press in 2018. His scholarship has been published in numerous academic journals, including the International Journal of Communication, Television & New Media, Social Media & Society, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, among other journals and edited collections.

Jessica Esquivel is photographed outside in front of a multicolored brick wall. Green and purple foliage is in the background. She is smiling widely and has her hands on her hips.

Our Queer Universe: Deconstructing Definitions, Producing Particle Beams, and Examining Entangled Identities by Jessica Esquivel 

Our Queer Universe is the story of the making of a scientist—a Black, Latinx, queer woman in physics—and the science that she loved, lost, and is learning to love again. The book focuses on the physics and design of a particle beam and the scientist’s role in particle physics at Fermilab. Esquivel uses the steps it takes to create an immense particle beam as a metaphor for the barriers she’s had to overcome along her personal journey.

Jessica Esquivel is a physicist and science communicator, working at the Muon g-2 particle physics experiment at Fermilab. She is an advocate for gender and racial equity in science and a lead organizer of #BlackInPhysics, a campaign to recognize and amplify the work of Black physicists worldwide. She was also selected as an AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador in 2019.

Álvaro Huerta is in a relaxed, standing pose. His hands are in the pockets of his brown suit and he has a neutral facial expression. In the background is a driveway, a lawn mower, and a man raking leaves.

Jardineros/Gardeners: Cultivating Los Angeles’ Front Lawn with Brown Hands, Migrant Networks, and Technology by Álvaro Huerta   

This book looks at how informal labor niches—specifically Mexican immigrant gardeners—represent an important part of domestic households and local communities in the United States. Drawing on two decades of research, Álvaro Huerta documents how these workers organize and govern themselves in creative and complex ways, building informal economic models and markets to both survive and thrive. While other service-labor sectors have received more scholarly attention, Huerta sheds needed light on contract gardening and pulls apart the complex prejudices and challenges that intelligent and hard-working immigrant gardeners face.

Álvaro Huerta is a Religion and Public Life Organizing Fellow at the Harvard Divinity School. Dr. Huerta is also an Associate Professor in Urban & Region Planning and Ethnic & Women’s Studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. As an interdisciplinary scholar, he teaches and conducts research on the intersecting domains of urban planning, Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies, immigration, social networks, social movements, religion, and informal economy. He’s the author of the award-winning book Defending Latina/o Immigrant Communities: The Xenophobic Era of Trump and Beyond (Rowman & Littlefield). 

Leila McNeill rests against a lime-green brick wall. She is wearing a jean jacket and white t-shirt and is smiling widely. Her long brown hair is blowing in the breeze.

A Candle in the Cosmos: Henrietta Swan Leavitt and the Extraordinary Legacy of Her Luminous Universe by Leila McNeill

A Candle in the Cosmos takes readers on a journey through the universe illuminated by the light of Henrietta Swan Leavitt’s work and contributions to the field. The book is divided into two parts: the first part describes the state of astronomy and cosmology as young Henrietta was coming of age, and the second part details the significance and scope of her impact on the field. Starting at a small desk in a cramped corner in the Observatory computer room, we will experience the universe as Leavitt did, through a handheld magnifying lens pointed down at a square glass plate. But even with a limited understanding of the universe in the late nineteenth century, observational astronomy was making great strides in its understanding of astronomical phenomena. We’ll pass through the telescope glass and cross the border of the Milky Way to Andromeda and beyond. 

Leila McNeill is a writer, editor, and historian of women and gender in science whose work has appeared in Smithsonian Magazine, BBC Future, and the Atlantic, among others, and she is the co-author of Forces of Nature: The Women Who Changed Science.

Omari Souza sits confidently with his elbows on his knees and his hands clasped. He is wearing a gray suit and is photographed sitting in front of a bookshelf. Terresa Moss is sitting on a sunny yellow couch with patterned pillows. She smiles widely. She is wearing a green blazer and beautiful cornflower blue tassle earrings.

An Anthology of Blackness: The State of Black Design edited by Terresa Moses and Omari Souza  

An Anthology of Blackness examines the intersection of Black identity and design practice. With clearsighted conviction, the editors and contributors unearth why the design field has consistently failed to attract Black professionals; how Eurocentric hegemony impacts Black designers; and how to create an anti-racist and pro-Black design industry. Essays examine such topics as pro-Black design for inclusivity, Black representation, the challenge of Black voter suppression, anti-racist pedagogical approaches, and radical self-care. These contributions unite lived experience, autoethnographic methods, applied research, and conventional scholarship to reveal how to build a design community that supports Black designers. Many of the contributing authors bring an intersectional lens on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and ability to their investigations. Each section of the book functions as a continuation of community concerns and intellectual inquiry on the state of the design industry and organizations, design pedagogy, and design activism. Ultimately, this intrepid collection reveals the power of resistance, community, and solidarity—and hope for a collective liberatory future.

Terresa Moses is the Creative Director of Blackbird Revolt, Director of Design Justice, and Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, University of Minnesota. A community-engaged scholar, she created Project Naptural and co-created Racism Untaught. She is a PhD candidate in Social Justice Education at the University of Toronto; a core team member of African American Graphic Designers; and a collaborator with the Black Liberation Lab. 

Omari Souza is an Assistant Professor of Communication Design at the University of North Texas, the organizer of the State of Black Design Conference, and a Design Researcher at Capital One. Formerly, he worked at VIBE magazine, CBS Radio, and Case Western Reserve University.

Allissa Richardson has a big smile. She is wearing a bright red top with ruffled sleeves. The background is blurred.

Canceled: How Smartphones and Social Media Democratized Public Shaming by Allissa Richardson  

What is cancel culture, why did it emerge, and how does it work? This book argues that the powerful have always had the means to cancel and have used it to shun, shame, and silence women and minoritized people in particular. Since the 2000s, conditions have emerged to allow cancellation to travel in the other direction. The dynamics of cancel culture are far more complex than a simple turning of the tables, though. This book uses Blackness as a lens to examine the emergence of contemporary cancellation and to locate it within a longer tradition of Black, feminist, and queer resistance in the United States. This book interrogates what, if anything, society gains by allowing a once top-down practice of exclusion to run the other way—from the bottom up.

Allissa V. Richardson is an Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School. She researches how African Americans use mobile and social media to produce innovative forms of journalism—especially in times of crisis. Dr. Richardson is the author of Bearing Witness While Black: African Americans, Smartphones and the New Protest #Journalism (Oxford University Press).  The prize-winning book explores the lives of fifteen mobile journalist-activists who documented the Black Lives Matter movement, using only their smartphones and Twitter, from 2014 to 2018.

Ashley Lee Wong smiles into the camera. She is wearing a gray and white patterned sweater and is posed against a white wall.

Emergent Economies of Art and Technology: Temporalities and Aesthetics of Art and Practice by Ashley Lee Wong

Emergent Economies looks at the economies of art and technology through the practices of artists engaged within and beyond the art market and creative industries. The book aims to provide a view of economies as sociomaterial entanglements that are constantly enacted, where economies may also be considered as part of the artistic process itself. The intention is to present a diversified view of the economies of art and technology to open up to new possibilities and perspectives of what constitutes “art” and “the market.”

Ashley Lee Wong  is a curator and researcher based in Hong Kong. She is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of MetaObjects, a studio facilitating digital projects with artists and cultural institutions. She completed a PhD at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, and an MA at Goldsmiths University of London. She currently manages the Research Network for Philosophy and Technology and Technophany Journal, and lectures at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.