Our mission is to challenge systemic racism and to advance racial equality through research, education, and community empowerment.

Led by Notre Dame's College of Arts and Letters with additional support from the Office of the Provost, the Initiative on Race and Resilience serves as the site at which a community of scholars, teachers, students, artists, and community organizers gathers to develop and advance their respective projects, exchange ideas, and celebrate the expressive cultures of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities.

Global in scope and comparative and interdisciplinary in critical approach, the Initiative on Race and Resilience promotes multiracial collaboration, qualitative and quantitative methodologies, and inclusive pedagogy.

Equally as important, the Initiative embraces the arts as a means to examine race more substantively and thus to attend to the forms of oppression it produces as well as the identities and forms or resistance it enables.

Read more about the history and purpose of this new Initiative in a letter from our director, Professor Mark Sanders.

Areas of Focus

The Initiative on Race organizes its work around three foci:

Rotating Themes

In order to maintain the Initiative’s commitment to a global perspective on race while focusing on specific topics, the Initiative employs a rotating themes model, one that changes topics every two or three years. For example, a theme could be race and the environment. The Initiative will make the theme a feature in all three foci. In terms of research, the Initiative will host at least one visiting scholar focused on the theme. That scholar would pursue their research while leading a working group of Notre Dame students and faculty interested in the topic. Also, the scholar would present their work to the larger Notre Dame community. 

In terms of education, the Initiative will feature courses specific to the theme, such as a course on the economic impact of global warming on communities of color both in the US and across the globe, a course on industrial waste and communities of color, or a course specifically on water and Flint, Michigan. Also, the Initiative would offer more general programming to the Notre Dame/Michiana community such as documentary films and reading/discussion groups.

In terms of community outreach, the Initiative will host, through its practitioner-in-residence program, a community organizer whose work addresses environmental racism. The Initiative would also work with local community groups to support their efforts.

The Initiative is committed to reflecting the arts in all three foci. Therefore, our artist-in-residence would present their own artistic response to the theme, while working with the visiting scholar, instructors for the featured courses, and the practitioner-in-residence to best feature the arts in all three areas.