Announcing Graduate Research Assistant Positions for December 2022 Trip to Liberia 

Through the Inheritance Baltimore project, the Johns Hopkins University Program in Racism, Immigration and Citizenship has partnered with Orita’s Cross Freedom School to support and advance freedom education in Black Baltimore. Aligned with RIC’s commitment to exploring how racial hierarchies interact with migration flows to shape citizenship, national identity, and practices of democratic inclusion and social exclusion, recent Inheritance Baltimore sub-grantee and Maryland nonprofit Burning Barriers Building Bridges (B4 Youth Theatre) is hosting the 200 Years of Returns performance in Liberia, West Africa, in December 2022 in commemoration of the Liberian bicentennial.  

RIC seeks two graduate students to support the 200 Years of Returns project in Liberia this December. All trip expenses will be paid, and research assistants will receive an additional grant of $500. 

Goals: 

Students will understand the impact of multiple migrations on human diversity in Liberia and its diaspora, build research skills for collecting and making sense of embodied and performance-based information, and develop effective cross-cultural communication skills. Students will witness and document the dramaturgical process of the ensemble that is required to deliver an appropriate and relevant exposition of the 200 Years of Returns play for a Liberian audience while maintaining the meaning, symbols, and overarching historical narrative of the original work performed in the United States. 

Graduate research assistants will document the development, rehearsal, and performance processes of the 200 Years of Returns ensemble with the goal of co-authoring publications with some of the artists for relevant academic journals (may include performance studies, Africana studies, education, anthropology, history, and international relations).  

Qualifications:

Ideal candidates will have interests in Pan-Africanism, Black cultural production, and precolonial West Africa in the late 18th/early 19th century. Preferred skills include archiving, ethnographic methods, video, audio and photo capture. A professional film editor will provide guidance and develop the final film product(s). Teamwork, collaboration, and a demonstrated flexibility/comfort with uncertainty arealso preferred. This position is open to Baltimore-area graduate students. Bachelor’s degree required. 

Responsibilities: 

Preparation: 

  • Meet with Dr. Blanks Jones for an in-person training on community-engaged research in Liberia, time TBD 
  • Meet with the ensemble virtually at least once prior to traveling 
  • Read the draft script for 200 Years of Returns and provide citational assistance 
  • Apply for and obtain all required travel (e.g., passport/visa) and medical documents and records according to university guidelines (assisted by a travel agency) 
  • Contribute to the development and circulation of any needed press/media/marketing with the communications team at B4 Youth Theatre 

On the ground (travel dates Dec. 12–23, 2022): 

  • Attend all rehearsals, performances, and related events including cultural excursions with the ensemble 
  • Maintain field notes to be submitted to B4 Youth Theatre’s designated secured platform daily 
  • Capture, label, and describe audio and visual materials, and other relevant objects submitting these daily to B4 Youth Theatre’s designated secured platform 
  • Contribute to scholarly reference list based on your observations and your academic discipline 
  • Contribute to the development and circulation of any needed press/media/marketing 

Upon Return: 

  • Submit a report summarizing your learning and any recommendations for B4 Youth Theatre regarding the 200 Years of Returns project by Jan. 5 to Dr. Jasmine Blanks Jones and Dr. Nathan Connolly
  • Please contact Dr. Jasmine Blanks Jones (jblanks2@jhu.edu) if you are interested in further opportunities for research and or media/communications publishing based on this experience 

Selected candidates will receive a grant of $500, plus flights, accommodations, international travel insurance, some meals, and a per diem. 

To apply, submit a 1-page cover letter and CV to jblanks2@jhu.edu. Application review will begin on Oct. 1, 2022.