Humanities Labs


For University of California Grant period: August 2019 and January 2020 (close of grant)

Application deadline: by 5:00pm (PDT), Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Humanities Labs are multidisciplinary collaborations that typically focus on a single mission but may also identify another site or series of related sites. The humanities labs allow for a broader collaboration including a larger group of participating researchers. Applications are submitted by a team that includes UC  faculty and graduate students, faculty and graduate students from outside the UC, community members and leaders, artists, tribal historians, museum professionals, curriculum specialists, and public historians. The work of the lab runs for the duration of the grant but is typically concentrated in the summers. For administrative purposes, each of these labs will be sited at one of four participating UC campuses: UCLA, UCR, UCSC, or UCSD.

The UC Critical Mission Studies projects invites proposals for humanities labs related to the California missions, California Indian histories, and/or survivance. New projects in their initial stages during the grant year are preferred, although a new phase of an ongoing or long-term project will be considered.  Humanities labs are funded for between $10,000-$20,000 each.

Eligible Recipients:

Participation is open to any community member, Tribal nation or group in California, UC faculty and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students. While we hope to award funds to projects focused on the CA Indian experience, some funds may be allocated to projects investigating other populations or histories.

Application Materials and Process:

The application consists of a cover page(s) with a list of the proposed team with a brief bio or resume/CV for each participant: a two-page narrative describing the proposed humanities lab and how it will work and the deliverable(s) to be produced during the funding period; and a budget with timeline of activities.

Other Requirements:

Proposals will incorporate the Critical Mission Studies  research protocol located in the tab above. Please see the posted list of subject areas for research of interest to California Indian tribal nations.  Recipients of Critical Mission Studies funding will participate in one or more dissemination activities to raise public and community awareness, a major goal of CMS. Potential dissemination activities include public conferences, workshops, as well as publications. Meaningful collaboration between the UC and California Indian research partners, institutions, or organizations is encouraged. Proposals focused on the experiences of CA Indians require substantial partnership with CA Indian people, institutions, or organizations.

All grant recipients will be required to submit a middle and final report on their project.

Evaluation Criteria:

Does/do the applicant(s) possess the qualifications to complete the proposed project?

If the project is focused on the experiences of California Indians, does the study involve multiple missions, tribal collaboration, or other type of collaboration?

For projects focused on topics related to the California Indian experience, a letter of support from tribal government would strengthen the application.

Does the project make contributions to the history of the missions, to understanding of the missions today, or to the contemporary/ongoing impacts of the mission system?

Are the timeline and budget realistic?


 Please address questions to Charlene Villaseñor Black, or

Funded by the University of California Office of the President (UCOP), Critical Mission Studies is a two-year initiative (Jan 2019-Dec 2020) that seeks a new critical engagement with our state’s history through the lens of the missions, vastly mythologized and profoundly understudied. Through reconsideration of the missions as both physical sites and foci of interpretation, we pursue new research that surfaces both Native and Mexican/Mexican-American voices in the history of California and the US. Reflecting trends in public history over the last decade, our research will foster more complex, multidimensional public engagements with difficult histories. California’s 21 missions are an imperfect, partial, yet essential lens to access California’s various histories and engage in nuanced and frank encounters with the past, particularly with the genocide of California Indians, with UC scholars at the helm, producing data-driven studies.

“Critical Mission Studies at California’s Crossroads,” University of California Multicampus Research Program Initiative (MRPI):