Small Grants for Faculty Research in Human Rights

2019 Faculty Research Grant Competition

The Human Rights Institute announces the Human Rights Research Grant Competition for the Faculty and Staff at the University of Connecticut. The objective of the competition is to support and promote research projects on human rights related questions.

Faculty and Staff Research & Book Preparation.

The funding competition is open to all faculty and staff in all disciplines at Storrs and the regional campuses.

Evaluation Criteria for Faculty Human Rights Research Grant Applications

1. Overall excellence of the proposed research project on human rights issues, understood broadly. Projects should make a significant contribution to ongoing scholarly and policy debates in the field of human rights.

2. Research awards will prioritize primary research, including library research, fieldwork, interviewing, historical archival research, pilot studies, data collection and data set construction, etc.

3. Requests for funding for conference travel and seminar/course tuition will be considered.

4. Book preparation requests could include copy editing, indexing, editorial assistance, etc. However, requests for subventions will not be considered.

Application format

Faculty Research Grant applications should be a maximum of three pages; written materials should be double spaced and printed in 12-point, Times New Roman font with 1 inch standard margins.

Each application of a maximum of three pages should include the intellectual rationale for the project, a list of expected project outcomes, a methodology section, and a budget narrative of research-related expenses. Ordinarily, budget requests should not exceed $2000. In addition, please provide a copy of your most up-to-date CV.

Please submit your application via UConnact at:

Deadline for the Application is March 1, 2019

2018 Human Rights Research Grant Awardees

César Abadía-Barrero Assistant Professor, Anthropology and Human Rights

"Health Ruins: The Capitalist Destruction of Medical Care"

This grant will allow me to submit my book manuscript Health Ruins: The Capitalist Destruction of Medical Care to a prestigious academic press. My ethnography narrates the history of a hospital and its people. El Materno, once considered the most important university hospital specializing in child and maternity care in Colombia, collapsed during neoliberalism. By tracing the history of El Materno, Health Ruins joins recent scholarly efforts that show how health care privatization harms the human right to health. In particular, Health Ruins illustrates how the neoliberal transformation of medical care and medical education is filled with violence, conflict, hope, and uncertainty. Unlike other scholarly efforts that show the impacts of neoliberal health policies on health outcomes, Health Ruins illustrates how neoliberalism transforms the human right to health by attacking existing cultural norms and practices around health care in order for its for-profit health care model to become hegemonic. By showing what patient-centered health care looked like, how it was destroyed, and the current status of its neoliberal replacement, Health Ruins joins other scholarly and activist efforts to contest the growing commodification of health care.

César Abadía-Barrero is a Medical Anthropologist whose research integrates different critical perspectives in the study of how for-profit interests transform access, continuity, and quality of health care. He has conducted action-oriented ethnographic and mixed-method research on health care policies and programs, human rights judicialization and advocacy, and social movements in health in Brazil and Colombia.

Miguel Figuiredo Associate Professor of Law | University of Connecticut

“Raise the Age: A Triumph for Children’s Rights?”

Project Description Pending

Maria Larusso Assistant Professor Human Development and Family Studies

“The School to Prison Pipeline: How a Human Rights Catastrophe Begins in Elementary Schools”

In recent decades, school discipline has become increasingly criminalized, seen for example in the routine use of metal detectors, law enforcement referrals, and monitoring by security guards or police officers, as well as a trend toward elaborate conduct codes, stricter discipline policies, and more extreme punishments. However, decades of research have shown that such measures are not only ineffective, but have unintended negative effects, such as increasing levels of school disorder and contributing to a pipeline to incarceration for youth. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) defines the school-to-prison pipeline as “the policies and practices that push our nation's schoolchildren, especially our most at-risk children, out of classrooms and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The school-to-prison pipeline has been called a “human rights catastrophe” given not only that it reflects violations to children’s rights to education, safety, and protection from harm, but also that these violations and their long-term consequences reproduce inequalities. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, harsh disciplinary policies and practices are primarily a problem in middle and high schools. However; criminalized school discipline may be overlooked in elementary schools because it appears in more subtle forms. This study utilizes qualitative data from four inner city elementary schools to illuminate the criminalization of language and practices that can produce criminalized identities and reputations of children, starting as early as kindergarten.


2017 Human Rights Research Grant Awardees

Alaina Brenick, Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
"Evaluations of school-based rights violations of transgender and gender non-conforming youth: A social ecological perspective"

Audrey R. Chapman, Healey Professor of Medical Ethics and Humanities, Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, UConn Health
"Impact of Privatization on the Right to Health in Sri Lanka"

Debanuj DasGupta, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography & Women’s, Gender, Sexuality Studies
"The Politics of Transgender Detention"

Barbara Gurr, Associate Professor In Residence, Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
"Mni Wiconi: The Meaning of “Rights” at Standing Rock"

Mark Overmyer-Velazquez, Associate Professor, Department of History
"Hauntings and Human Rights: Immigration in Post-Pinochet Chile"

Visit our blog for a full description of awardees research projects


2014-2015 Human Rights Research Grant Awardees

Audrey R. Chapman, "The Challenges of Implementing a Human Rights Approach to Health"
Manisha Desai, "From Mathura to Nirbhaya: Mapping the Changing Dynamics of Activism Opposing Violence Against Women in India"
Sarah Willen, "When the U.S. Government calls Health a Human Right: Responses to the CDC Museum's 'Health is a Human Right' Exhibition"
Elizabeth Holzer, "Compassion for Rebels"

2012-2013 Human Rights Research Grant Awardees

Gary Levvis/Human Trafficking Service Provider Assessment Project (HTSPAP)
“Human Trafficking Service Provider Assessment Project (HTSPAP) Committee”
The aim of this project is to address the limited monitoring and evaluation mechanisms that currently exist for non‐governmental organizations in Connecticut. The goal of this project was to prevent the re‐victimization of persons at the hands of ineffective or disreputable caregivers by providing legitimate organizations with feedback concerning their practices.

Scruggs, Political Science
“Generosity of state unemployment insurance systems in the United States”
The main research question posed in this project is whether policy changes in the generosity of federal and state unemployment insurance benefits—specifically the absolute level of benefit, the amount of income such benefits replace, and the duration of these benefits—affect various public health outcomes. This possibility was suggested but not examined in previous work on inequality and health. An essential element of the project is collecting information on programmatic differences in unemployment insurance systems in the United States.

Nathaniel Trumbull, Geography
“Post-Socialist Cities and their Discontents: from Urban Disenfranchisement to Human Rights Violations”
This book project examines urban disenfranchisement and human rights violations in the post-socialist city of St. Petersburg (former Leningrad), Russia. I investigate the attempts by representatives of civil society to assemble and organize, the accompanying public demonstrations and frequent imprisonment related to those efforts, police repression and brutality, a legal system whose decisions are widely viewed to be politically motivated, ongoing official obstruction to appointing an independent city ombudsman, and most recently, public reaction to widespread election fraud, in the wake of which the largest numbers of arrests of public protesters in the past two decades in the city have taken place.

2011-2012 Human Rights Research Grant Awardees

Gary English, Drama
"Theatre and Human Rights: The Arab/Israeli Conflict”
This project studied the uses of theater production as public discourse within the occupied territories (West Bank and Gaza Strip) of Palestine and the State of Israel over the past 10 years, or from the so-called 2nd Intifada up till now. Through an oral history methodology and interviews across various aspects of Palestinian society, this proposed research will continue to inform my grasp of contemporary theatre aesthetics and practice in Palestine and will deepen my understanding of how public discourse and questions of human rights have been dealt with in Palestinian theatre.Charles B. Lansing, History
"German Nazi Hunters: The Central Agency and Germany's Belated Search for Justice."
The grant was used to fund research for the book project German Nazi Hunters: The Central Agency and Germany's Belated Search for Justice. The book explores both the role of the West German state in the transformation of popular German attitudes regarding German complicity in the Holocaust and also the relationship between this process and the larger social and political democratization of Germany.Samuel Martinez, Anthropology
"Onion of Oppression Manuscript Translation and Review"
University of Connecticut Human Rights Institute funds were applied to the revision and translation of a book manuscript, tentatively titled The Onion of Oppression: Complex Injustices and the Rights Struggles of Haitian-Ancestry Dominicans. The book applies the critical feminist theory of intersectionality to the domain of human rights, through description and analysis of various, interrelated limits to freedom encountered by Haitian nationals and Haitian descendants in the Dominican Republic.

2008-2009 Human Rights Research Grant Awardees

Faculty Research Funding
Lanse Minkler & Samson Kimenyi, Economics
Constitutionalization of Human Rights
Tricia Gabany-Guerrero, International Affairs
An Anatomy of Mexican Repatriation: Human Rights and Boarderlands of Complicity
Emma Gilligan, History
Defending Human Rights in the 20th Century

2007 Human Rights Research Grant Awardees

Emma Gilligan, History
“War Crimes in Chechnya”
Kathryn Libal, Women Studies
“Politics of Educating Girls in Turkey”
Maya Beasley, Sociology
“South Africa Contemporary Race Relations”

2006 Human Rights Research Grant Awardees

Francoise Dussart, Anthropology and Women's Studies
“Living with Chronic Illness in Aboriginal Australia: Engendered Health Practices, Beliefs and Aspirations at Yuenduma, Northern Territory”
Questions about the competition should be directed to Rachel Jackson at the, Tel: 486-5393, Fax: 486-6332, Email:

2004 Human Rights Research Grant Awardees

Mary Crawford, Psychology
"Developing and Evaluating Interventions to Reduce Trafficking of
Girls and Women in Nepal"
Lawrence B. Goodheart, History
"A Profile of Capital Punishment in Connecticut, 1636-2004"
$5,548.78Michelle Kaufman, Ph.D. Candidate, Psychology
"Voluntary and Involuntary Sex Trafficking in Nepal: An Investigation
into Human and Cultural Rights"
$ 4,000.00
Marita McComiskey, Women’s Studies
Conference 2005 on "The Responsibility of the Present Generations
for the Protection of Women’s Human Rights"
Samuel Martinez, Anthropology
"Anthropology’s Human Rights Archive: A Preliminary Assessment
of the Documents of the AAA Committee for Human Rights"
Professor Nancy A. Naples, Sociology and Women’s Studies
"Sexual Citizenship and Human Rights: A Comparative Study of
Immigration Policies in Different National Contexts"
Olu Oguibe, Art and Art History
"A Decade of Freedom: Art after Apartheid 1994-2004"