The Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery Welcomes 2021-2022 Class of Fellows to the Schomburg Center

May 4, 2021—The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is pleased to announce the fellows for its 2021-2022 Scholars-In-Residence Program with the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery. The program offers long-term and short-term support to scholars and writers working on projects that would benefit from the Schomburg Center's extensive resources for the study of African diasporic history, politics, literature, and culture. 

The Lapidus Center welcomes long-term fellow Sean Morey Smith, Postdoctoral Researcher at Rice University. Dr. Smith will spend 2021-22 at the Center studying the impact of racial assumptions during slavery, particularly the frequently held belief by proponents of slavery and white abolitionists that African-descended people were more fit to labor in “hot” climates than European-descended people. His work The Climate of Race in Abolition will examine the impact of these assumptions and their widespread acceptance in texts that supported and challenged the issue of slavery, as well as their effect on issues beyond slavery, such as debates over citizenship, subjecthood, and social and cultural belonging.

In addition to its long-term program, the Lapidus Center also offers short-term fellowship opportunities for continuous periods of up to three consecutive months. These short-term fellowships assist researchers with access to collection material at the Schomburg Center, which are not readily available elsewhere. The 2021-22 short-term fellows include: 

  • Lucy Sheehan (Assistant Professor of English, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi) Willing Slavery: The Victorian Novel and British Enslavement 
  • Dennis Tyler (Assistant Professor of English, Fordham University), In the Skins of Our Ancestors
  • Mike Jirik (Lecturer in History at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst), continuing his studies from last year for his work “Abolition and Academe: Struggles for Freedom and Equality at British and American Colleges, 1741-1855.” 

The Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery—funded by a generous $2.5 million gift from Ruth and Sid Lapidus matched by The New York Public Library—is the only facility of its kind based in a public research library. Its residency program is designed to address three goals: to encourage research and writing on the slave trade, slavery, and anti-slavery in the Atlantic world; to promote and facilitate interaction among the participants including fellows funded by other sources and to facilitate the dissemination of the researchers’ findings through lectures, publications, and the ongoing Schomburg Center Colloquium and Seminar Series. Applicants must indicate in their proposal how they propose to use the resources of the Schomburg Center. For more information about the Lapidus Center and its Fellowship, visit

Following a temporary closure due to COVID-19, The New York Public Library’s research centers, including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, will begin offering access to research collections by appointment beginning on May 10. They will also continue to offer virtual access to the Library’s collections through online databases, virtual reference support from librarians and expanded Electronic Document Delivery. 

Media Contact: Amy Geduldig,

About the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Founded in 1925 and named a National Historic Landmark in 2017, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the preservation, research, interpretation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diasporan, and African experiences. As a research division of The New York Public Library, the Schomburg Center features diverse programming and collections totaling over 11 million items that illuminate the richness of global black history, arts, and culture. Learn more at

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