Page title

Dan-el Padilla Peralta awarded major grant from the Mellon Foundation

Main page content

Published Date

December 23, 2023


Princeton Classics is delighted to congratulate Prof. Dan-el Padilla Peralta who, together with Prof. Sasha-Mae Eccleston of Brown University, has received a one million dollar grant from the Mellon Foundation. This support will go toward Racing the Classics, which will be launching a new multi-year fellowship program designed to mentor graduate students and early career researchers of the ancient Mediterranean as they center critical race studies in their scholarship and teaching.

"We’re excited by the Foundation’s commitment to Racing the Classics," Padilla and Eccleston said in a statement. "At a time of multi-pronged and multi-dimensional assaults against racialized communities, and on the teaching of race and settler-colonialism, we’re looking forward to working with our collaborators and building up the next generation of scholars of the ancient Mediterranean."

Racing the Classics was founded in 2017 as an international conference series dedicated to forming a scholarly collective of classicists to confront the racialized processes of everyday work in the field. Beginning with a 2018 academic conference funded by a Global Initiative Grant from the Princeton Humanities Council and by Brown University, the series was further developed through a second conference at the University of Warwick and a 2019 "recitative" event at Princeton Classics in conversation with poet Ishion Hutchinson. In its newest form, Racing the Classics will involve an academic-year practicum and two-week intensive summer workshops for scholars to refine their individual interests, skills, and critical acumen as researchers and members of the academy, while training them to wield the resources, the tools, and above all the individual and collective discernment to center race in their teaching and research.

"Racialized inequities do not exist out there, apart from the academy or the disciplines that comprise it," wrote Padilla and Eccleston in their ethos statement for the American Journal of Philology. "Racialized hierarchies determine how the resources and rewards of the academy circulate, how knowledge about the ancient Greeks and Romans is produced, recognized, and counted." By providing scholars from historically minoritized groups and those committed to the project's priorities with the support of a community, Racing the Classics aims to contribute to the demographic transformation of the professoriate in classics.

Such a change promises "to make substantial and lasting progress in the field," in the words of university president Christopher Eisgruber. “The Racing the Classics initiative engages the complexities of race, ethnicity, and racism with the academic study of ancient Roman and Greek cultures, and challenges foundational assumptions about knowledge production," Eisgruber continued, in his institutional endorsement of the project. “The proposed program will transform the study of classics in significant ways and build a sustainable community of scholars committed to inclusive and collaborative scholarship.”

According to current plans, applications for the Racing the Classics fellowship will open in the spring of 2025.