Prof. Linabary Receives Research & Entrepreneurialism Award

January 31st, 2024

Typically, global philanthropy and development have operated according to a top-down model, often unresponsive to actual community needs and ideas.   

With a project designed to reorient that focus to one more responsive to community needs, Jasmine Linabary has been awarded the Dorrance Dean’s Award for Research & Entrepreneurialism.  

Part of the Fearless Inquiries Project, the award supports Linabary’s project, “Engaging Voices from the ‘Margin to the Center’: Activating Methods of the Humanities to #ShiftthePower,” with $20,000 in funding.   

“This proposal is to develop a methodology and approach, drawing from the humanities, which has long paid attention to things like ethics and recognizing different histories, languages and cultural contexts,” said Linabary, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public and Applied Humanities. “These things matter when we develop ways for people to share their ideas and their experiences.” 

The project builds on Linabary’s work, spanning more than a decade, with the nonprofit World Pulse, an independent, women-led social network for social change. World Pulse has more than 100,000 members in 233 countries and territories, working for change in their communities on issues like gender-based violence, peacebuilding, economic empowerment, health and education.  

“It was important from the beginning of this project to be working in a more participatory way,” she said. “There are all of these women working in their communities who have ideas about how the sector can shift. They have solutions. They have things they can and do advocate for. And this project is a way to crowdsource and amplify those ideas.” 

One key challenge in the effort to shift the power is making sure those who have historically been excluded or at the margins are meaningfully included and/or leading in these conversations that directly affect their lives, Linabary said.    

The project will design a training and toolkit that will activate methods and practices of the humanities to better enable community voices to be meaningfully included and centered in their own development processes.  

The project will include online training modules as well as a low-tech, downloadable toolkit to ensure those with limited digital access are included. The materials will be translated into multiple languages, in collaboration with College of Humanities faculty and students. The pilot project will take place in three to five different countries and be focused on conversations around the #ShiftthePower movement in international development.  

Undergraduate students will work as research assistants, gaining experience in intercultural collaboration, and Linabary’s course, PAH 201: Applied Humanities Practice, will include project collaborators as guest speakers.    

Linabary will also work with World Pulse's community-led Research and Evaluation Group on the community-centered design and assessment of the training and toolkit.  

“I’d like to see this project as a starting point, not an ending point. I’m excited about the possibilities of what something like this can offer to the sector and beyond,” she said. “There’s increasingly a recognition that the work that folks have been doing for a long time needs to change in order to be more equitable, just and inclusive, but there aren’t a lot of models to reimagine what that can look like. Hopefully this offers one such model.”