Seed Grant Program

Seed grants are awarded with funding provided by the Binghamton University Road Map through the Provost's Office and the Division of Research.

The goal of these seed grants is to encourage faculty to develop collaborative projects that stimulate the advancement of new ideas that can build Binghamton University's expertise toward a national reputation in the broad area of citizenship, rights and cultural belonging. This competitive, peer-reviewed program is providing initial support for proposed long-term programs of collaborative research that have strong potential to attract external funding.

Information on how to apply for seed grant funding for the 2024–2025 academic year can be found on the TAE landing page. The deadline for proposals is February 16, 2024.

Deadline for a Letter of Intent was December 4, 2023 and has passed. LOIs are required for proposals with a large budget and strongly recommended for all proposals. The LOI is not binding, however it will help to gauge interest in the next, potential round of seed grant applications. This information will also be helpful to have in the event additional funding channels are identified.


For the 2022-2023 academic year, the following seed grant was awarded:

Far-Right Composite

Chandiren Valayden, human development; and Alexandra Moore, English and Human Rights Institute

Since the Jan 6. 2021 Capitol riots, warnings are increasing about a constitutional crisis in the United States that would lead to civil war, authoritarianism, or fascism. Our project, which will run through the 2024 elections, proposes three spatial frameworks to conceptualize contemporary far-right politics: urban space, battlespace, and “gamespace.” We foreground the spatial dimensions of politics in order to understand far-right politics as a practice, rather than set of ideologies. This approach allows us to grasp the contemporary anti-democratic threat as a diffused phenomenon that expresses itself at different scales. Our aim is to analyze today’s far-right threats to American democracy through three interrelated activities: conceptually mapping existing far-right monitoring organizations in the U.S.; tracing how opposition to social equality (i.e., the politics of race, gender, sexuality, etc.) drives far-right politics; and tracking how far-right politics shape online activity (and vice versa) by identifying the main influencers and groups in NYS. We will 1) provide a theory of how the urban space, battlespace, and gamespace interact with one another to create a far-right composite and assess its threat to democratic politics; 2) host guest lectures to foster campus engagement with these issues; and 3) produce academic and public-facing scholarship.

For the 2021-2022 academic year, the following seed grant was awarded:

World War One Asian Immigrant Draft Registration Database and Mapping Project

John Cheng, Asian and Asian-American Studies and Kent Schull, history

This project seeks support to develop a digital humanities and public history resource about race, immigration, and citizenship in the early 20th-century United States. Using World War One Selective Service draft registration cards, the project crowd-sources their information to compile a database about Asian-born registrants and generate an interactive map that displays their spatial distribution across a range of geographic scopes. Including registrants born in west Asia as well as south and east Asia, the resources allows users to observe and explore the emerging racial lines drawn in the period concerning immigration, nativity, birthplace, and eligibility for citizenship, specifically comparing those Asian immigrants deemed racially ineligible to naturalize and those who were not.

For the 2020-2021 academic year, the following seed grants were awarded:

Storytelling and Public Engagement

Lisa Yun, English; and Barry Brenton, Center for Civic Engagement

This project consists of a series of workshops in which participants will share ongoing initiatives that operate at the convergence of storytelling, community engagement, public humanities, and digital humanities. The workshops will thematically cohere around concerns of migration, immigration, memory, belonging, and social justice.  These workshops will bring in three directors of such initiatives that touch on all those areas, from: The Center for Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center, The Tenement Museum, and The Brooklyn Historical Society. Their participation in the workshop with faculty, staff, students, and community members will open dialogue about leading edge developments that involve engaged teaching/learning/research/collaboration. The workshop will be followed by a next steps planning meeting. This is for faculty and grad students to drive conversations toward projects of mutual interest and increase transdisciplinary teaching/research. For full program information, please see:

Humanization of Money

Jakob Feinig, human development; Diren Valayden, human development; and Joshua Price, sociology

This project investigates the racial and class dimensions of the contemporary United States through the lenses of critical race studies and Modern Monetary Thought (MMT). Research on race and class have a long interdisciplinary history: concepts such as intersectionality and racial capitalism now straddle academic and popular discourses. However, this is the first time that critical race studies and critical monetary thought are brought within the same framework of study. Our goal is two-fold. First, we propose a new historicization of racial and class formations in the United States through the investigation of crosscutting processes of dehumanization involved in the making of racial and monetary power. Although the focus is on North America, we believe that the project opens up discussions for a broader theoretical reconsideration of race and capitalism. Secondly, we argue that our framework also makes possible policy recommendations targeted towards programs such as the Job Guarantee.

 For the 2019-2020 academic year, the following seed grant was awarded:

Women, Peace, and Security - An International Conference

Alexandra Moore, Human Rights Institute; and Susan Strehle, Kaschak Institute for Social Justice for Women and Girls

In 2000, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 on Women,  Peace and Security to “reaffirm” the central role of women in peace and post-conflict  rebuilding, broadly conceived, and to address particular forms of physical and legal  vulnerabilities faced by women and girls worldwide. In recognition of the 20th  anniversary of this resolution, Binghamton University’s Human Rights and Kaschak  Institutes, working in partnership with the Helena Kennedy Centre for International  Justice at Sheffield Hallam University (UK) and an independent scholar in South Africa,  will host a landmark international conference of scholars and activists to evaluate the  ways in which we understand and can respond to gendered forms of vulnerability  today. More specifically, this conference, will address the unequal distribution of the  rights of citizenship (women’s rights as civil, political, social, economic, and cultural  rights), gendered vulnerability and cultural belonging, and particular ways law makes  women as a category of persons vulnerable to harm (whether in the context of  international or intranational conflict, gun violence, forced economic migration and  displacement, or environmental catastrophe). Select proceedings appeared in a dossier in Open Global Rights.

For the 2018–2019 academic year, the following seed grants were awarded:

Technologies of Human Rights Representations - a SUNY Conversation

Alexandra Moore, English, and John Cheng, Asian and Asian American studies

With the support of the TAE in Citizenship, Rights, and Cultural Belonging, the Human Rights Institute will organize an ambitious two-day conference on Technologies of Human Rights Representation - A SUNY Conversation in spring 2019. The goals of the conference are to: showcase the excellent, sustained, and transdisciplinary work currently undertaken by Binghamton University faculty and to underscore its leadership within the SUNY system in human rights-related research; to bring scholars from different disciplines, schools, and universities together to share and discuss the challenges of making our different quantitative and qualitative methodologies legible to one another; and to explore new conceptual and technological frontiers in human rights representations. This conference will also provide a forum for leading human rights scholars at Binghamton and within the SUNY system to share research, with an eye toward the development of future collaborative projects, and for students to be exposed to the breadth of work in this field. Selected conference presentations will be chosen for expansion and inclusion in a volume, edited by Alexandra Moore, also entitled Technologies of Human Rights Representation. Professor Moore has an advance contract for this volume from SUNY Press.

Human Trafficking Data Project

Suzy Lee, human development; Olubunmi Oyewuwo-Gassikia, social work; Charles Hounmenou, social work; and David Cingranelli, political science

The Human Trafficking Data Project proposes to create a large-scale dataset on human trafficking in the U.S., using the data gathered by the Department of State through its T-visa application process. Each year, nearly a thousand individuals apply for immigration relief through the T-visa, which provides non-immigrant visa status to victims of 'a severe form of trafficking.' These applications present a publically available record of human trafficking incidents that include not only basic demographic data, but detailed accounts of life histories and the circumstances of the trafficking itself. The project will address the long-standing problem of sparse data in anti-human-trafficking scholarship and policy-making. Our goal is to provide a better picture of human trafficking in the U.S., and to create a dataset that scholars and activists can use to test theories and propose interventions.

Race, Economic Disadvantage, and Out-of-School Suspensions: Data, Dialogue and Opportunities for Reform

Sean Massey, women, gender and sexuality studies; and Mei-Hsiu Chen, mathematical sciences

Racial disproportionality in school discipline is a pervasive problem throughout the U.S. (Annamma, Morrison, & Jackson, 2014) and may widen the achievement gap (Gregory, Skiba, & Noguera, 2010), increase students' risk of dropping out entirely, and even accelerate entry into the school to prison pipeline (Krueger, 2010). Although research points to the role that overt and implicit bias play in the disciplinary process (Carter, Skiba, Arredondo, & Pollock, 2017), it has had a limited impact on disciplinary policies and practices. Teachers and administrators frequently resist suggestions that racial bias plays a role in their own disciplinary practices (Skiba, Poloni-Staudinger, Simmons, Feggins-Azziz, & Chung, 2005), pointing instead to the other variables like poverty (Skiba & Williams, 2014). This project uses statistical methods to estimate rates of racial dispropotionality in out-of-school suspensions in New York state, after adjusting for the effects of poverty. It then uses these findings to explore policymaker and stakeholder resistance to these findings, with the ultimate objectives of (a) developing a theoretical model for disciplinary process that identifies standard practices and highlights areas where racial bias may enter that process, and (b) utilize this information to develop, implement, and evaluate a research-based intervention aimed at reducing racial disproportionality in disciplinary practices in schools.