College of Arts & Sciences

Dr. Maia Butler Receives Mellon Fellowship in Democracy and Landscape Studies

FEBRUARY 17, 2023

Dr. Maia Butler, associate professor in the UNCW Department of English and faculty fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences, is the recipient of a Mellon Fellowship in Democracy and Landscape Studies. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the fellowship supports research that explores “the history and future of landscapes through the lenses of democracy, race, identity, and difference.” 

Dr. Butler will be in residence in the Garden and Landscape Studies Program at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. in fall 2023. A Harvard University research institute, Dumbarton Oaks is one of the only institutions in the world with a program devoted to garden and landscape studies. 

“Participating last year in the NEH Summer Institute “Towards a People’s History of Landscape” deepened my understanding of Black and Indigenous people as makers of our nation’s capital,” Dr. Butler said. “I’m thrilled to return to Dumbarton Oaks this fall with another interdisciplinary cohort of Mellon fellows to advance my research, which centers visionary models of community building by Black women and nonbinary authors, whose literature creates new maps to belonging across diaspora.”

While in residence, Dr. Butler will be completing her monograph, Floating Homelands: Postnational Imaginaries by Contemporary Black Women and Nonbinary Writers. The monograph provides scholars and students of African diaspora studies, women’s studies, and postcolonial studies with a theoretical framework through which to read postnational imaginaries in context with exigent cultural realities and local and regional practices of placemaking. Floating Homelands is under contract with University Press of Mississippi.


- G. Guthrie