Williams College names two Bolin Fellows for 2024-26, honoring the legacy of Williams’ first Black graduate and promoting faculty diversity.

Named in honor of Williams College’s first Black graduate, who was admitted to Williams in 1885, the college awards its Gaius Charles Bolin Fellowships to graduate students from underrepresented groups who are completing their terminal degrees and interested in pursuing a career in college teaching.

Bolin was an active and influential member of his class who went on to a successful career as a lawyer in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He also was a founding member of the local branch of the NAACP, and was the first African American president of the Dutchess County Bar Association.

These two-year residential fellowships were established in 1985 to honor Gaius Bolin’s legacy and promote diversity on college faculties. Two scholars or artists are appointed each year. Fellows devote the bulk of the first year to the completion of dissertation work—or in the case of M.F.A. applicants, building their professional portfolios—while also teaching one course as a faculty member in one of the college’s academic departments or programs. The second year of residency is spent on academic career development while again teaching just one course.

The Gaius Charles Bolin Fellows for 2024-2026 are:

Venus Mary Green, the Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in Sociology. Green is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Green’s research focuses on the structural dimensions of racialized and gendered labor regimes in the US and the intersectional inequalities that Black and African descendant women workers experience due to the afterlife of slavery. Her research incorporates interviews, Black feminist-grounded ethnography, media analysis, and oral histories of Black women domestic workers’ political organizing practices and work experiences in Boston and New York City. In addition, it investigates how Black and African descendent domestic workers, and domestic workers organizations, infuse radical care work into community building efforts to mobilize support at the grassroots and federal levels for the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights while developing underground forms of mutual aid networks. Green’s work has been supported by the Mellon World Studies Interdisciplinary Project, the Labor Research and Action Network, and the Center for Engaged Scholarship. Her research has been published in Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Sociological Spectrum, and TRAILS.

Junli Song, the Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in Art-Studio. Song describes her academic path as unconventional, noting that she became an artist “because it was the only way I could make sense of my life and experiences.” In addition to having an M.F.A. from the University of Arkansas with a concentration in printmaking, Song has degrees in children’s book illustration, development studies, and economics. Her scholarship explores feminist diasporic world-building across various media including painting, printmaking, and sculpture. In her work, Song draws upon the experience of existing between cultures. Building on what she calls “the fantasy and self-(re)invention inherent within diasporic societies,” her work challenges singular narratives about cultural identity. She also takes inspiration from research in Chinese and Japanese art, which she brings to her work. As a Bolin Fellow, Song plans to use the Williams College Museum of Art “as an opportunity to study Chinese art, aiming to challenge assumptions about Asian American artistry and provide a stage for their stories and cultural memories.”

Green and Song will be joining Williams’ current Bolin Fellows, Da’Von Boyd, the Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in political science, and René Cordero, the Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in history.

Published May 17, 2024

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