SNF Agora Institute Awards Nine Faculty Grants

The $3,000–$10,000 grants will fund faculty from across Johns Hopkins University pursuing research and other projects—including conferences, qualitative studies, and a multimedia art and storytelling project—that explore threats to global democracy.

The SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University has awarded its second round of SNF Agora Faculty Grants, which will fund nine projects during the 2022-2023 academic year.

The grants—which were awarded to faculty from the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Advanced International Studies, the Carey Business School, and the Bloomberg School of Public Health—will fund an academic conference, a number of research projects, the creation of a multimedia art and storytelling project, and other activities.

The grants will enable faculty recipients to explore a range of topics such as democratized information, non-violent protests, gerrymandering, racial and ethnic politics, political development in the Americas, stories of American Muslim women justice activists, engagement between public health and religious communities, and public opinion  about democracy and racial and gender equality.

“Last year, SNF Agora faculty grants supported projects that advanced research and action on a range of topics, including inclusive dialogue and civic engagement in foreign policy, environmental issues, racialized inequality and violence in America, and other issues,” says SNF Agora Inaugural Director Hahrie Han. “I am looking forward to seeing the many ways this new round of projects will advance the mission and work of the SNF Agora Institute in the coming year.”

Launched in fall 2020, the SNF Agora Faculty Grants Program was established to support and amplify faculty work that is complementary to the institute’s mission. By providing these grants, SNF Agora aims to foster interdisciplinary collaborations across and the university and support SNF Agora efforts to reinvigorate global democracy and the civic spaces that fuel it.

SNF Agora accepts applications for faculty grants annually. Applicants can propose new projects or seek funding to supplement ongoing projects that are closely connected to SNF Agora’s mission.

The recipients of the 2022-2023 SNF Agora Faculty Grants are:

Johnathon Ehsani, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Bloomberg School of Public Health

Beth A. Resnick, Assistant Dean for Practice and Training Senior Scientist, Bloomberg School of Public Health

The Role of Religion in Advancing Public Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This qualitative study focuses on the engagement between public health and religious communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Study authors will conduct key informant interviews with leaders from the public health community and a range of religious communities to explore the engagement between the two groups during the pandemic.


Itay Fainmesser, Associate Professor, Carey Business School

Data, Markets, and Privacy: Regulating Democratized Information

Fainmesser will organize a conference that will raise suggestions for restrictions on data usage and transparency or the creation of markets for personal data. It will instigate collaborations on research that considers the threats to democracy posed both by data collection and by regulatory actions, identifying possible policy interventions that balance the two.


Jonathan Flombaum, Associate Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Remedies of Gerrymandering from the Perspective of Vision Science

Flombaum’s project will focus on gerrymandering, addressing the empirical question: What and how does a naïve observer—almost any member of the voting public–perceive visually when a map has been gerrymandered?


Jessie Liu, Assistant Professor, Carey Business School

Censored Conflict: Ideology, Identity, and Intercultural Clashes amid Pandemic and #Metoo –induced Censorship

This project will study the evolution of public opinions on democracy and racial and gender equality amid online censorship in an authoritarian regime. Specifically, the work will focus on the impact of a series of domestic censorship efforts in China prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the #MeToo movement.


Casey Marina Lurtz, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Research for All: A Digital Humanities Toolkit for Sharing Student Research

This project supports a toolkit that includes ESRI StoryMap templates and teaching modules, pedagogical materials on digital humanities practices, and introductory research activities to find material for the StoryMap, all of which can be used to help students create and share their findings far beyond the classroom. The SNF Agora Faculty Grant in particular will fund the creation and publication of a platform to share the digital humanities toolkit.


Sebastian Mazzuca, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Rethinking Democracy and Political Development in the Americas

This project seeks to reimagine the study of politics in the Americas by reorienting its comparative frame of reference. The study rethinks democracy and political development through an explicitly hemispheric perspective on the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.


Nicholas Papageorge, Broadus Mitchell Associate Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Who Protests, What Do They Protest, and Why?

This project focuses on non-violent protests during the summer of 2020 and tackles questions such as: “When the goal is to incorporate a diverse array of societal preferences into policymaking, to what degree should policy respond to protests?” And, “Are some protests being ignored in favor of more traditional forms of civic engagement like voting?”


David A. Steinberg, Associate Professor of International Political Economy, School of Advanced International Studies

Race, Representation, and the Legitimacy of International Organizations

This study highlights racial inclusiveness as one important dimension that shapes the legitimacy of the institutions that underpin the liberal international order, and explores the impact of Black leadership within international organizations on the popular legitimacy of those institutions.


Homayra Ziad, Program Director and Lecturer, Program in Islamic Studies, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

99 Clay Vessels: The Muslim Women Storytelling Project

This multimedia art and storytelling project centers the stories of American Muslim women justice activists. The project supports 99 women in creating digital stories and artistic projects about the experiences of injustice—both outside of and within Muslim communities—that they have endured and transformed to nourish the work they do now.