PKG Fellow Kevin Lee named 2021 Fulbright Recipient
Twelve MIT student affiliates have won fellowships for the Fulbright 2021-22 grant year. Their host country destinations include Brazil, Iceland, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain, and Taiwan, where they will conduct research, earn a graduate degree, or teach English.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers opportunities for American student scholars in over 160 countries. Last fall, Fulbright received a record number of applications, making this the most competitive cycle in the 75-year history of the program.
Kevin Lujan Lee is a PhD candidate in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. In Aotearoa/New Zealand, he will study the transnational processes shaping how low-wage Pacific Islander workers navigate the institutions of labor market regulation. This will comprise one-half of his broader dissertation project — a comparative study of Indigenous Pacific Islanders and low-wage work in 21st-century empires. His research is only made possible by activists in the U.S. immigrant labor movement and global LANDBACK movement, who envision a world beyond labor precarity and Indigenous dispossession. Lee hopes to pursue an academic career to support the work of these movements.
Lee has also participated in the PKG Fellowships program three times over the course of his time at MIT. The focus of his work has always intersected with that of his Fulbright proposal: researching Indigenous communities, land dispossession, and decolonization movements. Here is the description of his current PKG Summer Fellowship project:
Guåhan (Guam) is currently recognized by the United Nations as one of 17 non-self-governing territories “whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government.” For decades, Indigenous CHamoru (Chamorro) sovereignty activists have been advocating to hold a non-binding plebiscite vote for CHamorus to determine what they want for the political futures of their island––statehood, free association, or independence. However, this non-binding plebiscite has faced a series of legal challenges within the US’ settler-colonial judicial system, leading to its indefinite postponement. This project is a piece of decolonial quantitative political research, one that centers Indigenous CHamoru epistemology and CHamoru community participation in the co-design, dissemination and co-analysis of a large-N survey project of CHamoru political attitudes toward decolonization. Ultimately, this project seeks to (1) build baseline information on the politics of decolonization in Guåhan and (2) build the research capacity of the CHamoru sovereignty movement.
Congratulations to Kevin Lee and all of MIT’s 2021 Fulbright recipients! To read the full story on all of the MIT Fulbright Fellows click here for the MIT News article!