When the MacArthur Foundation named its class of 2023 “genius grant" fellows last month, the recipients joined an exclusive group of previous fellows who have demonstrated outstanding talent and leadership in their fields.
Interdisciplinary scholar and writer Imani Perry is one of this year's MacArthur fellows.
“I describe my work in part as haunting the past,” Perry said. “I'm trying to train my attention on those who were disregarded in the past as a way of shaping our ethics for the present and the future. So it's sort of like trying to catch a hold of freedom, dreams that have existed over the course of generations, train my gaze and shine a light on them.”
Perry, who is also a Boston University professor, studies the history and the cultural expressions forged by Black Americans in the face of injustice. There are 20 MacArthur fellows across the country, and Perry is one of four based in the Boston area. We talked with professor Perry for Under the Radar's series, “The Genius Next Door.”