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SCC History Dept. Professor Awarded $6K National Endowment for the Humanities 2022 Summer Stipend Grant



The History Dept. Chair is one of four California scholars to receive this highly competitive grant and the only faculty member to represent a community college in the state.

(June 21, 2022) - ORANGE, CA -The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded Santiago Canyon College History Professor, Rachel Petrocelli, Ph.D., a $6,000 summer stipend grant to support her book project, “Transient Transactions: Making Urban Life in Colonial Dakar, 1902-1944."

Petrocelli serves as SCC's History Department Chair and specializes in world, African, and Middle Eastern history. Her book project offers a socio-economic history of Dakar, French West Africa's prime city, during the key years of its development. Petrocelli's approach introduces the concept of local transactional culture - - the norms city dwellers devised to make urban life feasible under French colonial rule steeped in racism. Economic relationships were shaped by the entrance and exit of participants negotiating the city for their own purposes, and the local transactional culture adapted and thrived despite efforts by the French colonial state to achieve greater control.

In her research, conducted in Senegal, Petrocelli made extensive use of court records, state reports and collected oral histories. The book proposes new considerations in the theorization of movement, historical analyses of 20th century African cities and methods in using court records as sources of urban history.

“This NEH award is an honor and indicates that the work I've been pursuing resonates not only within my field but within the broader realm of humanities," Petrocelli commented. “As a result of it, I hope to see the book to its successful conclusion and continue my grant-seeking activities as I transition to the next project," she added.

“The quest for life-long learning is a pursuit that SCC highly values," emphasized Acting College President, Arleen Satele, Ph.D.  “Indeed, this grant is extremely competitive and Dr. Petrocelli has earned it!  We're proud of the meticulous research and zeal that she's committed to the book's publication. She is one of many accomplished educators we're fortunate to have teaching and guiding our students and why we continually say: What Happens Here Matters."

The NEH's Summer Stipends Program aims to stimulate new research in the humanities and its publication. The program works to accomplish this goal by:

  • Providing small awards to individuals pursuing advanced research that is of value to humanities scholars, general audiences or both;
  • Supporting projects at any stage of development, but especially early-stage research and late-stage writing in which small awards are most effective; and
  • Funding a wide range of individuals, including independent scholars, community college faculty, and non-teaching staff at universities.


What Happens Here Matters.

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About Santiago Canyon College -

Santiago Canyon College (SCC) is one of two colleges in the Rancho Santiago Community College District. Accredited in 2000, this dynamic and award-winning institution is located in Southern California, in the city of Orange, and provides an array of educational opportunities to the over 195,000 residents comprising the eclectic community. SCVC offers 221 degree and certificate programs (including 28 transferable associate degrees). Ranked among the “50 Best Community Colleges" in the U.S. by College Choice, SCC was recognized multiple times by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of “The Great Colleges to Work for," received Gold-level status as a Military Friendly School® and boasts dedicated faculty, high-quality and student-centered education, with excellent university transfer rates supported by transfer-guarantee programs. For more info, visit:


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Office: 714.628.5936