Junior Visiting Fellow (janvier-juin 2023)

Jeremy Martin est doctorant et Eugene Cota Robles Fellow à Berkeley, Université de Californie. Il étudie la politique des organisations philanthropiques et leur rôle en matière d'éducation publique, avec une attention particulière portée aux fondations créées par des personnes noires. Plus généralement, les recherches de Jeremy explorent la politique des élites et des acteurs non gouvernementaux dans le domaine de l'éducation.

De janvier à juillet 2023, Jeremy a été accueilli comme Junior Visiting Fellow dans l'équipe de la Chaire Philanthropie, grâce au soutien financier des partenaires de la Chaire et à l'encadrement de son équipe permanente. Il partage dans le texte ci-dessous le bilan de son travail effectué lors de ce temps passé à l'ESSEC.

"How does a person encapsulate one of the most profound research and life experiences that has shaped (and continues to shape) their work in just two pages? That is the task before me and, while daunting, I hope to approach it by providing insight into my journey in France and early learnings from my various engagements as a Junior Visiting Fellow with ESSEC Business School’s Philanthropy Chair. My reflection will focus on three core areas. First, I will provide a brief overview of my research agenda in France and the activities I participated in during the fellowship. Second, I reflect on a key event that occurred during my time in France and how this event and its aftermath informed my data collection, analysis, and writing strategies. Third, I discuss where the resea"Jeremy Martin is a doctoral candidate and Eugene Cota Robles Fellow at Berkeley, University of California. He studies the politics of philanthropic organizations and their role in public education, with a particular focus on foundations created by Black individuals. More broadly, Jeremy's research explores the politics of elites and non-governmental actors in the field of education.

From January to July 2023, Jeremy was a Junior Visiting Fellow with the Philanthropy Chair team, thanks to the financial support of the Chair's partners and the guidance of its permanent team. In the text below, he shares the results of his work during his time at ESSEC."rch from my time in France is headed after completing the fellowship. Finally, I conclude with a few acknowledgements to the team of scholars, professionals, and funders who were instrumental in making the fellowship possible. This brief reflection does not capture the entirety of my experiences, but I hope it provides a glimpse into how valuable opportunities like the Junior Visiting Fellowship are for advanced doctoral students and early career professionals. 


Beginning in January 2023, I joined ESSEC Business School’s Philanthropy Chair as the inaugural Junior Visiting Fellow. In this role, I conducted qualitative research exploring philanthropic organizations and their involvement in the education sector in France. In tandem with this primary research inquiry, I also conducted pilot explorations into philanthropies that are created specifically by Black French people. The aim for both projects was to understand the actions of philanthropic organizations in France, a country that erects strict guardrails around public education. Beyond the research projects, with ESSEC’s support, I enrolled in a French language course and a course on Social Network Analysis. The courses allowed me to (1) increase proficiency with my French language skills and (2) to deepen my methodological expertise. The courses were essential both for acclimating to life in France and to developing competency in a research method that will shape my future work, respectively. Outside of campus life, I was given the opportunity to support the Philanthropy Chair’s work by attending events sponsored by the Chair and by sharing my US-based research agenda as a speaker for the Chair’s award-winning podcast that is distributed to thousands of listeners in France and across Europe. The generosity of the Chair’s leadership provided additional funding to send me to Zagreb, Croatia where I presented a portion of my dissertation research on Black philanthropies in the United States during the European Research Network on Philanthropy’s annual convening. Together, these learning and professional opportunities allowed me to embed myself within a community of researchers and practitioners in the field of philanthropy. With these engagements, I not only learned from the important work completed by others working in the sector, but I was also able to share my own research interests.


Throughout my time in France, I tried to follow the news as closely as I could. Indeed, the myriad strikes that caused service disruptions to public transit - my primary mode of travel - required a careful following of local media to know how and when my interviews with participants might be impacted. Admittedly, my novice French language skills rendered futile the many attempts to consume French news in French. That is until June 27, 2023 when 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk was shot and killed by law enforcement in Nanterre, a Paris suburb located just a few miles away from where I lived. I understood the story completely; the tragedy of the story permeated all language barriers. According to a report filed by the New York Times, Nahel was a citizen of France with ethnoracial linkages to Morocco and Algeria. In an instant, the real world and my research converged over this terribly tragic event.


In the months preceding this event, several interview participants spoke about the work that many philanthropic foundations and associations in the Paris region are engaged in to serve students and families in communities like Nahel’s. The needs are significant, according to my informants. An excerpt from the New York Times’s report demonstrates (at least in part) the nature of the conditions and challenges ethnoracial minorities face everyday. Speaking of the protesters who marched in response to the police killing, NYT spoke to the challenges this way: “...they saw their own plight as French Algerians, French Moroccans, French Muslims and Black French people living in minority-dominated enclaves in a majority-white country that professes not to see differences in color.” This excerpt, which evokes themes of power, colorblind racism, accountability, access, and democracy, mirrored the themes shared in my interviews. From this experience, I was reminded that the political and social context matters; contexts evolve even as the research unfolds. Therefore, it was important to remain aware of shifts occurring in the real world and the broader arc of struggle and progress that contextualizes the phenomenon under study. The questions raised by Nahel’s death were not new. It was necessary, then, to be mindful of relevant current and historical events and to think critically about how the context informs the questions that are asked and how those questions (and findings) are framed.


Since returning to the United States in September, I continue to read and analyze the data collected during the fellowship year and to think about Nahel’s story. My ongoing review of these materials led to deeper engagement with academic literature in topics related to race in France, education, and philanthropy’s involvement in education in the Paris region. As I look ahead to 2024, I am excited about the opportunity to share my research with the Philanthropy Chair’s community in Paris and with broader research and practitioner audiences in the United States and Europe.


My journey to the fellowship at ESSEC Business School could not have occurred without the assistance of a few communities. First, to the participants who read my invitation and agreed to speak with me in an interview, I appreciate your interest in the project and for allowing me to learn about your work. Second, the support of the Ph.D. program staff at ESSEC simply was phenomenal and made my time navigating the ESSEC campus effortless. Of course, all of the work completed is due to the incredible generosity of the Philanthropy Chair’s funders circle, several of whom shared their expertise with me and opened their networks to me over the course of the term. Finally, I extend my deepest thanks to the staff of the Philanthropy Chair, including Dr. Anne-Claire Pache, Dr. Anne Monier, and especially to Dr. Arthur Gautier, whose kind and favorable response to my email inquiries four years ago led this research fellowship."

Jeremy Martin