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Interdisciplinary Opportunities in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Hear about participants' experiences.Hear about participants' experiences.Brown offers interdisciplinary opportunities to support advanced graduate students in the humanities and social sciences. These opportunities provide an enhanced context for advanced doctoral students, allowing them to engage in the activities of interdisciplinary Centers and Institutes at Brown. They are designed to embed students in a community of scholars, with professional development and research opportunities, in order to support students as they complete their degrees and launch their careers.

The Graduate School anticipates supporting approximately 16 fellows through this initiative each year, with most Centers and Institutes hosting one fellow.

Only students in the humanities and social sciences who will be entering their 5th or 6th year of doctoral study in 2023-2024 are eligible. Interested students should submit the Interdisciplinary Opportunity Application to the Graduate School by March 1, 2023 through UFunds under “Graduate School Humanities and Social Sciences Advanced Student Funding.” Please review the descriptions for each opportunity below as some programs may require additional application materials.

Application Components:

  • For students submitting applications to two centers, two applications are required.
  • Student Application in UFUNDS includes:
    - Dissertation Project Description
    - Dissertation Completion Plan
    - CV or Graduate School Digital CV
  • Recommender form in UFUNDS(applicant enters the appropriate email addresses; recommenders will receive an email with the form):
    - Faculty Advisor: Brief letter of Support
    - DGS: Brief Message of Support and Confirmation of Good Standing

Application

2023-2024 Opportunities

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies 
The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) invites applications for up to two one-year Interdisciplinary Opportunity fellows.Fellows will contribute to the Seminar by collaborating with the Center’s Director and staff to coordinate workshops and other related events; design and plan graduate and undergraduate student involvement in the Seminar, as well as community outreach; conduct research related to Seminar activities; and write up summaries of the events. The fellows will meet regularly with the Center Director, staff, and steering committee members. The Interdisciplinary Opportunity positions aim to build communication, creative problem-solving, analytical, research, and management skills.

Fellows will be appointed to a Proctorship for Fall and Spring, with a half-time service appointment over the two semesters. Office space at the Center may be available. Back to top.

The Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA) is able to host up to two fellows. The contact person for this program is Acting Director, Stéphanie Larrieux.

This fellowship is for 5th or 6th-year graduate students in any humanities or social science department or program whose dissertation is focused on questions related to issues of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity in the United States or in a transnational/comparative framework that includes the U.S. This fellowship is designed for students who will benefit from an interdisciplinary environment where their research is supported and who wish to support the research associated with CSREA. All fellows at CSREA will be expected to share their research and consistently attend the CSREA Fellows Seminar, which meets approximately five times a semester and includes faculty and postdoctoral fellows. In addition, we expect our graduate fellows to spend regular time at CSREA, to be active and regular participants in seminars, workshops, and lectures organized by CSREA. Back to top.

The Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice (CSSJ) is able to host up to two fellows. The contact person for this program is the director, Anthony Bogues.

The CSSJ is a center which examines the historical forms of slavery, the ways that these forms have shaped the modern world and how questions of freedom and justice have been generated by this historical condition. The CSSJ also focuses on contemporary forms of human bondage. It has a public humanities program which consists of an exhibition and series of public lectures. The CSSJ research program circles around the following research clusters: forms of contemporary human bondage; scholarship on the historic forms of slavery; the relationship between slavery, colonialism and democracy; the relationship between race, slavery and capitalism; and curating an international exhibition on slavery and colonialism with international partners. The center hosts a vibrant interdisciplinary research cluster on race, slavery and medical knowledge. 

The CSSJ seeks 5th or 6th year graduate students whose research areas falls broadly within any of these clusters. Graduate students who are focusing on questions of historical injustice and racial slavery in any part of the contemporary world are also encouraged to apply. Responsibilities of the fellowship will include coordination and participation in the on-going seminar series of the center and present their research at the center during the fellowship period. The primary focus of the fellow should be to complete the dissertation, present it to the Center, and collaborate with the center faculty and staff in developing and participating in programming. Back to top.

Institute at Brown for Environment and Society is able to host up to three fellows. The contact person for this program is Jeanne Loewenstein

IBES offers fellowships for 5th- or 6th-year graduate students who have an interest in the intersections between their research and environmental scholarship. Successful applicants will be hosted in the Building for Environmental Research and Teaching at 85 Waterman and expected to occupy their office on a regular basis. They should plan to attend as many IBES sponsored seminars as possible. Successful applicants will be expected to support one of our ongoing projects that best falls in line with their research, such as Equitable Climate Futures.

Applicants must be in good standing and address in their application the ways in which their dissertation connects with IBES’s mission to understand natural, human and social systems. Back to top.

John Carter Brown Library is able to host one fellow. The contact person for this program is Pedro Germano Leal, Assistant Director for Digital Initiatives.

The John Carter Brown (JCB) Library fellow should have a dissertation topic that relates to the early history and culture of the Americas and whose research and writing would benefit from privileged and sustained access to the resources of the John Carter Brown Library, one of the world’s most renowned collections of early Americana. While primarily engaged in dissertation research, fellows are expected to collaborate closely with leading curatorial experts on a Library project and be active and engaged members of the international community of scholars in residence at the Library. Fellows are appointed to a half-time proctorship both semesters. Applicants may be invited for an interview. Back to top.

Joukowsky Institute for Archeology and the Ancient World is able to host up to two fellows. The contact person for this program is Sarah Sharpe.

The Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World welcomes students from a wide range of fields to join in and extend our interdisciplinary conversations and scholarship. Any student who sees a compelling connection between research interests and a relevant aspect of material culture studies is encouraged to apply. They are looking for applicants who make a persuasive case for how their disciplinary perspectives and skill sets would mesh with, diversify, and enhance Institute events, exhibit space, and/or teaching. While some familiarity with either material culture or the Mediterranean, whether in the distant or recent past, is encouraged as a shared basis for interdisciplinary dialogues, they welcome and indeed look for other disciplinary backgrounds in, for instance, visual arts, anthropology, public humanities, environmental studies, theater, materials engineering, and many others.

Students are invited to propose, and then to realize—ideally in collaboration with members of the Institute—a course, exhibition, public research project or publication, seminar series, or combination of these, that would make a distinctive contribution to the wide-ranging curriculum and dynamic intellectual and social life of the Joukowsky Institute. Students will be appointed to a TAship or project-based proctorship in one term and a fellowship in the alternate term. Active participation in Institute events and activities is expected. Fellows will be offered shared space, and the opportunity for discussion about and feedback on their own scholarship. Back to top.

Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women is able to host up to three fellows. The contact for this program is the Director of the Gender and Sexuality Studies Graduate Certificate Program, Denise Davis.

The Pembroke Center is a feminist research center devoted to critical scholarship on the struggles faced by people across national and transnational contexts whose gender identity or sexual orientation make them targets of epistemological, medical, economic, ontological, and other social violence. Since its founding in 1981, the Pembroke Center has sought to confront societal challenges across borders by interrogating the foundations of categories used to differentiate and hierarchize individuals and groups—including gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, citizenship, and class—and how those categories intersect and mutually produce each other.

The Pembroke Center invites applications from 5th- or 6th-year graduate students. This fellowship is designed for students who would benefit from interdisciplinary teaching experience or from experience working at an interdisciplinary academic journal. Up to two will serve as teaching assistants for the Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies class in spring 2024 (20 hours per week), with the fall 2023 semester being a research fellowship. Candidates familiar with critical methods and foundational questions in GNSS preferred. One fellow will serve as an editorial assistant for differences; this will be a half-time position (10 hours a week) for two semesters. The journal proctor will work closely with the editors on submissions as well as assist with editorial tasks and contribute to special issue ideas. Candidates should be versed in critical or cultural theory and interested in current trends and debates in the humanities, especially in gender and sexuality studies. Excellent writing skills in English are essential. Applicants’ preferences, where indicated, will be taken into consideration. Proctors will be encouraged but not required to participate in Pembroke Center programming, including the Pembroke Research Seminar, which will be led in 2023–24 by Professor Patricia Ybarra  and titled “De-Colonial Retro-Speculation.” Back to top.

Population Studies and Training Center (PTSC) is able to host up to two fellows. The contact person for this program is the Training Program Director, Margot Jackson.

The PSTC welcomes applications from 5th or 6th year students in the social sciences. Applicants will be selected based on the quality of their research and its contribution to population studies. Priority will be given to students who have shown interest in and commitment to population studies through prior participation in the PSTC training program and population-related coursework. 

Fellows will be expected to be in residence in Providence, and to regularly work in the PSTC. They will be provided desk space with a computer and computing support. They will be expected to participate in the intellectual life of the Center through attending the weekly seminar series and participating in workshops and relevant working groups. In addition, they will contribute no more than eight hours a week over the course of the academic year to support PSTC research, teaching, and training activities. The nature of the activities will be individually negotiated in order to appropriately contribute to the professional development of the student. These activities could include research or teaching support, coordinating workshops or working groups, assisting with preparation of IRB applications in the student's general research area, working with the Center Director or Associate Director to prepare data for center grant applications, or assisting faculty with organizing a conference in the student's general research area. Back to top.

The Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, which includes the Writing Center and Digital Teaching and Learning hub, is able to support up to two fellows with interest in the Writing Center and/or Digital Teaching and Learning. Fellows should specify on their application what specific position(s) within the Sheridan Center for which they would like to be considered.

Writing Center. The fellow will be interested in pedagogies of teaching writing one-to-one, teaching writing across the curriculum, program administration, and/or program assessment. The contact for this program is Charlie Carroll, Associate Director for Graduate Writing -- applicants are welcome to reach out with any questions before the application deadline.

Applicants will be selected based on their experience working with writers at the college level and their demonstrated commitment to pedagogies of access and inclusion. Priority will be given to those who have experience with Sheridan programs (such as completion of the Sheridan Teaching Seminar, work as a Writing Associate, Teaching Consultant, or other Sheridan experience) and/or previous experience working at another institution's writing center or peer writing tutors program. Applicants without experience working in a writing center should be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the work and mission of writing centers. With the Interdisciplinary Opportunities application, applicants should also submit a teaching philosophy statement.

Though the particulars of this opportunity will be negotiated with the successful candidate in order to best pair with their professional development goals and objectives, possible responsibilities may include: developing open-access resource materials for teaching writing across the curriculum, collaborating on professional development and DEI initiatives for Writing Center Associates and Writing Fellows, providing direct mentorship to undergraduate writing tutors, developing and implementing writing workshops and retreats for undergraduate and/or graduate students, or participating in programming for the Writing Center and Writing Fellows Program.

The successful fellow will be appointed to a full-year, half-time proctorship (10 hours per week). Active participation in the Writing Center’s Leadership Committee, monthly professional development meetings, and various outreach activities will be expected.

Digital Teaching and Learning. The fellow will be interested in working with graduate student professional development around digital pedagogies, teaching with digital tools, blended course design, and/or leveraging digital tools to assess student learning. The contact for this program is Eric Kaldor, Senior Associate Director for Assessment and Interdisciplinary Teaching Communities -- applicants are welcome to reach out with any questions before the application deadline.

Applicants will be selected based on their experience working with some of the following: inclusive teaching principles and techniques, universal design for learning, digital accessibility, and online or hybrid teaching strategies. In addition, applicants are encouraged to include examples of how applicants have explored or experimented with digital tools in their teaching or digital teaching and learning strategies as a CV section or in their teaching statement. Priority will be given to those who have experience with Sheridan programs (such as completion of the Sheridan Teaching Seminar, work as a Writing Associate, Teaching Consultant, or other Sheridan experience). With the Interdisciplinary Opportunities application, applicants should also submit a teaching philosophy statement.

Though the particulars of this opportunity will be negotiated with the successful candidate in order to best pair with their professional development goals and objectives, possible responsibilities may include: benchmarking digital pedagogy programs for graduate students, organizing and facilitating programs for graduate students on how specific digital tools address specific teaching challenges, developing an annotated bibliography around evidence-based practices in digital teaching and learning, and leading focus groups with graduate students to determine their priorities for learning in this space.

The successful fellow will be appointed to a full-year, half-time fellowship (10 hours per week). Weekly project meetings, timely updates to project management documentation, and routine participation in meetings with members of the Assessment and Interdisciplinary Teaching Communities and Digital Learning and Design hubs of the Sheridan Center are expected.

The fellow will be interested in working with graduate student professional development around digital pedagogies, teaching with digital tools, blended course design, and/or leveraging digital tools to assess student learning. The contact for this program is Eric Kaldor, Senior Associate Director for Assessment and Interdisciplinary Teaching Communities -- applicants are welcome to reach out with any questions before the application deadline. Back to top.

University Library is able to host up to four fellows, in the Center for Library Exploration and Research (CLEAR), the Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS), John Hay Library and Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, and Racial Justice Resource Center.

Center for Library Exploration and Research. The contact person for this program is Niamh McGuigan, Director of Library Exploration and Research. 

The Center for Library Exploration and Research (CLEAR) at the Brown University Library seeks a graduate student fellow for 2023-2024 whose research areas intersect with or can be applied to issues in libraries and information science, and who is interested in gaining experience in developing programs to support student research skills.  This is a full year opportunity, with the expectation that the fellow will devote half of their time to research (10 hours per week), and half of their time to service to the Center (10 hours per week). However, other arrangements can be considered. The fellow will be provided with office space in the Library. 

The Center for Library Exploration and Research (CLEAR) is a transformative new center in the University Library, aimed at exploring new approaches for teaching core research skills and supporting researchers at all levels. CLEAR administers a suite of programs for library and information literacy education, campus outreach, faculty development, and community engagement, and looks for ways to foster academic community in and around the Library. CLEAR also supports exploration of key issues and practices in libraries, to provide opportunities for critique and transformation of library services and operations. 

CLEAR is looking for applicants from a broad range of backgrounds whose research interests, disciplinary perspectives, and prior training will inform and potentially enhance Library work in areas related to information literacy, research methods, scholarly communication and publishing, user experience, community engagement, diversity and inclusion, student success, and other key issues for libraries and archives. This fellowship will be of particular interest to graduate students who are interested in gaining experience with teaching research methods and information literacies (broadly defined) in a variety of contexts and settings. Applicants are welcome to contact the Center director before submitting an application to discuss the library context and explore potential research intersections. 

The full details of the fellowship opportunity will be negotiated with the fellow, to craft an experience that best supports the goals of both the student and the Library. Fellows will be expected to share their research with members of the Library staff, and actively participate in CLEAR events and meetings.  In addition, the fellow will participate in the on-going work of the Center to develop new paradigms for teaching and supporting research. Possible responsibilities may include contributing to the development of a new Library-wide orientation program; programs to support undergraduate and/or graduate student research skills (such as designing collaborative research projects, leading a learning community, or designing a workshop series); developing outreach programs for library users; and working with library staff to develop information literacy learning goals and curricula. 

At the conclusion of the fellowship, the fellow will submit an evaluation of their experience, reflecting on substantive issues, needs and capabilities that might be appropriate for the Library’s future work with other graduate students and faculty in their research endeavors.  

The Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS). The contact person for this program is Ashley Champagne, Director of the Center for Digital Scholarship.

The Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) is looking for one fellow with interest and/or experience in using digital tools and methods for research for 2023-2024. The anticipated time commitment is 6-8 hours per week.  The fellow will be provided with office space in the Library.

The fellow will serve the Brown community in collaboration with the CDS staff experts by offering consultations to faculty and students, presenting on their own scholarly work, and participating in CDS meetings and other activities. The fellow will have the opportunity to assist with each of the current CDS specialties: text mining, data visualization, data analysis, scientific data management, geospatial information, scholarly communications, web design, and digital publishing. There is room to shape the position to fit the fellow’s specific expertise and interests. 

A few examples of how the fellow might contribute to the Library's dynamic environment for digital scholarship are:

  • Developing a faculty digital project with the CDS team
  • Creating documentation and other materials related to the fellow's own work to contribute to knowledge of digital scholarly practice
  • Advising other graduate students on using digital tools for their research  

At the conclusion of the fellowship, the fellow will submit an evaluation of their experience, reflecting on substantive issues, needs and capabilities that might be appropriate for the Library’s future work with other graduate students and faculty in their research endeavors.  

John Hay Library and Center for the Study of the Early Modern World. The John Hay Library and the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World offer a joint fellowship for 2023-2024. Applicants are invited to design an undergraduate course incorporating primary source material, an exhibition, a curatorial project, a conference, or a symposium that will promote collaboration between scholars of the early modern period and the John Hay Library. The anticipated time commitment is 8-10 hours per week. The fellow will be provided with office space in the Library.

The John Hay Library is home to Brown University’s remarkable collections of rare books, manuscripts, and archival material. The Hay’s collections include more than three million items that range from 2000 BCE Babylonian clay tablets, Egyptian papyri, medieval manuscripts and early printed incunabula to contemporary literature, ephemera and digital materials, with the bulk of its holdings dating from the 16th through 20th centuries. The Library’s holdings feature a wide and diverse range of materials and unique objects pertaining to various areas of study of the Early Modern world, comprising art and architecture, Asian studies, Islamic studies, humanism and Latin writing, vernacular literature in European languages, popular performance (especially theater, fairs, fireworks, and magicana), book arts, printing and publishing history, children’s literature, history of medicine, history of science, military iconography, caricature, festival books and the occult. Information on these and other pertinent Special Collections, can be accessed on the website of the John Hay Library.

The John Hay Library and the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World welcome proposals that engage with the John Hay Library and its collections. Applications will be accepted from 5th and 6th-year graduate students in any discipline of the humanities or social sciences whose dissertation topics fall within the early modern period of 1300-1900. Recently appointed fellows have worked in a variety of fields including Anthropology, English Literature, Italian Studies and Theatre Studies, taking advantage of the Chambers Dante Collection and the John Hay Library’s extensive resources in early modern antiquarianism, in Arabic and Persian literature and in the history of medicine.

In addition to the Interdisciplinary Opportunities application form, applicants should submit a CV and a two-page (double spaced) description of their project along with a bibliography of materials to be engaged with at the Hay. Before submission, applicants should discuss their ideas for this Fellowship with a faculty advisor and William S. Monroe, who will offer guidance on devising an appropriate proposal. The selection of fellows is based on the quality of their research and the strength of the proposed project, which should contribute to the interdisciplinary endeavors of the Center for the Early Modern World at Brown and the John Hay Library, featuring materials from its collections. The fellow will be on a TAship or proctorship for one semester and a fellowship for the other semester. The appointed fellow, who will be expected to be an active participant in the scholarly activities of the Center and the John Hay Library, will communicate regularly with staff at the Hay, interacting with a mentor in the relevant field as well as the Associate University Librarian for Special Collections.

Racial Justice Resource Center. The newly formed Racial Justice Resource Center (RJRC) in the Rockefeller Library is looking for one fellow with interest and/or experience in collection development, exhibit curation, and program development focused on Racial Justice for 2023-24. The fellow will be provided with office space in the Library. 

The RJRC will serve as a hub of Racial Justice information for interdisciplinary scholarly engagement for the Brown University campus. The fellow will serve the Brown community in developing collections, exhibitions, and programming related to racial justice. This fellowship will be of interest to students who are interested in expanding knowledge of the history of racial justice, public engagement, and exhibit development.

Possible responsibilities include contributing to the development of secondary resources collection integrating racial justice, developing content for physical and digital exhibitions, planning and implementing public events, engaging with campus and community partners. Applicants are welcome to contact the DEI director before applying to discuss the opportunity.

At the conclusion of the fellowship, the fellow will submit an evaluation of their experience, reflecting on substantive issues, needs and capabilities that might be appropriate for the Library’s future work with other graduate students and faculty in their research endeavors. The contact person for this program is Kenvi Phillips, Director of Library Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Back to top.

Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs is able to host up to two fellows. The contact people for this program are the Watson Institute Director Edward Steinfeld and Undergraduate Concentrations Manager Anita Nester.

The Watson Institute welcomes students from a range of social-science fields to join in the interdisciplinary teaching and research of the institute. Watson looks for applicants who make a compelling case for how their disciplinary perspectives, research projects and teaching experience will contribute to and enhance the work of the institution, especially within its three research programs: development, governance and security.  

Selected students will have primary teaching responsibilities or serve as teaching assistants for courses in the International and Public Affairs (IAPA)  concentration. Students will be on fellowship in the alternate term. Interested students should indicate their preference and qualifications for these appointments. Active participation in the events and activities of the Watson Institute will be expected. Back to top.