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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. We first piloted this approach for 2015-16 and we anticipate supporting approximately 15 fellows through this initiative each year.

Only students in the humanities and social sciences who will be entering their 5th or 6th year of doctoral study in 2018-2019 are eligible. Interested students should submit the Interdisciplinary Opportunity Application to the Graduate School by January 30, 2018. Please review the descriptions for each opportunity below as some programs may require additional application materials. Each description includes the maximum number of fellowships that may be appointed, with most centers hosting one fellow, and the contact person. The Graduate School will forward the applications of interested students to the appropriate Centers and Institutes unless otherwise indicated in the position descriptions. Students will be notified whether they have been selected in February of 2018.

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2018-2019 Opportunities

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) is able to host one fellow, in any humanities or social science discipline, whose dissertation is focused on Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinx communities around the world, and whose research and writing would benefit from being based in an interdisciplinary area studies center. The fellow’s activities within the Center will be determined based on their interest, and could include teaching, developing community partnerships, conceptualizing a workshop or speaker series, or other possibilities. The contact person for this program is the director, Jessaca LeinaweaverRead more.

The Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA) is able to host up to two fellows for students in any humanities or social science department or program whose dissertation is focused on questions related to issues of race, ethnicity or indigeneity in the United States or in a transnational/comparative framework that includes the US. Read more.

The Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice is able to host up to two fellows and encourages applications from graduate students who are focusing on questions of race, comparative slavery or colonial empires. We encourage applications from individuals who are working on the historical processes of the above as well as those interested in contemporary legacies.  Fellows will participate regularly in the on-going seminar series of the center and present his/ her scholarship at the center during the fellowship period. The primary focus of the fellow is to complete his or her dissertation, present it to the Center, and collaborate with the center faculty and staff in developing and participating in programming. Read more.

The Cogut Center for the Humanities will not be hosting Interdisciplinary Opportunity students in 2018-2019. Interested students are encouraged to apply to the Cogut Center Graduate Fellowships.

The Haffenreffer Museum is able to host one fellow. The fellow will be involved in research focusing on the museum’s collections, the museum’s collections database system, the museum’s digital presence, or another museum related topic. Read more.

The Institute at Brown for Environment and Society (IBES) is able to host up to three fellows in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who have an interest in the intersections between their research and environmental scholarship. Read more.

The John Carter Brown Library is able to host one fellow, whose dissertation topic 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. Read more.

The John Hay Library and Renaissance and Early Modern Studies are jointly able to host one fellow. Applicants are invited to propose an undergraduate course, exhibition, curatorial project, conference, or symposium that will promote collaboration between scholars of the early modern period and the John Hay Library. Read more.

The John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities is able to host up to three fellowships for students with experience in Public Humanities. Selected students will be active participants in the intellectual life of the Center and invited to join and share their scholarship at Fellows’ meetings and in a lunch talk. Students will be primarily engaged in dissertation research and writing, with mentoring available from the Center’s post-doctoral fellows, assistant directors, senior fellow, and director. In addition, the student will join one or more on-going projects at the Center. Read more.

The Joukowsky Institute for Archeology and the Ancient World is able to host up to two fellows and welcomes students from a wide range of fields to join in the interdisciplinary conversations of the Joukowsky Institute. We most of all are looking for applicants who make a compelling case for how their disciplinary perspectives and skill sets would mesh with and enhance Institute events and teaching. Read more.

The Pembroke Center is able to host up to three fellows. Up to two of the fellowships will entail a teaching assistantship in the Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies course in the Spring semester. Students would be on fellowship in the Fall term. An additional fellowship will be a proctorship for the journal differences, which will be a half-time commitment spread over two semesters. Read more.

The Population Studies and Training Center (PSTC) is able to host up to five fellows. 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. Read more.

The Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, which includes the Writing Center and English Language Learning (ELL) program, is able to up to three fellows with interest in any of the following areas: 1) Pedagogy & Education Development, 2) Writing, and 3) English Language Learning. Fellows should specify on their Interdisciplinary Opportunities application what specific position(s) within the Sheridan Center they will be applying for. Read more.

The University Library is able to host one fellow, whose dissertation research employs methodologies related to (or are conducive to incorporating) data visualization, digital humanities, geospatial data analysis, or more broadly the use of technology in the study of visual and material culture.  Read more.

The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs is able to host up to five fellows and welcomes students from a range of social-science fields to join in the interdisciplinary teaching and research activities of the institute. Selected students will have primary teaching responsibilities or serve as teaching assistants for courses in the Development Studies, International Relations, or Public Policy concentrations. Students will be on fellowship in the alternate term. Read more.


The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) is able to host one fellow, in any humanities or social science discipline, whose dissertation is focused on Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinx communities around the world, and whose research and writing would benefit from being based in an interdisciplinary area studies center. The fellow will be selected based on the quality of their research and its contribution to Latin American/Caribbean/Latinx studies. Priority will be given to students who have shown interest in and commitment to interdisciplinary engagement through prior attendance at CLACS programming.

The fellow will be in regular residence in a shared workspace in the CLACS suite, working on their dissertation and receiving mentorship in this process and, if relevant, in the Latin American Studies job market from the Center Director; from Cogut Visiting Professors in residence who are visiting from various Latin American countries; and from the Center Manager. The fellow will also regularly attend and actively participate in CLACS programming, and will present their work in a public talk at CLACS.

The Center Director will work closely with the fellow upon their selection to develop an intellectually rewarding project for the duration of the fellowship that would both meet the student’s broader career and scholarly goals, and would contribute to the distinctive interdisciplinary mission of CLACS. Some examples include: (1) for a student seeking independent teaching experience - designing and teaching an independent course during one semester, with course advice and mentorship from the Center Director and the DUS, while holding a fellowship semester in the alternate semester; (2) for a student committed to engaged scholarship - developing mutually beneficial partnerships between CLACS and organizations in Providence’s Latinx community, with the support of the Center Director, Center Manager, and Outreach Coordinator; (3) for a student focused on engaging with a broader academic community - designing a workshop or speaker series around the theme of the fellow’s research, to be funded by CLACS, mentored by the Center Director and Center Manager, and staffed by the Center Manager. (Example 1 above would be a teaching fellow for one semester and fellowship the other; examples 2-3 would be a half-time proctorship both semesters. Either breakdown is available, depending on the student’s interests.) 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 the director, Tricia Rose.

CSREA is accepting applications for up to two fellows. 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 or indigeneity in the United States or in a transnational/comparative framework that includes the US. This fellowship is designed for students who believe that they could 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 fellows 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 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; the legacies of slavery and the forms of justice which have been generated around these issues. The CSSJ is also focused on contemporary forms of human bondage. It has a public education program which consists of exhibition and series of public lectures. The center's program circles around the following research clusters: forms of contemporary human bondage; scholarship on the historic forms of slavery; curating an international exhibition on slavery and colonialism with international partners; rethinking the meaning of the archive and working with the Brown Library System to develop new archival material: and re-framing theories of Justice and Freedom.

The CSSJ seeks up to two 5th or 6th-year graduate students whose research areas falls broadly within any of these clusters. Graduate students who are focusing on questions of race in any part of the contemporary world are encouraged to apply. To be a fellow, the student will participate regularly in the on-going seminar series of the center and present his/ her research at the center during the fellowship period. The primary focus of the fellow should be to complete his or her dissertation, present it to the Center, and collaborate with the center faculty and staff in developing and participating in programming. Back to top.

Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology is able to host one fellow. The contact person for this program is the director, Robert Preucel.

The Haffenreffer Museum is able to offer one research fellowship. The research fellowship will involve conducting research focusing on the museum’s collections, the museum’s collections database system, the museum’s digital presence, or another museum related topic. 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 up to three 5th or 6th-year graduate students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences 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 and expected to occupy their office on a regular basis. They should plan to attend as many IBES sponsored seminars as possible. As a group, the successful applicants will be asked to develop and deliver a short writing workshop open to IBES graduate and undergraduate students. They may also be asked to provide guest classes in ENVS courses from time to time.

Applicants must be in good standing and address in their DCP application the ways in which their dissertation connects with environmental, natural and social science research. They must also supply a transcript and arrange to have a short letter or email from their dissertation advisor supporting the application sent to Jeanne Loewenstein by the application date of Jan 30.

IBES is committed to creating a diverse environment. All qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. Back to top.

John Carter Brown Library is able to host one fellow. The contact person for this program is Tara Kingsley.

The John Carter Brown Library proposes to host one fellow, whose dissertation topic 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 about one day/week and be active and engaged members of the international community of scholars in residence at the Library. Applicants are requested to submit their applications directly to the JCB, as well as to the Graduate School, and may be invited for an interview. Back to top.

John Hay Library and Renaissance and Early Modern Studies are jointly able to host one fellow. Applicants are invited to propose an undergraduate course, exhibition, curatorial project, conference, or symposium that will promote collaboration between scholars of the early modern period and the John Hay Library. The contact person for this program is Christopher Geissler, director of the John Hay Library.

The John Hay Library and Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (REMS) 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 deal with the early modern era (roughly 1400-1800). The John Hay Library, the special collections library of Brown University, contains some 400,000 monographs, 1,000,000 manuscripts, 500,000 pieces of sheet music, and 60,000 each of broadsides, photographs, prints, and postage stamps. While especially robust in the areas of history of science and magic, and military history, it also contains objects related to art and architecture, Asian studies, book arts, early printed books, children’s literature, history of medicine, printing and publishing history, and magic and the occult. For more on the collection visit the website of the John Hay Library

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 Christopher Geissler, who will aid in crafting a proposal. Fellows will be selected based on the quality of their research and the strength of the proposed project, which should contribute to the interdisciplinary efforts of REMS and the John Hay Library, and feature objects in the John Hay Library. The fellow will be on a TAship or proctorship for one semester and a fellowship for the other semester. The fellow will be expected to participate actively in the scholarly culture of the John Hay Library and REMS, will interact with a mentor in their field as well as the director of the Hay Library, and will be offered pace at the John Hay Library. Back to top.

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage is able to host up to three fellows. The contact person for this program is the interim director, James Egan.

The John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities proposes to host advanced graduate students as Graduate Fellows. Selected students will be active participants in the intellectual life of the Center and invited to join and share their scholarship at Fellows’ meetings and in a lunch talk. Students will be primarily engaged in dissertation research and writing, with mentoring available from the Center’s post-doctoral fellows, assistant directors, senior fellow, and director.  In addition, the student will join one or more on-going projects at the Center. Possibilities include helping to plan a conference, collaborating with others to prepare an exhibit, arts performance, or other public program; assisting with a digital public humanities project; co-writing grant proposals; attending meetings on new projects; engaging with the community partnership program; or collaborating with the director on national and international projects. These opportunities will give students experience in a range of public humanities that will help them showcase their experience for academic or non-academic job searches. The Graduate Fellows will not take full responsibility for any project but will, in consultation with the Center director, use about 10% of their time to gain important skills in Public Humanities engagement as part of teams of students, staff and faculty.

We seek students with experience in Public Humanities, preferably with an MA in Public Humanities from our program, but would accept a student who could present equivalent experience while a student or prior to graduate school. Fellows will be offered shared space at the Center. These opportunities are designed to give PhD students in-depth knowledge and experience in the field of Public Humanities, a field that often calls for digital skills, expertise in interacting with communities, grant writing, project management, and the conception and execution of public projects. 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 Jessica Porter.

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 his or her research interests and a relevant aspect of material culture studies is encouraged to apply. We most of all 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, we 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 contacts for this program are Associate Director Drew Walker and Interim Director Bonnie Honig.

The Pembroke Center invites applications for up to three 5th or 6th-year graduate fellowships. Up to two of the fellowships will entail a teaching assistantship in the Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies course (GNSS 0120) in the Spring semester. Students would be on fellowship in the Fall term. An additional fellowship will be a proctorship for the journal differences, which will be a half-time commitment spread over two semesters. Successful applicants are welcome to participate in the Pembroke Research Seminar and other Center activities. Back to top.

Population Studies and Training Center is able to host up to three fellows. The contact person for this program is the Training Program Director, Zhenchao Qian.

The PSTC welcomes applications for up to three Fellowships for 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 8 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 English Language Learning (ELL) program, is able to up to three fellows with interest in any of the following areas: 1) Pedagogy & Education Development, 2) Writing, and 3) English Language Learning. Fellows should specify on their Interdisciplinary Opportunities application what specific position(s) within the Sheridan Center they will be applying for.

Pedagogy & Educational Development. The fellow will be interested in pedagogy and educational development and will engage in a full-year proctorship focused on interdisciplinary educational development work. The contact person for this program is Associate Director for Humanities and Social Sciences, Jessica Metzler.

The fellow will work with Sheridan Center staff to help develop, support, and implement interdisciplinary professional development programs related to teaching for a graduate student audience. These programs may include both in-person and online workshops, courses, and/or an orientation or mini-conference. The fellow will also research, write, and edit teaching-related print and online resources, to gain better fluency in the scholarship of teaching and learning. During the course of the proctorship, the fellow will be expected to be in residence in Providence and regularly attend Sheridan Center events and meetings.

In the Interdisciplinary Opportunity Statement, applicants should include a description of their previous work with the Sheridan Center (including Certificates completed), the relationship of teaching and/or educational development to their professional goals, and previous experience and interest in working with digital tools (e.g. Canvas, multi-media tools, etc.) and/or online learning.

Writing Center: Writing. The fellow will be interested in pedagogies of teaching writing one-to-one, teaching writing across the curriculum, and/or program assessment. The contact person for this program is the Associate Director, Stacy Kastner.

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 students who have experience working in Brown’s Writing Center. 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, developing and implementing writing workshops and retreats for undergraduate and/or graduate students, participating in program assessment for the Writing Center, Writing Fellows Program, or Excellence at Brown.

The successful Fellow will be appointed to full-year, half-time proctorship (10 hours per week) and have shared office space in the Writing Center on the 5th floor of the Sciences Library. Active participation in the Writing Center’s Leadership Committee, monthly professional development meetings, and various outreach activities will be expected.

English Language Learning (ELL). The ELL proctorship provides an opportunity to work with Brown’s international and multilingual communities on all aspects of English language acquisition, including writing, grammar, oral communication, and cultural considerations. The contact person for this position is the assistant director of English Language Learning, Anne Kerkian.

The Fellow will be appointed to full-year, half-time proctorship (10 hours per week). Under the mentorship of the ELL team, the fellow will learn about best practices in English language teaching and cross-cultural communication while being given creative freedom to design and deliver academic support workshops for Brown’s multilingual population. The fellow will have the chance to work one-on-one with students to provide individualized support and will also have the opportunity to collaborate with other campus support units on initiatives or programming. In addition to enhancing ELL and cross-cultural supports on campus, the ELL Fellow will gain valuable professional experience that is broadly applicable on increasingly global campuses. Back to top.

University Library is able to host one fellow. The contact person for this program is Harriette Hammasi, University Librarian. 

The University Library is able to host one fellow whose dissertation research employs methodologies related to (or are conducive to incorporating) data visualization, digital humanities, geospatial data analysis, or more broadly the use of technology in the study of visual and material culture. Collaborating in the Library’s Digital Scholarship Lab and with specialists in geospatial data, scientific data, digital humanities, and/or data visualization, the fellow will receive direct training and assistance in applying the appropriate visualization, data analysis, and web tools to research questions germane to their dissertation topics. The fellow will enhance his/her research, presentation, and publications skills and will gain valuable knowledge for future research, teaching, or other work environments through enhanced knowledge and application of digital methods and tools which are integral to how ideas are made and communicated, and are intended to analyze, visualize, or manipulate data in pursuit of research goals. The fellow will be expected to participate in regularly scheduled activities in the Digital Scholarship Lab and Studio and make regularly scheduled presentations on his/her scholarship.

The fellow will be appointed as to a full-year Proctorship and will contribute to the Library either by participating in a library project or by documenting his/her processes and strategies, developing instructional materials and documentation that can be used by others (with an anticipated commitment of approximately 6-8 hours per week). At the conclusion of the fellowship, the Fellow will submit an evaluation of his/her 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. Office space will be available for the Fellow. Back to top.

Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs is able to host up to five fellows. The contacts for this program are Watson Institute director Edward Steinfield and associate director Steven Bloomfield.

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 Development Studies, International Relations, or Public Policy concentrations. 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