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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 2021-2022 are eligible. Interested students should submit the Interdisciplinary Opportunity Application to the Graduate School by January 29, 2021 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. Students will be notified whether they have been selected in February of 2021.

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
  • Recommender form in UFUNDS includes (applicant enters the appropriate email addresses; recommenders will receive an email with the form):
    - Faculty Advisor: Letter of Support
    - DGS: Brief Message of Support and Confirmation of Good Standing


2021-2022 Opportunities

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) is able to host up to two fellows, in any humanities or social science discipline, whose dissertation is focused on Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinx communities and the Caribbean diaspora around the world, and whose research and writing would benefit from being based in an interdisciplinary area studies center. The contact for this program is Interim Director of Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Visiting Professor Patsy Lewis.

The fellow will be selected based on the quality of their research and its contribution to Latin American/Caribbean/Latinx studies and Caribbean diaspora studies. Priority will be given to students who have shown interest in and commitment to interdisciplinary engagement through prior involvement with CLACS.

The fellow will be in regular residence in a shared workspace in the CLACS suite, receiving mentorship on dissertation writing and the Latin American Studies job market from the Center Director; the Director of Undergraduate Study (DUS); Cogut Visiting Professors representing various Latin American countries; and 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. Options include, but are not limited to, the following:

  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 (courses designed by previous holders of this position include The Art of Revolution in Latin America and Latin American Authors Encounter the Sciences);
  2. for a student committed to engaged scholarship - developing mutually beneficial partnerships between CLACS and organizations in Providence’s Latinx and Caribbean communities, with the support of the Center Director, DUS, and Center Manager and in coordination with the Swearer Center;
  3. for a student focused on engaging with a broader academic community - designing a graduate student symposium, a workshop, or a speaker series related to a 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.

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 U.S. 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 (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 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 knowledges. 

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 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.

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 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 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. 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 (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 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 Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage is able to host up to two fellows. The contact person for this program is the Director, Dietrich Neumann

The John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities proposes to host up to two 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, faculty and community fellows, and director. In addition, the student will join one or more on-going projects at the Center. Students might help plan a conference, collaborate on exhibits, performances, or other public programs; assist with a digital public humanities project; engage with the community partnership program; or collaborate with the director on national and international projects. These opportunities will help students 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.

The Center seeks students with experience in Public Humanities, with an MA or Graduate Certificate in Public Humanities, 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, 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. 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 Interim Associate Director, Jeremy Lehnen.

The Pembroke Center invites applications from 5th- or 6th-year graduate students. 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 (PTSC) 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 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, Digital Learning and Design, and English Language Support program, is able to support up to two fellows with interest in the Writing Center, Digital Learning and Design, and/or English Language Support. 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, and/or program assessment. The contact people for this program is the Assistant Director of the Writing Center Coordinator, Charles Carroll.

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, or previous experience working at another institution's writing center. 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 for Writing Center Associates, developing and implementing writing workshops and retreats for undergraduate and/or graduate students, or participating in program assessment for the Writing Center, Writing Fellows Program, or Excellence at Brown.

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.

English Language Support (ELS). The fellow will be interested in working 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 Anne Kerkian, Senior Associate Director for Writing and English Language Support.

The Fellow will be appointed to full-year 10-hour per week proctorship. Under the mentorship of the ELS team, they will engage with best practices in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) and cross-cultural communication while being given creative freedom to design and deliver support for Brown’s multilingual population. The fellow will have the chance to work one-on-one with students to provide individualized support and also to collaborate with other campus support units on programming. In addition to enhancing English language and inclusivity initiatives on campus, the Fellow will gain valuable professional experience that is broadly applicable on increasingly global campuses.In addition to the other requisite materials, applicants should submit a statement of teaching philosophy.

Digital Learning and Design. The fellow will be interested in supporting the design and implementation of faculty and student digital projects in pursuit of teaching, learning, and research. This would include identifying innovative technologies, informing the development of new tools, applying effective research and assessment methodologies, partnering with faculty and collaborating with instructional designers.The contact person for this role is James Foley, Senior Associate Director, Digital Learning & Design.

The Fellow will be appointed to full-year, half-time proctorship (10 hours per week) working under the mentorship of Digital Learning & Design instructional design team. Back to top.

University Library is able to host two fellows: one in the Center for Digital Scholarship; and one jointly between the John Hay Library and the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World.

The Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) is able to host one fellow.  The contact person for this program is Deputy University Librarian Nora Dimmock.

The Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) invites applications from students whose dissertation research and scholarly interests involve the use of digital tools and methods. The fellow will receive direct training and assistance from CDS’s staff experts in digital scholarly methods and practices germane to their dissertation work (e.g., text mining, data visualization, data analysis, scientific data management, geospatial information, scholarly communications, web design, and digital publishing), and be part of the CDS community. Enhanced knowledge of and experience with digital scholarship methods and tools will provide the fellow with valuable skills for future research and teaching positions as well as other kinds of specialist academic employment opportunities. The fellow will be expected to participate in CDS meetings and activities, and make presentations on their own scholarly work. The anticipated time commitment is up to ten hours per week, and the fellow will be provided with office space within the Library.

The fellow will contribute to the Library’s dynamic environment for digital scholarship in a number of ways. For example, the fellow might participate as part of the CDS team developing a faculty digital project. Another possibility is creating documentation and other materials related to the fellow's own work to contribute to knowledge of digital scholarly practice. 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 John Hay Library and Center for the Study of the Early Modern World  The contacts for this program are Amanda Strauss, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections, and Holly Snyder, Curator of American Historical Collections and History of Science.

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 theatre, 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 Holly Snyder, 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 Study of 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. Back to top.

Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs is able to host up to five fellows. The contact people for this program are the 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.