Sawyer Seminars Funding Available from Mellon Foundation

As part of their funding for Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation‘s Sawyer Seminars provide support for comparative research on the historical and cultural sources of contemporary developments. The seminars have brought together faculty, foreign visitors, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from a variety of fields mainly, but not exclusively, in the humanities and social sciences, for intensive study of subjects chosen by the participants. Foundation support aims to engage productive scholars in comparative inquiry that would (in ordinary university circumstances) be difficult to pursue, while at the same time avoiding the institutionalization of such work in new centers, departments, or programs. Sawyer Seminars are, in effect, temporary research centers.

Each seminar normally meets for one year.  Faculty participants have largely come from the humanities and social sciences, although faculty members from professional schools have also been key participants in a number of seminars.  Seminar leaders are encouraged also to invite participants from nearby institutions.  As the Foundation reviews proposals, preference is given to those that include concrete plans for engaging participants with diverse affiliations.

Sawyer Seminar awards provide support for one postdoctoral fellow to be recruited through a national (or international) competition, and for the dissertation research of two graduate students.  It is expected that the graduate students will be active participants in the seminars, and the seminars’ contributions to graduate education in the humanities and social sciences will be carefully considered even though they are not intended to be organized as official credit-bearing courses.

There is no requirement that they produce a written product.

Selection and Award Process
Institutions are invited to submit proposals for a Sawyer Seminar.  It is expected that university administrators and others will communicate the Foundation’s invitation and the particulars of the program broadly to the faculty.  Institutions are to decide through an internal process which proposals they will submit to the Foundation for consideration.

Proposals should describe:  (1) the originality and significance of the central questions to be addressed; (2) the cases to be compared (e.g., nations, regions, social aggregates, time periods) and the rationale for the comparisons that are selected; (3) the thematic “threads” that will run through the seminar; (4) the institution’s resources and suitability for the proposed seminar; and (5) the procedures to be used in selecting graduate and postdoctoral fellows. Additionally, proposals should include a budget and a well-developed preliminary plan for the seminar that outlines the specific topics to be addressed in each session and provides the names and qualifications of the scholars who would ideally participate.

After they are submitted to the Foundation, proposals are reviewed by an advisory committee of distinguished scholars. In a typical year, approximately two-thirds of proposals are recommended for funding. The panel has the option of recommending that proposals not funded but adjudged to be promising be resubmitted in a subsequent year. The seminars recommended by the committee are put before the Foundation’s Board of Trustees for its approval.

Following approval by the Foundation’s Trustees, funds are disbursed to the host institution. Past experience suggests that it can take a year or more to organize the seminars.


Maximum awards are determined with each competition and are included in the letter of invitation. It is expected that each seminar’s budget will provide for a postdoctoral fellowship to be awarded for the year the seminar meets, and two dissertation fellowships for graduate students to be awarded for the seminar year or the year that follows. The amount for postdoctoral fellowship awards and dissertation fellowship stipends should follow institutional practices. Travel and living expenses for short stays by visiting scholars and the costs of coordinating the seminar, including those incurred for speakers and their travel, may be included. The grants may not, however, be used for the costs of release time for regular faculty participants, or for indirect costs.

A few examples of past seminars:

• Tufts University, “Comparative Global Humanities,” Lisa Lowe, Kris Manjapra, and Kamran Rastegar
• University of California at Irvine, “Documenting War,” Carol Burke and Cècile Whiting
• University of California at Santa Cruz, “Non-Citizenship,” Catherine Ramirez, Juan Poblete, Felicity Amaya Schaeffer, and Sylvanna Falcón
• University of Illinois at Chicago, “Geographies of Justice:  A Scholarly and Public Dialogue Series about the Contested Terrain and Meaning of Freedom in the 21st Century World,” Barbara Ransby

Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowships (Germany)

Humanities Postdocs for Study/Research in Germany

Each academic year, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Volkswagen Foundation fund up to twelve Post-doctoral Fellowships in the Humanities for stays of 9 to 12 months in Germany. The cooperating institutions are: the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, the Lichtenberg-Kolleg in Göttingen, the Exzellence Cluster and the Zukunftskolleg der Universität Konstanz, the Dahlem Humanities Center, Freie Universität Berlin, the Berliner Zentrum Moderner Orient, the Deutsche Archäologische Institut (DIA) in Berlin, the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek in Frankfurt, the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, the Deutsche Literaturarchiv in Marbach, the Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz (IEG) and the Leopoldina Centre for the Study of the History of Science and Science Academies at Halle (Saale).

The Fellowships address postdocs at American universities and research institutes working in the Humanities who wish to spend some time in Germany working on a research project.

Visit Volkswagen’s main site for more information. Applications must be filed electronically via the electronic application system. Application deadline is October 15, 2014.

Mellon Postdocs @ U IL

Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowships in the Humanities, 2014-2016

The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, seeks to hire two Post-Doctoral Fellows for two-year appointments starting in Fall 2014.

The Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellows in the Humanities will spend the two-year term in residence at Illinois, will conduct research on the proposed project, and will teach two courses per year in the appropriate academic department. The Fellows will also participate in activities related to their research at the IPRH, in the teaching department, and on the Illinois campus. Each Post-Doctoral Fellow will give a public lecture on his or her research.

The search for Mellon Fellows is open to scholars in all humanities disciplines, but we seek applicants whose work falls into one of the following broad subject areas:
*       Race and Diaspora Studies
*       History of Science/Technology
*       Empire and Colonial Studies
*       Memory Studies

The fellowship carries a $45,000 annual stipend, a $2,000 research account, and a comprehensive benefits package. To be eligible for consideration, applicants must have received their Ph.D. between January 1, 2009 and August 31, 2013 (i.e., PhD in hand by application period).

Application Deadline: October 28, 2013

Detailed eligibility requirements and application guidelines can be found here.

Applications must be submitted online. The submission period opens September 1, 2013.

Please address questions about these fellowships to: Dr. Nancy Castro, Associate Director of IPRH, at ncastro AT


ACLS Public Fellows

ACLS Public Fellows
Fellowship Details

Stipend: $50,000 – $78,000 dependent on position. Health benefits will also be provided.
Tenure: Two years; start dates will vary but range from September 2011 to as late as February 2012 (if security clearance is necessary)
The only way to apply for these positions is through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system ( Please do not contact any of the agencies directly.
Application deadline: May 16, 2011, 3pm (EDT)
Notification of application status will occur early July 2011.
ACLS invites applications for the inaugural competition of its Public Fellows program. The program will place eight recent Ph.D.s in staff positions at partnering agencies in government and the non-profit sector for two years, beginning in some cases as early as September 2011. Fellows will participate in the substantive work of these agencies and receive professional mentoring. Compensation will be commensurate with experience and at the same level as new professional employees of the hosting agency and will include health insurance.

This program, made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to demonstrate that the capacities developed in the advanced study of the humanities have wide application, both within and beyond the academy.

ACLS seeks applications from recent Ph.D.s who wish to begin careers in administration, management, and public service by choice rather than circumstance. Competitive applicants will have been successful in both academic and extra-academic experiences.

Applicants must:
possess U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status
have a Ph.D. in the humanities or humanistic social sciences conferred between January 2008 and March 2011
not have applied to any other ACLS Fellowship programs in the 2010-2011 competition year, including the New Faculty Fellows program
Prospective applicants should read through all the positions listed below and be ready to choose one when beginning the online application process. Applicants may apply to only one position. The deadline for submitted applications is Monday, May 16, 3pm EDT, and complete applications will include: (1) completed application form; (2) cover letter tailored to a specific position; (3) resume; (4) candidate statement; and (5) one nomination letter. The only way to apply for these positions is through the ACLS Public Fellows program. Only complete applications, submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system ( by the deadline will be considered.

Submitted applications will undergo ACLS’ standard rigorous peer review process, which may include interviews by ACLS and by the hosting agency. Reviewers will look for: (a) applicant’s academic accomplishment and success; (b) demonstrated relationship between past experience and specified position; and (c) commitment to the public and/or non-profit sector. Applicants who advance to the interview stages will need to be available in the timeframe listed below.

Participating Agencies and Positions
Click on the positions to view the PDF of the full description, which includes detailed information on the hosting agency, the position, and requisite qualifications. Please do not contact any of these agencies with questions (i.e., on the position, benefits, etc.).

Association of American Universities (AAU)
— Policy Analyst
Council on Foundations
— Leadership Development Officer
Institute for International Education (IIE)
— Program Officer, Scholar Rescue Fund
National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE)
— Program Officer
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
— Cultural Programs Specialist
— Cultural Communications Specialist
U.S. Department of State
— two positions, various departments
ACLS will field only questions about the fellowship program itself and not on the positions or the organizations. Please carefully review the program description, the positions, and the sample application before contacting ACLS. Questions about the fellowship program can be directed in writing to (no calls please).

Monday, May 16, 2011
3pm EDT

Online Fellowship Application
Sample Application

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