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Society for the Humanities Seeks Fellows

Friday, June 26, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Hannah Davis
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Six to eight Fellows will be appointed. Selected Fellows will collaborate with the Director of the Society for the Humanities, Timothy Murray, Professor of Comparative Literature and English and Curator of the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, an international research center on new media. The Senior Scholars in Residence will be Anne Cheng, Professor of English and of the Center for African American Studies, Princeton University, Mary Flanagan, Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities, Dartmouth College, Cristina Malcolmson, Professor of English, Bates College, and Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design, Harvard University. Senior Scholars in Residence will spend one week on campus during the 2016 - 2017 academic year.


The Society for the Humanities at Cornell University seeks interdisciplinary research projects that reflect on philosophical, aesthetic, political, ecological, religious, psychoanalytical, and cultural understandings of skin. Thinking skin calls upon cultural horizons, religious traditions, flesh, haptics, signs, texts, images, biopolitics, screens, sounds, and surfaces. From the earliest writings on medicine and religion to more recent theories of race, sexuality, gender, class, and ethnicity, how might thinking or making skin inform the global cultural experience from North to South, East to West, South to South. We invite research projects across historical periods, disciplinary boundaries, geographic territories, and social contexts.

For classical traditions, skin plays a role in representing the breadth of mythological empowerment, from the Occidental classics and Ancient Egypt to Navajo culture. Theoretical and philosophical approaches might dwell on the contrasts between tactility and opticality or skin as a membrane of intersubjective and global connectivity. Psychoanalysis theorizes skin as the figure of touch, desire, trauma, and "the skin-ego," while theorists of affect and haptics might study configurations of aging, sexuality, gender, queer and transgender studies.

Also welcome are biopolitical considerations ranging from torture and subjugation to race, eugenics, and genomics whose representations have been central to the arts. Scholars of the arts and technology might emphasize tattooing, surface architecture, technoskins, prostheses, nanotechnologies, and the touch of mobile devices, connectivity, gaming, and mobile media.

Scholars of "medical humanities" might study questions of the complex place of skin in disease, contamination, and contagion, just as these problematics are important in the history of travel literature, geopolitical tensions, and literary and artistic fascinations with the viral.

The David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future co-sponsors one fellowship to support scholarly work addressing TIME as it relates to energy, the environment or economic development. For more information about the Atkinson Center, please visit


Fellows should be working on topics related to the year's theme. Their approach to the humanities should be broad enough to appeal to students and scholars in several humanistic disciplines.

Applicants must have received the Ph.D. degree before January 1, 2015. The Society for the Humanities will not consider applications from scholars who received the Ph.D. after this date. Applicants must also have one or more years of teaching experience, which may include teaching as a graduate student.


Application Procedure

Applications are accepted only through Academic Jobs Online

Please submit the following application materials via AJO:

1. A curriculum vitae and a copy of one scholarly paper no more than 35 pages in length.

2. A one-page abstract in addition to a detailed statement of the research project the applicant would like to pursue during the term of the fellowship (1,000 - 3,000 words). Applicants are also encouraged to submit a working bibliography for their projects.

3. A brief (two-page) proposal for a seminar related to the applicant's research. Seminars meet two hours per week for one semester (fourteen weeks) and enrollment is limited to fifteen graduate students and qualified undergraduate students.

4. Two letters of recommendation from senior colleagues to whom candidates should send their research proposal and teaching proposal. Letters of recommendation should include an evaluation of the candidate's proposed research and teaching statements. Please ask referees to submit their letters directly through the application link. Letters must be submitted on or before October 1, 2015.

For further information: phone: 607-255-9274 or 607-255-4086 email:

Awards will be announced by the end of December 2015.

Note: Extensions for applications will not be granted. The Society will consider only fully completed applications. It is the responsibility of each applicant to ensure that all documentation is complete, and that referees submit their letters of recommendation to the Society before the closing date.

Society for the Humanities

The Society for the Humanities was established at Cornell University in 1966 to support research and teaching in the humanities. It is intended to be at once a research institute, a stimulus to educational innovation, and a continuing society of scholars. The Society and its Fellows have fostered path-breaking interdisciplinary dialogue and theoretical reflection on the humanities at large

Fellows include scholars from other universities and members of the Cornell faculty released from regular duties. The fellowships are held for one academic year. Each Society Fellow will receive $50,000. Applicants living outside North America are eligible for an additional $2,000 to assist with travel costs.

Fellows spend their time in research and writing, participate in the weekly Fellows Seminar, and offer one seminar related to their research. The seminars are generally informal, related to the Fellow's research, and open to graduate students, suitably qualified undergraduates, and faculty members. Fellows are encouraged to explore topics they would not normally teach and, in general, to experiment freely with both the content and the method of their courses

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University's heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities.


Mary Ahl, Department Manager


Paula Epps-Cepero, Program Administrator




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