Cornell University, Society for the Humanities
2024-25 Society for the Humanities Fellowships, Focal Theme "Silence"
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Society for the Humanities Fellowships
The Society for the Humanities at Cornell University invites applications for residential fellowships from scholars and artists whose projects reflect on the 2024-25 theme of Silence. Up to six fellows will be appointed. The fellowships are held for one year (August through July). Each Society Fellow will receive $60,000.
Fellows include scholars and practitioners from other universities and members of the Cornell faculty released from regular duties. Fellows at the Society for the Humanities are “residential,” and will collaborate with one another and the Taylor Family Director of the Society for the Humanities, Paul Fleming, L. Sanford and Jo Mills Reis Professor of Humanities and professor of comparative literature and German studies. Fellows spend their time in research and writing during the residential fellowship, and are required to participate in a weekly Fellows Seminar workshopping each other’s projects and discussing readings based on the yearly theme.
The nature of this fellowship year is social and communal—fellows forge connections outside the classroom and the lecture hall by sharing meals following the weekly seminar and attending post-lecture receptions and other casual events throughout the year. Fellows live and work in Ithaca, NY, and are expected to be in their offices on campus frequently. All applicants for Society Fellowships should share in this commitment to creating a supportive and intellectually stimulating community.
Fellows teach one small seminar during their fellowship year appropriate for graduate students and advanced undergraduates. Though courses are designed to fit the focal theme, there are no additional restrictions on what or how the course should be taught. Fellows are encouraged to experiment with both the content and the method of their seminar particularly as it relates to their current research.
2024-25 Focal Theme: Silence
The Society for the Humanities at Cornell University seeks interdisciplinary research projects for year-long residencies that reflect on the theme of Silence.
In the year of silence, we want to attend to what is not there: the absences, the elisions in our sources, our stories, our histories. Silence can assume many forms and valences. As an epistemological lacuna, silence circumscribes the pages and voices excluded from the archives used to define a society, culture, tradition, or canon. Other times, ‘silence’ has always been speaking: it is not a lost episteme, but a voice that hasn’t been listened to, hasn’t been considered vital, that has been ‘silenced’ and now needs to enter – and alter – the official record.
Silence thus can serve as a rallying cry and warning, something to heed and listen to. From the AIDS activist slogan “Silence = Death” to the more recent “silence is violence” or “silence is not an option,” keeping silent is revealed as complicity. Because of its power, silence often functions as a strategy and component of artistic expression: the pauses in a piece of music, the ‘off-stage’ in drama, the word or phrase elided in a literary text or poem, the repressed of the unconscious that only appears in distorted and displaced forms. In art, silence both punctures and gives shape to the work; it is the frame around which expression takes form.
Methodologically, the guiding scholarly question regarding silence is: How does one work with and on a silenced archive, the unarticulated in an artwork, a lost or destroyed document? The means are often speculative, creative, experimental – a conjuring of voices from the data available, the tracing of lines that can be faintly read. Which raises the further questions: What are the ethics of giving voice to the voiceless? How does one faithfully begin to fill in the silences in our histories and stories? And who decides whose story is told, and how?
The Society for the Humanities invites applications from scholars and artists who are interested in participating in a productive, critical dialogue concerning the topic of Silence from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.
Fellows should be working on topics related to the 2024-25 theme of Silence. 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, 2023. 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. International scholars are welcome to apply, contingent upon visa eligibility.
The following application materials must be submitted via AJO Fellowship #24897 on or before the deadline of September 20, 2023. Any other method of applying will not be accepted.
- A curriculum vitae
- A one-page abstract describing the research project the applicant would like to pursue during the term of the fellowship (up to 300 words)
- A detailed statement of the research project (1,000 – 2,000 words). Applicants may also include a one-page bibliography of the most essential materials to the project.
- A course proposal for a seminar related to the applicant’s research. Seminars meet two hours per week for one semester and enrollment is limited to fifteen advanced undergraduates and graduate students. The course proposal should consist of:
- A brief course description suitable for the University course catalog (50-125 words)
- A detailed course proposal (up to 300 words)
- A list of the essential texts for the course
- One scholarly paper (no more than 35 pages in length)
- Two letters of recommendation from senior colleagues in your field (from any institution) 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 the deadline.
The deadline to apply is September 20, 2023. Awards will be announced by the end of December 2023.
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. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations. If you need accommodations in order to complete the application, please contact Society for the Humanities staff at email@example.com
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.
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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.
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. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations.