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  TO APPLY:   
  MELLON SAWYER SEMINAR POST-DOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS 2014-2015

John E. Sawyer Seminar on the topic of “Political Will”

The notion of “political will” is at the heart of debates about the meaning and character of political life. It informs definitions of sovereignty, whether the popular consent of the “people” or other forms of authority. It is an idea that works to legitimize the juridical order and systems of law, in particular the legal form of the constitution. And it is implicit to definitions of democracy and cosmopolitanism alike. Yet despite its centrality, the concept of political will has remained relatively unanalyzed within political theory.

This Sawyer Seminar aims to study the topic of political will from a range of disciplinary angles, theoretical approaches, and cultural perspectives. In so doing, we hope to pose a series of questions about political will. First, how is political will genealogically related to correlative constructs, such as jurisdiction, liberalism, and governmentality, and how might a focus on political will shed new light on those terms? Second, how might one historicize and lend contextual specificity to conceptions of political will? What insights into the nature of political will can be gained from a comparative, cross-cultural analysis? Third, what role do culture, aesthetics, and desire play in forging and sustaining political will? Is it generated in the imagination and/or affective, materially grounded practices; or it is better explained as an abstract concept governed by the operations of reason? Fourth, what particular contributions do varying theoretical frameworks (deconstruction, psychoanalysis, Marxism, biopolitics, affect theory, postcolonial studies) offer to an account of political will?

While political will is a category that informs nearly all aspects of political existence, this Seminar will devote particular attention to analyzing four sub-topics related to political will: sovereignty and biopolitics, cosmopolitanism, democracy, and constitutionalism. In addition, we expect that many of our conversations will be oriented around questions of aesthetics and the imagination, thus investigating both the cultural and affective attributes of political will?

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The Mellon Foundation will sponsor one postdoctoral teaching-research fellowship in the humanities, awarded for the one-year period beginning July 2014. The fellowship offers a stipend of $45,000/year. While in residence at Cornell, the Mellon Fellow will hold a department affiliation in one of the humanities departments, participate in all activities associated with the Sawyer Seminar on “Political Will,” have limited teaching duties, and have the opportunity for scholarly work.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants for the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship on “Political Will” for the 2014/15 academic year must have received the Ph.D. degree after September 2008, and must be working on topics related to the theme of "Political Will."  Mellon Fellowships are open to international applicants. Applicants who will have received the Ph.D. degree by June 30, 2014 are eligible.  Applicants who do not have the Ph.D. in hand at the time of application must include a letter from the committee chair or department stating that the Ph.D. degree will be conferred before the term of the fellowship begins.

Application Procedure

Applicants must apply online at https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/3120

Deadline for applications is December 16, 2013

Required materials include
a curriculum vitae
a detailed statement of research interests
a writing sample
course proposals for the course the Mellon Fellow will teach while in residence at Cornell
three letters of recommendation

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Cornell is an equal opportunity employer and educator.