|Society for the Humanities
The focal theme for 2015-2016 is “TIME.” 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 Cathy N. Davidson, Director, Futures Initiative, Graduate Center, City University of New York and CoFounder HASTAC, Tejumola Olaniyan, Louise Durham Mead Professor of English, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University.
Maria Miranda, image from Shock in the Ear (1997)
Focal Theme 2016-2016
To mark both the Sesquicentennial celebration of the founding of Cornell University and the fiftieth anniversary of the Society for the Humanities, the Society invites scholars to reflect on the theme of “Time.” How have the humanities marked time in articulations of the disciplines, periods, and emergent futures? In celebrating the foundational role of the humanities in Cornell’s history, the Society wishes to reflect on the importance of time to the shaping of traditional disciplines while also opening the question of time to emergent areas of interdisciplinary study. Crucial to this research project will be ongoing dialogue with the recent Society topics of improvisation, global aesthetics, networks/mobilities, occupation, and sensation.
The study of time has been central to the articulation of classical and modern philosophy for which the ontology of time, the phenomenology of temporal passage, the nature of temporal properties and parts, time as fundamentally real or illusory, time and identity, have been a central concern, as has the forward movement of progress, teleology, transcendence, and the eternal return. Similarly, psychoanalytic criticism reflects on the retroactive time of fantasy and the future time of transference. Just as the marking of time is central to the study of history and anthropology, the passage and problematization of time is key to the classical epic, the Renaissance tragedy, and the modern novel. Time’s passing, particularly its march into the future, is key to the history of the avant-garde, whether artistic or ideological. Not to be forgotten is the importance to literary and media history of the speculative time of science fiction and the collapse of time in digital culture. Scholars also might reflect on the shifting temporalities of performance, from choreography and opera to performance art and new media installation, and the prominence of time in the built environment, from the time-piece to the time-image.
The Society encourages applicants to investigate the cultural, social, artistic, philosophical, and political implications of the theme. The problematization of the concept of time has been central to areas as diverse as theories of relativity, native, queer and post-colonial studies. Fellows might also consider the implications of virtual, viral, ecological, and posthuman time. Many scholars will turn their attention to the measure of time as it has been demarcated by historical periodization or marshaled to distinguish between the civilized and the profane, West and East, North and South. The threat or promise of time shapes studies of aging, ecology, global warming, and sustainability.
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 http://www.acsf.cornell.edu/.
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, 2014. 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.
Candidates should inform the Society of their intention to apply by returning the Fellowhip form immediately. The following application materials must be submitted via AJO, job number 4086, https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/4086, on or before October 1, 2014. Any other method of applying will not be accepted.
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, 2014.
To apply, go to:
For further information:
Awards will be announced by the end of December 2014.
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.
The 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 $45,000. 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.