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Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Graduate Fellowships
at the Society for the Humanities
2018-2019

The Mellon Foundation has made available two fellowships for graduate students to become Fellows of the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University during the 2018/2019 academic year. Graduate Fellows will not teach courses. Graduate Fellows will be invited to all events at the Society for the Humanities.

The Fellowship includes a College of Arts & Sciences graduate tuition waiver, a $26,000 stipend, and health insurance. The two Graduate Fellows will share an office at the A.D. White House during the academic year.

Qualifications
Cornell University graduate students in the humanities who are working on topics related to the year's focal theme are invited to apply. Applicants must have completed the A exam and all requirements for the degree other than the dissertation before the application deadline on November 1, 2017. Awards will be restricted to students entering their 4th, 5th or 6th year of study at the time the Fellowship begins.

Application Procedures
The following application materials must be emailed to Emily Parsons, elp25@cornell.edu, by November 1, 2017. Please email materials in a single PDF in the order below with the subject line “GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION_Last Name”.

Order of Materials:

1. A cover page with:
     - Full name and net ID
     - Home department
     - Proposed project title
     - Recommenders’ names and emails

2. A curriculum vitae.

3. A one-page dissertation abstract (up to 300 words)

4. A detailed statement of the research project the applicant will pursue during the fellowship year (1,000 – 2,000 words)

5. A Cornell University etranscript (for instructions, visit http://transcript.cornell.edu/).

6. A scholarly writing sample (published or unpublished) that is no more than 35 pages long

7. Sent under separate cover: Two letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation should include an evaluation of the candidate's research proposal. Please ask referees to send their letters directly to elp25@cornell.edu. Letters must be received on or before November 1, 2017.

For further information:
Phone: 607-255-9274
Email: elp25@cornell.edu

Awards will be announced by the end of December 2017.

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 Focal Theme, 2018-2019:
AUTHORITY

The Society for the Humanities at Cornell University seeks interdisciplinary research projects for residencies that reflect on the philosophical, aesthetic, political, legal, ecological, religious, and cultural understandings of authority. Selected Fellows will collaborate with the Taylor Family Director of the Society for the Humanities, Paul Fleming, Professor of Comparative Literature and German Studies. The Invited Society Scholars will be Prasenjit Duara, Oscar Tang Chair of East Asian Studies at Duke University, Bonnie Honig, Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Political Science at Brown University, and Holly Hughes, Professor of Theatre and Drama at University of Michigan.

From auctoritas to the author to authoritarianism, the question of authority – whether grounded in epistemological expertise, juridical power, rhetorical persuasiveness, creative innovation, divine decree, or political charisma – is inextricable from humanistic inquiry and critique. With authority, the power to decide, to authorize, to adjudicate, to rule, and to hold sway stands or falls – in science, law, art, oratory, religion, or politics. The Society invites scholarly projects that trace the consequences, crises, and possibilities of authority across historical periods, disciplinary boundaries, geographic territories, and social contexts.

At stake in authority is who or what authorizes and bestows power, prestige, and influence. On what basis does authority claim to rule? Knowledge? Law? Charisma? Popular will? The sovereign word? Tradition? Moreover, each expression of authority calls forth its contestation and opposition. At times authority is contested within the same discursive sphere (e.g. different scientific paradigms or hermeneutic interpretations at loggerheads); at times, however, the opposition is based on another source of authority: religious law vs. secular law; scientific knowledge vs. political will; economic concerns vs. ethical concerns. At such junctures, the question then arises: who or what power adjudicates the conflict between appeals to different authoritative instances?

The Society invites scholars to explore the ‘ends of authority,’ understood as its purposes, goals, and ideals as well as its limitations, aporias, and paradoxes. Applicants could investigate the rise of authoritarianism across different historical and political or religious contexts, exploring its conditions, its appeal, its critiques. One could research the crisis of scientific authority, in which expertise itself is called into question on grounds that are impervious to scientific argumentation. Considering the death of the author, one could question what signs, strokes, words, tics, and idiosyncrasies determine a text’s or artwork’s ‘author’; what authorizes an original from its copy or fake; or the degree to which the authority of a few authors still determines research fields today. In the age of a superabundance of information, what differentiates ‘real’ (authoritative) information from ‘fake news,’ and how one can be interchanged with the other as an ‘equal’ source of authority?