|Society for the Humanities
The focal theme for 2017-2018 is “CORRUPTION.” 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 Kamari Clarke, Professor of Global and International Studies in Law and Legal Studies/Anthropology, Carleton University, Fred Moten, Professor of English, University of California, Riverside, and Christopher Newfield, Professor of Literature and American Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Maurice Benayoun, “The Dump”; courtesy of the artist
Focal Theme 2017-2018
The Society for the Humanities at Cornell University seeks interdisciplinary research projects for residencies in 2017-2018 that reflect on the theme of corruption. The Society is looking for scholarly approaches that seek to trace the consequences of corruption for humanistic and artistic thinking and practice, whether from philosophical, aesthetic, political, ecological, religious, legal, psychoanalytical or cultural perspectives.
Considerations of corruption have a long lineage in philosophical, theological, critical, and political thought. We welcome global approaches to understanding corruption in political, legal, and institutional terms, as a symptom of disorder or, alternatively, a means of asserting order, such as in a government, university, or institution. In moral or religious spheres, corruption often marks the “fallen” or what is other to an original or desired soul, life, or society of perfection. How might the theme of corruption broaden out into “pollution” (whether sacred or environmental) or degeneration (vis à vis cultural practice)? In what way does corruption affect standards of artistic or literary genre or form?
A lively subject of representation across the broadest of artistic, literary, and musical traditions, corruption has been mobilized as an ambiguous force that either limits or liberates. Consider how the same antitheatrical traditions that denounce the moral corruption of theatre, the novel, opera, and cinema often serve as the most articulate indicators of the passions, gestures, sounds, and sights most fundamental to aesthetic production. Conversely, how might the humanities appreciate the formal qualities of corruption that are inherent and essential features of transmission and form, from the production and recording of musical sound to the natural or evolutionary changes of artistic practice to avant-gardist corruptions of conventional forms of art and expression? How might Fellows examine the "transmission of information,” such as corrupt computer files, viruses, glitches or noise, and even "corrupt readings," whether of ancient and medieval manuscripts or via the deep data sets of the digital humanities?
How does the lens of corruption impact recent studies of the Anthropocene, ecological stability, preservation of cultural heritage, precarity, economic disparity or social injustice? Applicants might consider the mobilization of social anxieties about pollution -- miasma, infestation, poisoning, dissolution, and dissipation -- to frame theories of race, sexuality, queer or (trans)gender, miscegenation, or ideologies and rhetorics of collective or ethnic purity. What about notions of the integrity of social units and systems, such as the family, the nation, the university or corporation? Might corruption reflect the deformation of “master” discourses, such as capitalism and psychoanalysis or the West and the Rest?
The Society for the Humanities welcomes applications from scholars and practitioners who are interested in investigating this topic from the broadest variety of international and disciplinary perspectives.
Cornell’s David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future co-sponsors one fellowship to support scholarly work addressing corruption 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, 2016. 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.
The following application materials must be submitted via AJO fellowship #7386 on or before October 1, 2016. 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, 2016.
To apply, go to:
For further information:
Awards will be announced by the end of December 2016.
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 $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.