Request for Applications: HRI Faculty and Graduate Student Fellowships 2022-23



HRI campus fellowships enable faculty and graduate students to develop research projects related to the yearly theme and to participate in the yearlong interdisciplinary Fellows Seminar and related programming. Faculty fellows receive a two-course release and $3K in research funds. Graduate fellows receive a stipend and a tuition and partial fee waiver.

Theme: Un/Doing

This year’s theme is a result of collaboration between the Humanities Research Institute (HRI) and African American Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Latino/a Studies, and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

At the intersections and overlaps of activism and scholarship are calls for un/doing the status quo that threatens us all—to abolish and defund, to decolonize, divest, decriminalize, dismantle, and de-center. Far from a passive opposite of doing, the slowing down, refusals, and work stoppage techniques of Un/Doing show it to be active, intentional, and on-going, with the productive potential of dismantling. From the de-individualization of basic needs (food, housing, health) to mutual aid and collective models of solidarity, what are the spaces and practices that Un/Doing makes possible?

At this moment when various forms of collective Un/Doing seem newly imaginable, whether involuntarily (through a pandemic, for instance) or voluntarily (through new social movements), what openings might it offer for reorienting humanities research? Un/Doing might, for instance, encourage us to reflect on the persistence of disciplinary norms in the humanities and the extent to which interdisciplinary approaches undo disciplines or remain tethered to them. How might the prospect of Un/Doing take on different risks or possibilities in particular disciplinary or interdisciplinary formations? Since the establishment of African American Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Latino/Latina Studies as academic fields in the late 1960s, these interdisciplinary formations have been institutionalized in ways that often position them as discrete intellectual projects tied to particular identities, with the assumption that certain keywords—race, ethnicity, indigeneity, gender, and sexuality—have priority within specific fields and not others. To what extent have intersectional approaches developed over the last three decades undone those assumptions or not? What is the relationship between the theoretical and methodological porousness of these fields—and interdisciplinary areas in general— and the threat of administrative undoing (i.e., dismantling) of academic programs? What is the relationship between Un/Doing and unlearning (whether the object be racism, sexism, transphobia, or ableism)? If the distinction between “doing” and “being” has been generative for a range of theories and methods that emphasize practices, performativity, and/or process, how might Un/Doing be situated (or not) within these investigations? What modes of Un/Doing allow for new and generative knowledge, methodologies, and collaborations?

We seek faculty and graduate fellows in and allied with humanities disciplines and interdisciplines whose research grapples with the im/possibilities of Un/Doing in and across various fields, with particular attention to race, indigeneity, gender, and/or sexuality. Whether you take various forms of Un/Doing as your object of study, your method, or your condition, we invite you to apply to work with us to figure out how we come together when things come undone.

Evaluation Criteria

Fellowship proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria: the scholarly excellence and promise of the project, the applicant’s preparation/readiness to undertake the proposed research, the quality of the narrative proposal, the relationship to the annual theme, the case made for how the HRI experience/seminar would be beneficial to the project, and the letters of support.

HRI welcomes applications from all disciplines and departments with a research interest in humanities and humanities-inflected scholarship. HRI is especially interested in fostering interdisciplinary work, both within the humanistic disciplines, and between the humanities and the arts.

Application Guidelines

Complete fellowship application guidelines for 2022–23 can be found on the HRI website (faculty guidelines / graduate student guidelines). Applications must be submitted through an online application portal. No paper or emailed applications or letters of recommendation will be accepted. The submission portal is now open and closes 5 p.m. on December 3, 2021.

Questions about these fellowships may be addressed to HRI Deputy Director Nancy Castro.