Summer 2020 Grants Newsletter: Humanities

Ragdale Foundation
Schumann Fellowship
Deadline: May 15, 2020
Website: http://ragdale.org/residency/fellowship/

The Ragdale Foundation and Barbra Schumann are pleased to announce a new fellowship opportunity for emerging Latinx visual artists. This fellowship opportunity will support one visual artist with an 18-day or 25-day residency at Ragdale along with a cash stipend of $500, the creation of a brief video documentary/interview, and the presentation of a public program. Presentation of a public program may include an artist talk, workshop, or other program and will take place within 18 months of the residency.


Ragdale Foundation
Traeger Fellowship for Musicians, Composers, and Music Scholars
Deadline: May 15, 2020
Website: http://ragdale.org/residency/fellowship/

The Ragdale Foundation and the Traeger family are pleased to announce a fellowship opportunity for musicians, composers, and music scholars. This fellowship opportunity will support an individual by offering an 18-day or 25-day residency at Ragdale along with a cash stipend of $500, the creation of a brief video documentary/interview, and the presentation of a public program. The residency may be awarded to a collaborative duo if they share a live/work studio. Open to emerging and established practitioners.  The selected fellow(s) will demonstrate a sustained level of accomplishment, commitment, and artistic excellence. When possible, the fellowship will prioritize artists whose practices are rooted in and/or a response to traditions associated with guitar and/or similar stringed instruments.


Ragdale Foundation
Alice Judson Hayes Fellowship
Deadline: May 15, 2020
Website: http://ragdale.org/residency/fellowship/

The Alice Judson Hayes Writing Fellowship is an annual award in memory of Alice Hayes, who created the Ragdale Foundation in what had been her family home. All her life she was committed to working for a just and peaceful world. An 18- or 25-day residency, free of charge, and a $500 stipend will be given to a writer who is working on a project designed to bring awareness to a contemporary issue having to do with peace, social justice, education, or the environment. Projects can be nonfiction or fiction (including journalism, essays, memoir, script-writing, creative nonfiction). No academic writing.


National Women’s Studies Association
Gloria Anzaldua Book Prize
Deadline: June 15, 2020
Website: https://nwsa.org/page/bookprizes

Application period: February 1 – June 15 each year

The prize includes $1,000 and recognition for groundbreaking monographs in women’s studies that makes significant multicultural feminist contributions to women of color/transnational scholarship. The prize honors Gloria Anzaldúa, a valued and long-active member of the National Women’s Studies Association.

Basic Guidelines:

  • Current NWSA individual membership (including co-authors)
  • Books considered must have a first date of US publication between May 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020
  • Must complete the online application
  • Presses cannot submit
  • The committee seeks groundbreaking monographs in women’s studies that make a significant multicultural feminist contributions to women of color/transnational scholarship
  • Anthologies will not be considered
  • Applicants must send 5 copies of their book to:
  •       National Women’s Studies Association
  •       1720 W. Division Street
  •       Chicago, IL 60622
  •       ATTN: NWSA Anzaldúa Book Prize

Art Design Chicago 2020 Exhibition Research and Development Grants
Deadlines: May 15, 2020 (Letter of Intent), July 15, 2020 (Submission)
August 14, 2020 (Letter of Intent), November 2, 2020 (Submission)
Website: https://www.grantforward.com/grant?grant_id=396605&offset=1

To encourage expansive thinking about the initiative focus and support the development of deeply researched exhibitions accompanied by innovative engagement strategies and programming, the Terra Foundation is inviting Chicago-area cultural organizations to apply for two types of Research & Development Grants, which will be awarded in two stages:

  1. Exhibition Research & Development Grants, supporting research convenings, research travel, and/or a research fellow, will be awarded in summer 2020, fall 2020, and spring 2021 (respective letters of inquiry due on January 15, 2020; May 15, 2020; and August 14, 2020)
  1. Recipients of Exhibition Research & Development Grants will be eligible to apply for Community-Engagement Research & Development Grants, which will be awarded starting in fall 2021. Organizations interested in applying are asked to participate in a learning community with other Art Design Chicago partners, which will allow for sharing best engagement practices and exploring opportunities for collaboration. Additional details about the grant opportunity and learning community and will be available in fall 2020.

These research & development grants are intended to help recipients:

– Consult primary sources (e.g., archives and collections) and meet with other specialists to gain new perspectives on their exhibition topics;

– Explore possibilities for developing a traveling exhibition;

– Investigate and plan audience- and community-engagement strategies (e.g., approaches to gallery interpretation, programming, outreach, and partnerships) in early stages of exhibition development;

– Explore opportunities to work in partnership with other cultural organizations and/or community-based groups.

Exhibition Research & Development Grants may be used for one or more of the following:
Research Convening(s), enabling exhibition curators and education/engagement staff to meet in person with invited scholars and others with expertise to discuss research findings and plans for the exhibition and catalogue, and to consider ways to make the content relevant and accessible to a broad audience. TFAA funds may be used for travel and lodging for participants from outside of Chicago, meeting materials, meals, and modest honoraria for participants not employed by organizing/presenting institutions. (Awards up to $20,000).


American Philosophical Association
APA Small Grant Fund
Deadline: June 30, 2020
Website: https://www.apaonline.org/page/grantfund
Only members may submit a grant proposal.

To submit a small grant proposal, fill out the budget template and the small grant proposal submission form. You will upload the completed budget template within the submission form.

Proposals

Proposals should include the following:

  • The names and institutional affiliations of the project steering committee.
  • An abstract of the proposal (150 word maximum)
  • A brief account of the project’s purpose, explaining its benefits for the field of philosophy and/or how it involves community outreach.
  • A description of the groundwork already laid for the project or, in the case of projects involving community outreach, a description of the relationships already developed in the community.
  • A plan and timeline for achieving the proposed project.
  • A detailed project budget with a schedule for allocation of the funds to the project.
  • A designation of the fiscal agent for the project.
  • Information about other funding sought or obtained.
  • A description of how the project will be assessed at its completion with an eye to what worked and what could be improved.
  • A description of how the project will be advertised to the larger philosophical and/or lay public.
  • Where a proposal includes the creation of a website, proposers should include details as to where the site will be hosted and indicate whether they intend a link to be created on the APA’s website. (The APA will not host websites for grantees.)
  • If the proposal involves public lectures, performances, presentations, or films, the proposers should address how the program will be accessible for disabled persons, including deaf/hard of hearing and blind/visually impaired individuals.
  • Upload (within the submission form) a brief CV (maximum two pages) for each project coordinator, highlighting activities relevant to the project. Upload all CVs as one .pdf file.
  • Please note that, as a service to future applicants, successful proposals will be made public.

Requirements

  • Proposals should ordinarily be for expenditures that will be completed by the end of the academic year following the one in which the grant is authorized. (For grants approved at the fall 2018 board meeting, therefore, expenditures should ordinarily be spent before the end of the 2019–2020 academic year.) Proposals that plan expenditures later than this must directly explain and justify the timeline for expenditures.
  • While a proposal may describe a project that needs funding over more than a year, the APA will not commit to support of a grantee beyond the funds authorized in any year. Applicants should, however, inform the APA if the activities for which a proposal seeks funding are part of a multiyear program.
  • Applications for the support of conferences must demonstrate some general benefit to the profession in addition to advancing philosophical discussion of the conference topic.
  • Proposals may include requests for travel funds. However, applicants should keep in mind that it is not the policy of the APA to fund travel to its own divisional meetings and thus a careful explanation of the travel for which the funding is sought under an APA grant will be needed.
  • Grants may not be used to contribute to, or to create, endowments.
  • The APA does not provide administrative support for grantees, nor will the APA act as the fiscal agent for a grant.
  • A grant by the American Philosophical Association to any University shall be conditioned upon such University’s agreement not to charge the American Philosophical Association with any Facilities and Administrative Costs in connection with such grant. (See Administrative Cost Policy)
  • The APA does not accept applications from committees of the APA. (This does not preclude the members of a committee applying as a group, provided they bear in mind the previous stricture.)
  • Grant proposals involving the use of graduate student assistance need to indicate whether graduate students will receive any academic credit for work they do in connection with grant-supported activity.
  • Selection Criteria
  • The board favors project proposals that ask for seed money for new projects and demonstrate the potential to obtain continuing support from other sources.
  • The board favors projects that serve as a model for other institutions, and for which the grant recipient is willing to provide information about the project for others.
  • Given the limited annual grant funds (a total of $25,000), project proposals are more likely to be successful if they request $5,000 or less.
  • Project proposals are more likely to be successful if they have secured local support for the project.
  • Project proposals are more likely to be successful if a groundwork for the project has already been laid, or in the case of community projects, if some relationships with people in the community have already been developed.
  • The board will not ordinarily fund lectures or lecture‐series at a single university or college.

National Endowment for the Arts

NEA Grants for Arts Projects 1, FY 2021

Deadline: July 9, 2020

Website: https://www.grants.gov/custom/viewOppDetails.jsp?oppId=323005

Grants for Arts Projects is the National Endowment for the Arts principal grants program. Through project-based funding, we support public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation, the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, learning in the arts at all stages of life, and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life. Projects may be large or small, existing or new, and may take place in any part of the nations 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

The National Endowment for the Arts is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and fostering mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all individuals and groups.

While we welcome applications for a variety of artistically excellent projects, we encourage projects that address any of the following activities below:

  • Celebrate Americas creativity and/or cultural heritage.
  • Invite a dialogue that fosters a mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups.
  • Enrich our humanity by broadening our understanding of ourselves as individuals and as a society.

Cost share/matching grants generally will range from $10,000 to $100,000. No grants will be made below $10,000. Grants of $100,000 or more will be made only in rare instances, and only for projects that we determine demonstrate exceptional national or regional significance and impact. In the past few years, well over half of the agency’s grants have been for amounts less than $25,000.


National Endowment for the Humanities

Short Documentaries Program

Deadline: August 12, 2020

Website: https://www.neh.gov/sites/default/files/inline-files/Short-Documentaries-NOFO-January-2020.pdf

Program Description

The Short Documentaries program supports the production and distribution of documentary films up to 30 minutes that engage audiences with humanities ideas in appealing ways. The program aims to extend the humanities to new audiences through the medium of short documentary films. Films must be grounded in humanities scholarship in disciplines such as history, art history, literature, religious studies, philosophy, or anthropology. You can find a more detailed description of the humanities here. The Short Documentaries program supports production of single films or a series of thematically-related short films addressing significant figures, events, or ideas. Programs should be intended for regional or national distribution, via broadcast, festivals, and/or online distribution. The subject of the film(s) must be related to A More Perfect Union: NEH Special Initiative Advancing Civic Education and Commemorating the Nations 250th Anniversary.

Applications must present clear central ideas in the humanities and must demonstrate a solid command of the humanities scholarship on their subject. Applicants must have consulted with a team of scholarly advisers to develop the intellectual ideas that the program will explore. The scholars must represent fields relevant to the subject matter, have a strong record of research and scholarship in the humanities, and offer diverse perspectives and approaches. Projects must also demonstrate an approach that is thoughtful, balanced, and analytical.

All proposed projects must:

-relate to A More Perfect Union: NEH Special Initiative Advancing Civic Education and Commemorating the Nations 250th Anniversary.

-employ appealing formats that will engage the general public in learning

-build on sound humanities scholarship

-deepen public understanding of significant humanities questions

-approach a subject analytically, presenting a variety of perspectives

-involve humanities scholars in all phases of development and production

-involve appropriate media professionals

To be ready to apply for a Short Documentaries award, you should have:

-completed research on your subject, including archival work and preliminary interviews

-involved scholars in creating and interpreting the projects content

-completed the projects script(s) and detailed treatment(s)

-designed your plans for distribution, outreach, and partnerships

Short Documentaries awards may support activities such as:

-meeting with scholars

-script refinement

-shooting and editing of short films

-creation or enhancement of resources, including websites or other digital components, related to the proposed short film(s)

-distribution, outreach activities and public engagement related to the proposed short film(s)


National Endowment for the Humanities
Humanities Connections Program Implementation Grants
Deadline: September 16, 2020
Website: https://www.neh.gov/sites/default/files/inline-files/20190919-akb-humanities-connections-implementation-nofo_0.pdf

Program Description
The Humanities Connections program seeks to expand the role of the humanities in undergraduate education at two- and four-year institutions. Awards will support innovative curricular approaches that foster productive partnerships among humanities faculty and their counterparts in the social and natural sciences and in pre-service or professional programs (such as business, engineering, health sciences, law, computer science, and other technologydriven fields), in order to encourage and develop new integrative learning opportunities for students.

Competitive applications will demonstrate:

-that the proposed curricular projects address significant and compelling topics or issues in undergraduate education at the applicant institution(s);

-that these projects develop the intellectual skills and habits of mind cultivated by the humanities; and

-that faculty and students will benefit from meaningful collaborations in teaching and learning across disciplines as a result of the project.

Humanities Connections projects have four core features:

  1. integration of the subject matter, perspectives, and pedagogical approaches of two or more disciplines (with a minimum of one in and one outside of the humanities);
  2. collaboration between faculty from two or more separate departments or schools at one or more institutions;
  3. experiential learning as an intrinsic part of the curricular plan; and
  4. long-term institutional support for the proposed curriculum innovation(s).

If the project addresses core or general education requirements, or requirements for specific pathways or pre-professional programs, it must incorporate a fresh approach in doing so. For example, applicants might consider
-filling a new or unmet curricular gap in which the humanities will play an integral role;
-opening up a new interdisciplinary minor or certificate;
-transforming existing curricular pathways; or
-connecting existing fields of study to new or emerging disciplines.

The program aims at the substantive and purposeful integration of disciplines and therefore does not support

-the isolated addition or revision of a single course offering, or
-the simple pairing of complementary courses, whether in the same or in different departments or schools.


Artist Relief
Artists Relief Invites Applications from Artists Facing Covid Related Emergencies
Deadline: September 30, 2020
Website: https://www.artistrelief.org/

Grants of $5,000 will be awarded to artists facing dire economic financial emergencies due to COVID-19.  Practicing artists living in all fifty states, territories, and tribal nations, working in any discipline, are eligible to apply for a grant. Applicants must be 21 or older, able to receive taxable income in the United States regardless of their citizenship status, and have generally lived and worked in the United States for the last two years. Due to expected demand, Artist Relief recognizes it will not be able to fund every applicant. Artists demonstrating the most severe needs will be prioritized, with an emphasis on funding widely across disciplines and geographies, as well as disability, ethnicity, and gender. Applications will be reviewed and assessed for eligibility and need in collaboration with cultural nonprofits across the country, who will assist in the determination and selection process.


Medieval Academy of America
Digital Humanities and Multimedia Studies Prize
Deadline: October 15, 2020
Link: https://www.medievalacademy.org/page/DHPrize
$1,000 Award for successful and innovative digital projects in Medieval Studies.
The Academy awards the annual Digital Humanities and Multimedia Studies Prize to one outstanding digital research project in Medieval Studies. The first Prize was awarded in 2017.

Projects submitted for the prize may take the form of:

  • digital-born research projects
  • databases
  • digital archives of texts or images
  • pedagogical projects
  • teaching or research tool

Or other original and innovative contributions in digital form to the academic study of the Middle Ages.
Eligibility:
-To be eligible, digital project submitted each year must have been created and made available to users within the last five years.

-For example, in 2018, projects created during or after 2013 are eligible. Projects created during or after 2015 are eligible for the 2020 DHMS Prize

-Projects do not need to be complete, although they should show signs of continuing work and support.

-The Principal Investigator of the project must be a member of the Medieval Academy of America.

The Digital Humanities and Multimedia Studies Prize Committee will select the award-winning project based on the Medieval Academy’s established criteria for high-quality digital medievalist projects, summarized below:

  • Quality of research and contributions to Medieval Studies
  • Goals and methodologies of project
  • Design, presentation, and accessibility of project
  • Sustainability of project and compatibility of its metadata

Application procedures:
Scholars at any stage in their professional careers are encouraged to apply. Candidates must have a graduate degree, but do not need to be employed at an academic institution.
Nominations and self-nominations are due by midnight on October 15.
Nomination dossiers must be submitted online and must include:

  • A short (500 words maximum) description of the nominated digital project with access information
  • A statement (250 words) of goals and methods of the project and its intended audience
  • A brief summary of technical specifications for the project
  • The names, academic affiliations (if any), and contact information of  project personnel/collaborators
  • A list of project sponsors, including publisher or host institution, and a list of external grants or awards for the project
  • A brief CV of the project creator/PI

Nominators may, if they wish, supply no more than two brief letters of recommendation from appropriate experts in the field/s of the nominated project. These should be sent by email to Executive Director Lisa Fagin Davis as PDFs on letterhead.


Society for the Historians of American Foreign Relations
Myrna F. Bernath Fellowship
Deadline: October 15, 2020
Link: https://shafr.org/members/fellowships-grants/myrna-f-bernath-fellowship

The Myrna Bernath Fellowship of up to $2,500 is intended to defray the costs of scholarly research by women. It is awarded biannually (in odd years) and announced at the SHAFR luncheon held during the annual meeting of the American Historical Association. Applications are welcomed from women at U.S. universities as well as women abroad who wish to do research in the United States. Preference will be given to graduate students and those within five years of completion of their PhD.

Eligibility:
Scholars at any stage in their professional careers are encouraged to apply. Candidates must have a graduate degree, but do not need to be employed at an academic institution.
Application Procedures:
Self-nominations are expected. To apply, please read through the Instructions Sheet and then use the online application located below, which appears when applications are being accepted.  Questions can be sent by electronic mail to myrnabernath-committee@shafr.org The biannual deadline for applications is October 15 of even years.

Opportunities marked with an (*) require completion of a clearance form with DePaul’s Development Office.

Additional funding search tools are available on the ORS website at: https://offices.depaul.edu/ors/pre-award-services/identifying-funding/funding-search-tools/Pages/default.aspx


Opportunities marked with an (*) require completion of a clearance form with DePaul’s Development Office.

Summer 2020 Grants Newsletter: Social Sciences

Wenner-Gren Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowships*
Deadline: May 1, 2020
Website: http://www.wennergren.org/programs/hunt-postdoctoral-fellowships/eligibility

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowships support the writing-up of already completed anthropological research. The fellowship is awarded to scholars in the earlier stages of their careers, when they frequently lack the time and resources to develop their research for publication.  Scholars with a Ph.D. in hand for no more than ten years (from the application deadline) are eligible to apply. A maximum of eight Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded annually ($40,000 for 12 months of continuous, full-time writing).

The Foundation supports research that demonstrates a clear link to anthropological theory and debates, and promises to make a solid contribution to advancing these ideas. There is no preference for any methodology, research location, or subfield. The Foundation particularly welcomes proposals that employ a comparative perspective, can generate innovative approaches or ideas, and/or integrate two or more subfields.

It is Foundation policy that Institutional Overhead or Institutional Support is not covered under this fellowship. Applicants can apply regardless of institutional affiliation, country of residence, or nationality.  Final decisions are made six months after the application deadline.

Eligibility:

  • Applicants must have a Ph.D. or equivalent at the time of application.
  • Applicants must have received a Ph.D. or equivalent within ten years of the application deadline.
  • Qualified scholars are eligible without regard to nationality, institutional, or departmental affiliation although preference is given to applicants who are untenured or do not yet have a permanent academic position.
  • The Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship is to support a continuous period of full-time academic writing. The research that forms the basis of the writing project is expected to be completed at the time of application. In special circumstances and with prior approval of the Foundation, recipients may use part of their stipend for a minor research component if necessary to complete their proposed publication/s. No research funds in addition to the basic stipend are available as part of the Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship.
  • The fellowship may be used to support the preparation of a book or monograph manuscript, journal articles, book chapters, or a combination of these forms of publication.
  • The Foundation cannot accept an application from a prior grantee unless all requirements of a previous grant have been completed. Please contact the Foundation for more information if this situation applies.
  • Prior recipients of Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowships are not eligible to apply for a second fellowship for a different writing project.
  • Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship applications that were unsuccessful in a prior funding cycle may be resubmitted only twice. A resubmission statement explaining how the application is different from the prior application and how the referees’ comments have been addressed must accompany resubmitted applications.
  • If a fellowship is awarded, the applicant must agree to comply with the Requirements and Conditions of the Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Russell Sage Foundation
Decision Making and Human Behavior in Context (DM)
Deadline: May 21 (letter of intent), August 17 (submission), August 5 (letter of intent), November 19 (submission)
Website: https://www.russellsage.org/how-to-apply/apply-project-grants/guidelines

Because of the effects of COVID-19 on all facets of American life, the Russell Sage Foundation is changing its immediate priorities for letters of inquiry for the May 21, 2020, deadline. For this deadline, RSF will only consider LOIs that satisfy at least one of the following criteria:

(a) The research is so timely and time-sensitive that the project must start before April 1, 2021;
or,
(b) the research analyzes social, political, economic, or psychological disruptions resulting from the coronavirus crisis that affect social and living conditions in the United States.

All LOIs must focus on issues related to the foundation’s core program areas and special initiatives: Behavioral Economics; Decision-Making and Human Behavior in Context; Future of Work; Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Social, Political, and Economic Inequality.

Any LOIs submitted for the May 21 deadline must include an appendix of one or two pages that explains why the proposed research meets either or both criteria. This appendix does not count against the usual page limits for LOIs.


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Global Ideas for US Solutions: Cities Taking Action to Address Health, Equity, and Climate Change
Deadline: May 28, 2020
Website: https://www.rwjf.org/content/rwjf/en/library/funding-opportunities/2020/global-ideas-for-us-solutions-cities-taking-action-to-address-health-equity-and-climate-change.html

RWJF seeks proposals that foster learning and stimulate action in U.S. cities around smart, effective approaches from abroad that mitigate the unequal health risks posed by climate change. Specifically, they’re seeking proposals that explore changes in city planning, policies, and programs that address: buildings and energy; land use and urban planning; transportation; waste; food systems and food security; and air quality.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

We are seeking applicants who represent organizations from a wide range of fields and disciplines—both within and outside the health/public health sector. We encourage proposals from both U.S.-based applicants to adopt or adapt a successful approach from outside the United States, and from non-U.S.-based applicants with a successful approach that could work in the United States. We encourage submissions from teams that include both U.S.-based and non-U.S.-based members. We seek to attract diversity of thought, professional background, race, ethnicity, life experience, and cultural perspective in our applicant pool. Building a Culture of Health means integrating health into all aspects of society, so we encourage multisector partnerships and collaboration.

Please note:

  • Applicants may be based almost anywhere in the world;* however, we will only fund proposals that demonstrate clear applicability to the United States and propose work in a U.S. city(ies).
  • Awards will be made to organizations, not individuals. Preference will be given to applicants that are either public entities (e.g., city department of health, city planning department), public charities, or nongovernmental organizations. Applicants not representing city government will be required to submit a letter of support from the head of the U.S. city department with whom the applicant will most closely work.
  • Proposals must be based on a successful approach from a non-U.S. city(ies), region, or global city network. See examples here.
  • Applicants need not have an existing relationship with the non-U.S. city(ies), region, or network in which the approach has been implemented. However, applicants must have an established relationship with the U.S. city(ies) in which the proposed project will take place.
  • The organization implementing the successful approach to address health, equity, and climate change in a U.S. city(ies) must serve as the primary applicant, and will be the prime recipient of funds. The project director should be affiliated with the applicant organization. An individual from a collaborating organization (e.g., community organization, research partner) may serve as the co-project director.

Wenner-Gren Foundation*
Post-PhD Research Grants
Deadline: June 1, 2020
Website: http://www.wennergren.org/programs/post-phd-research-grants

The program contributes to the Foundation’s overall mission to support basic research in anthropology and to ensure that the discipline continues to be a source of vibrant and significant work that furthers our understanding of humanity’s cultural and biological origins, development, and variation. The Foundation supports research that demonstrates a clear link to anthropological theory and debates, and promises to make a solid contribution to advancing these ideas. There is no preference for any methodology, research location, or subfield. The Foundation particularly welcomes proposals that employ a comparative perspective, can generate innovative approaches or ideas, and/or integrate two or more subfields.

The maximum amount of the Post-Ph.D. Research Grant is US $20,000.
Required application materials:

  • General information about yourself and your project
  • An abstract of your proposed research. If your application is successful, this abstract will appear on the Foundation’s website. Please make sure your abstract is written in a style that is clearly understandable to a non-specialist.
  • Answers to five project description questions. Carefully prepare your responses, which should directly address the issues these questions raise.  The best applications make full use of the space provided.
  • A resubmission statement if the current application is a resubmission of a previously declined application.
  • A detailed budget
  • A bibliography relevant to your proposed project
  • A curriculum vitae for the applicant

American Sociological Association
Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline (FAD)
Deadline: June 15, 2020 and December 15, 2020
Website: https://www.asanet.org/careers/grants-and-fellowships/fund-advancement-discipline-fad

The American Sociological Association (ASA) invites submissions for the Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline (FAD) awards. Supported by the ASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF), the goal of this program is to nurture the development of scientific knowledge by funding small, groundbreaking research initiatives and other important scientific research activities such as conferences. FAD awards scholars with “seed money” for innovative research that has the potential for challenging the discipline, stimulating new lines of research, and creating new networks of scientific collaboration. The award is intended to provide opportunities for substantive and methodological breakthroughs, broaden the dissemination of scientific knowledge, and provide leverage for acquisition of additional research funds. The ASA encourages submissions from individuals who are early in their careers, at community colleges, or based at other institutions without extensive support for research, as well as collaborations with 2-year institutions.

Selection Criteria:
Proposals are reviewed for scientific merit and the importance of the proposed research project. Within this context, specific evaluation criteria include the following elements:

  • Innovativeness and promise of the research.
  • The potential of the study as a building block in the development of future research.
  • Appropriateness and significance of the research hypothesis.
  • Feasibility and adequacy of project design.
  • Plans for analysis of data.
  • Plans for dissemination of results.
  • Appropriateness of requested budget.
  • Conference proposals should include a discussion of activities that will lead to networking, new paradigms, and dissemination.

Principal investigators (PI) and co-PI(s) must have a PhD or equivalent. While ASA membership is not a criterion for applying or being selected for this award, if and when an award is received, the recipient must be a current ASA member. ASA membership involves acceptance of and adherence to the ASA Code of Ethics, which is critical to the implementation of the funded project. Awardees must also provide documentation of pertinent IRB approval for the project.

Funding

The current funding rate is about 10%. Awards shall not exceed $8,000 and payment may go directly to the PI or to the PI’s institution, as long as no institutional overhead is charged. Award money may not be used for ASA convention expenses, honoraria, or PI’s salary, which includes buying out of courses. Budgets that include purchases of laptop computers or other hardware will be carefully reviewed. The most frequent use of FAD money is to fund research assistants. Awardees must agree to the reporting requirements of the award. Notification of funding for the June 15th round will be sent in early September and checks will be disbursed mid-October. For the December 15th round, applicants will be notified of funding in mid-March and checks will be disbursed in mid-April.


School of Advanced Research
Resident Scholars Program
Deadline: November 2, 2020
Link: https://sarweb.org/scholars/resident/

Resident scholar fellowships are awarded annually by the School for Advanced Research (SAR) to up to six scholars who have completed their research and who need time to prepare manuscripts or dissertations on topics important to the understanding of humankind. Resident scholars may approach their research from the perspective of anthropology or from related fields such as history and sociology. Scholars from the humanities and social sciences are encouraged to apply. AR’s beautiful campus nourishes the scholarly spirit, combining solitude and freedom from institutional responsibilities with a lively exchange of ideas. Resident scholars are provided with an office, low-cost housing, a stipend (amount varies according to award), library assistance, and other benefits. Fellowships involve a nine-month tenure, from September 1 through May 31.
Applications must include:

  • An abstract, not to exceed 150 words, describing the purpose and goals of the project.
  • A proposal, no more than four double-spaced pages in length, describing the research project, key questions to be addressed, methodologies, and significance. The proposal should also explain what is to be accomplished during the fellowship year and the status of the applicant’s research on the topic.
  • A short bibliography, not to exceed one single-spaced page, of references cited in the proposal.
  • A curriculum vitae, not to exceed four single-spaced pages.
  • Three letters of recommendation, not to exceed two pages in length each. Letters must be requested and submitted through the online application process and uploaded by the application deadline. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that references send their letters on time. Additional reference checks may be conducted for finalists.

    Opportunities marked with an (*) require completion of a clearance form with DePaul’s Development Office.

Spring 2020 Grants Newsletter: Arts and Humanities

National Endowment for the Humanities
Tier I: Planning, Basic Research, or Adaptation
Deadline: April 10, 2020
Website: https://www.neh.gov/sites/default/files/inline-files/Research%20and%20Development%202020%20notice%20of%20funding%20opportunity%2020200515-PR.pdf

The purpose of this program is to support projects that address major challenges in preserving or providing access to humanities collections and resources. These challenges include the need to find better ways to preserve materials of critical importance to the nation’s cultural heritage—from fragile artifacts and manuscripts to analog recordings and digital assets subject to technological obsolescence—and to develop advanced modes of organizing, searching, discovering, and using such materials.Tier I grants provide support for up to two years, and $75,000, with projects strating March 1, 2021.  There is a pre-application webinar scheduled for April 1, 2020 1pm-2pm CT.

Research and Development Projects are encouraged in one or more of the following areas of special interest:

-Preserving our audiovisual and digital heritage. Research and Development
supports ongoing work to address the needs of collection formats most at risk of
obsolescence. Projects may consider addressing issues such as format degradation,
preservation work at scale, algorithmic and machine learning methodologies, storage, data appraisal, and curation.
-Conserving our material past. Research and Development supports the scientific
work to improve the conservation treatment and preventive care of cultural heritage.
-Protecting our cultural heritage. Research and Development supports the
development of tools, methods, technologies, or workflows for documenting, sharing, visualizing, and presenting lost or imperiled cultural heritage materials.
-Reaching under-represented communities. Research and Development supports
work in making preservation and access activities more accessible, sustainable, and
manageable for institutions with limited capacities and access to humanities collections, including persons with disabilities. NEH especially encourages projects that address and/or include as lead applicants and project partners institutions representing minority and indigenous communities.


Wenner-Gren Foundtion* 
Post-PhD Research Grants
Deadline: June 1, 2020
Website: http://www.wennergren.org/programs/post-phd-research-grants

The program contributes to the Foundation’s overall mission to support basic research in anthropology and to ensure that the discipline continues to be a source of vibrant and significant work that furthers our understanding of humanity’s cultural and biological origins, development, and variation. The Foundation supports research that demonstrates a clear link to anthropological theory and debates, and promises to make a solid contribution to advancing these ideas. There is no preference for any methodology, research location, or subfield. The Foundation particularly welcomes proposals that employ a comparative perspective, can generate innovative approaches or ideas, and/or integrate two or more subfields.

The maximum amount of the Post-Ph.D. Research Grant is US $20,000.

Required application materials:

  • General information about yourself and your project
  • An abstract of your proposed research. If your application is successful, this abstract will appear on the Foundation’s website. Please make sure your abstract is written in a style that is clearly understandable to a non-specialist.
  • Answers to five project description questions. Carefully prepare your responses, which should directly address the issues these questions raise.  The best applications make full use of the space provided.
  • A resubmission statement if the current application is a resubmission of a previously declined application.
  • A detailed budget
  • A bibliography relevant to your proposed project
  • A curriculum vitae for the applicant

Association for the Sociology of Religion
Joseph H. Fichter Research Grant Competition
Deadline: May 1, 2020
Website: http://www.sociologyofreligion.com/lectures-papers/fichter-research-grant-competition/

Fichter Research Grants are awarded annually by ASR to members of the Association involved in promising sociological research on women in religion or on the intersection between religion and gender or religion and sexualities.  A total of $12,000 is available to be awarded annually, and this amount is usually distributed among several of the leading applications in the year’s competition. Applicants must be members of ASR.  Grant funds can be used to pay for direct research expenses, such as (1) transportation expenses to conduct research; (2) the cost of hiring a research assistant or transcriber; (3) computer software packages that are not typically provided by a college or university (e.g., specialized statistical software packages).

Application procedures:

-Craft proposal of no more than 5 double-spaced pages (1250 words) that outlines the rational and plan of research.  It should have a descriptive title for the research project (e.g., “A Examination of Women’s Leadership Role in Two Catholic Parishes”), present a clear research question, review previous research and theory that forms the background for the study, describe the social scientific research method(s) that will be used to carry out the research as well as a research timetable, and summarize succinctly what the research aims to discover.

-A detailed, one-page budget.  It should indicate the items for which the applicant is seeking funding, and next to each item, the amount it will cost (in U.S. dollars) and the exact purposes for which it will be used. An itemized budget is necessary to enable the Fichter Committee to determine if the budget is reasonable and for decisions concerning partial funding.  Applicants are advised to NOT include items in their proposed budget that ASR does not cover (see above). IMPORTANT NOTE: A single proposal should prepare a budget that includes no more than $5,000.

-An updated curriculum vitae, including a statement of his/her qualifications to carry out the proposed research, and a current email address at which he/she can be contacted during the summer months.


World Resource Institute-Ross Center
WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities
Deadline: May 7, 2020
Website: https://prizeforcities.org/#about
Prize: Cash prize of $250,000, four runners-up: $25,000, travel to NYC for awards ceremony.

Eligibility:

All types of organizations/entities and individuals from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors are eligible to participate. Submissions may be for initiatives and projects anywhere in the world commenced after January 1, 2000.

Please consult the Terms and Conditions before you apply.

An initiative or project is a specific activity or programmatically linked set of activities in the city. Programmatic linkages may be by design, for example being part of a common, documented strategy; by virtue of common financial support, common oversight, or shared implementation teams; or by documented commitment to shared goals. A Project could refer to a number of types of activities that fit into a range of categories, including social, technological, and/or institutional innovation, training or awareness raising activities, policy or regulatory reform, and infrastructure creation or modification.


American Journalism Historians Association
Joseph McKerns Research Grant
Deadline: June 1, 2020
Website: https://ajha.wildapricot.org/mckerns

Award is for $1,250 and can be used for travel or research related expenses, but not salary.

Eligibility:

All current AJHA (American Journalism Historians Association) full members with a minimum of three years’ membership at the time of application are eligible.

The research must be related to mass media history.
Awardees are expected to continue their membership through the grant period.
Members may apply for a McKerns Research Grant once every five years.

Application Procedures:

-Complete application form included with the Call For Proposals.
-1 to 3-page prospectus/overview of the project, including a budget (which should include a listing of amount and sources of other support, if appropriate), timelines, and expected outlets for the research.
-If appropriate, include Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from the applicant’s university.
-A shortened curriculum vita (no more than 3 pages).
-Submit documents by email as a pdf.


National Endowment for the Humanities
Digital Humanities Advancement Grants (DHAG)
Deadline: June 30, 2020 (optional draft due May 19, 2020).
Website: https://www.neh.gov/grants/odh/digital-humanities-advancement-grants

Three Levels of Award:
Level I: $50,000
Level II: $100,000
Level III: $325,000 in outright funds, $50,000 in matching funds.

Awards to go to organizations to produce articles, digital material and publication, workshop, report, teaching resources, digital infrastructure, software (3 year grant).  In support of its efforts to advance digital infrastructures and initiatives in libraries and archives, and subject to the availability of funds and IMLS discretion, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) anticipates providing funding through this program. These funds may support some DHAG projects that further the IMLS mission to advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations. IMLS funding will encourage innovative collaborations between library and archives professionals, humanities professionals, and relevant public communities that advance preservation of, access to, and public engagement with digital collections and services to empower community learning, foster civic cohesion, and strengthen knowledge networks. This could include collaborations with community-based archives, community-driven efforts, and institutions or initiatives representing the traditionally underserved. Interested applicants should also refer to the current IMLS Strategic Plan for additional context.

Website has examples of narratives and checklists for application materials.

Applications should be submitted through Grants.gov.


Women’s Studio Workshop
Studio Workspace Residency
Deadline: June 30, 2020
Website: https://wsworkshop.org/residencies/studio-residency-grant/

The Studio Grant is a six- to eight-week residency for artists to create new work in any of our studio disciplines: intaglio, letterpress, papermaking, screenprinting, photography, or ceramics. WSW invites applications from artists at any stage in their careers.

This grant includes a stipend of $350/week, up to $500 for materials used during the residency, up to $250 for travel within the Continental US, free onsite housing, and 24/7 studio access. WSW can also provide technical advice and production assistance.
Application Process:
This residency has a two-step jury process: a rotating, impartial jury selects the finalists and then WSW applies for NEA funding for the chosen projects.
-Notification date: October 30
-Residency length: 6-8 weeks
-Residency occurs: 1-2 years after application, September through June
Application must include:

-A current resume

-A brief description of your proposed project, including the studio(s) you’d like to use. 300 word maximum.

-Up to ten images of recent work (digital specifications here)

-An image script, which should include title, medium, dimension, and date of each image


Light Work
Artist-in-Residence Program
Deadline: July 1, 2020
Link: https://www.lightwork.org/air/apply/

Each year Light Work invites 12-15 artists to participate in its residency program, including one artist co-sponsored by Autograph ABP and one artist commission for Urban Video Project (UVP). Artists selected for the residency program are invited to live in Syracuse for one month. They receive a $5,000 stipend, an apartment to stay in, a private digital studio, a private darkroom, and 24-hour access to our facility.

Participants in the residency program are expected to use their month to pursue their own projects: photographing in the area, scanning or printing for a specific project or book, and so on. Artists are not obligated to lecture at our facility, though we hope that the artists are friendly and accessible to local artists and students. Work by each Artist-in-Residence becomes a part of the Light Work Collection and is published in a special edition of Contact Sheet: The Light Work Annual along with an essay commissioned by Light Work.

Eligibility:

Our international residency program is open to all artists working in photography or image-based media, from any country.

Application Procedures:

Applications must be submitted by the posted deadline. Applicants will receive an e-mail from SlideRoom confirming that we have received an application. While submissions are open throughout the year, our main selection committee review concludes in the late fall and notifications will be sent no later than December of each year. Please be patient in this process. We will contact you should we need more information, and to notify you of your application status when the time comes.


John Templeton Foundation*
Science and the Big Questions
Deadline: August 14, 2020
Link: https://www.templeton.org/funding-areas/science-big-questions

Funds work in the strategic areas of natural sciences, human sciences, philosophy & theology, and public engagement.  The work this foundation funds falls into one or more of the following themes:

-fundamental structures and laws of nature
-the nature of the divine
-the nature and potential of the human mind
-religion and spirituality in human experience
-life, love, and virtue

Grant duration is typically up to three years.

Interested applicants should submit project idea through online funding (OFI) inquiry portal and may be invited to submit full application.

-Small grants are requests for $234,800
OFI deadline: August 14, 2020

-Large grants are for more than $234,800
OFI deadline: August 14, 2020


Opportunities marked with an (*) require completion of a clearance form with DePaul’s Development Office.

Additional funding search tools are available on the ORS website at: https://offices.depaul.edu/ors/pre-award-services/identifying-funding/funding-search-tools/Pages/default.aspx

Winter 2020 Grants Newsletter: Humanities

Sustainable Arts Foundation*
$5,000 award each to twenty artists with children. Award is unrestricted cash, applicants use funds as they see fit. 
Deadline: February 28, 2020
Link: https://apply.sustainableartsfoundation.org/

Eligibility:
To be eligible, the applicant must have at least one child under the age of 18.

Artists and writers with at least one child and a strong portfolio of polished work are welcome to apply.

We are inspired by anyone who is making creative work while raising a family. Given the intense demand for these awards (we typically receive over 3,000 applications), and the fact that the awards are based on demonstrated excellence in your discipline, we don’t recommend that artists or writers who are beginning their creative careers apply to this program.

While we don’t require that applicants have published or exhibited their work, the rigor and critique involved in that process can certainly benefit the portfolio. Portfolios of writing or artwork created in a more personal vein for sharing with friends and family are not suitable.

Half of awards go to applicants of color.

Application Process:

Juried award.

$20 application fee, submit portfolio of work created since becoming a parent and in the last three years.


Creative Capital Award

Creative Capital provides each funded project with up to $50,000 in direct funding and career development services valued at more than $50,000, for a total commitment of over $100,000 per project. Themes for work include: history, civic practice, immigration, education systems, and the built environment. 
Deadline: February 29, 2020
Link: https://creative-capital.org/award/about-the-creative-capital-award-open/

Eligibility:

  • At least 25 years old
  • A working artist with at least five years of professional experience
  • A U.S. Citizen, permanent legal resident, or an O-1 Visa holder

Application process:

February 1 through February 29 at 4pm ET: Open Application

Project proposals will be accepted in a free and open application through the month of February. Along with project title, descriptions, and selection of up to two disciplines, applications include questions about the goals of the project, work samples, and provide a total budget number for the project.

July: Second Round Review

Projects selected to advance to the second round will be notified at this time. Project proposals will be reviewed by a new pool of evaluators in this phase. No additional material will need to be submitted.

October: Panel Review

Projects chosen to advance to panel review will be asked for a project update and will be reviewed for a final panel of evaluators. No additional material will need to be submitted.

November: Decision

Panel meetings will be held in New York City in the fall. Projects will be chosen for support and submitted to the board of directors for final approval. Selected artists will be notified of the decision before the end of the year, and will be invited to attend an orientation in the spring, and the Creative Capital Artist Retreat in the summer.

December: Announcement

A public announcement of the Creative Capital Awards will be made in the winter.


Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

Artist Residency Program

Deadline: March 1, 2020

Link: https://www.crafthouston.org/artists/residents/apply-to-program/

Media accepted: Wood, Glass, Metal, Fiber, Clay, and Mixed Media

Applicants must be able to fulfill a program requirement of working in their studios for two days per week during HCCC public hours. All resident artists are required to open their studios to public interaction on Saturdays and one other day of the week (TBD), as well as during exhibition openings and specific educational programs on the evenings and weekends. Applicants should consider the public-facing nature of the residencies and the fact that a major goal of the program is to provide visitors with an opportunity to explore contemporary craft through engaging with working artists.

5-10 residencies awarded, each includes a $600 monthly stipend.

Application Process:

Applicants for HCCC’s Artist Residency and for the ICP Residency will apply through the same online application.  All applicants must provide the following information when completing the online application:

Artist Statement: In one page or less, describe your creative work, process, technique, and conceptual development. Tie your statement to a specific process or work that is depicted in your images.

Resume: Three pages or less.

Three References: Provide contact information for three references. References will be contacted in the final stages of the interview process.

Images of 10 Works Created within the Last Two Years: Upload one wide shot and one detail for each of 10 pieces, for a total number of 20 images.

International Applicants: International applicants must provide proof of eligibility to work in the U.S.— green card or appropriate visa—with application.


American Council of Learned Societies

Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows Competition for Recent PhDs

Deadline: March 18, 2020

Link: https://www.acls.org/Competitions-and-Deadlines/Mellon-ACLS-Public-Fellows-Program/Mellon-ACLS-Public-Fellows-Competition-for-Recent-PhDs

Stipend: $70,000 per year, employer-based health insurance, a relocation allowance, and up to $3,000 in professional development funds over the course of the fellowship

Tenure: Two years; start date on August 3 or September 1, 2020, depending on the fellowship position

21 Two-year terms positions offered at organizations in government and non-profit sectors for recent PhDs in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

Eligibility:

Applicants must have a PhD in the humanities or humanistic social sciences (see note on eligible fields below) conferred between September 1, 2016 and June 19, 2020.

Applicants defend and file/deposit their completed dissertations no later than April 6, 2020, and be prepared to verify this with official university documentation during the review and selection process.

Applicants must be authorized to work legally in the United States. Neither ACLS nor the host organization will sponsor fellows for work visas.

Application Process:

Fellowships serve in specific roles at specific organizations.

Applicants can apply to up to two positions.

Application materials:

-A completed application form

-A cover letter tailored to each selected position and addressed to the host organization (1-2 pages). Applicants applying for two positions will submit two distinct cover letters.

-A résumé (1-2 pages). Applicants applying for two positions will submit two résumés.

-Two reference letters for each selected position.


Archaeological Institute of America
AIA Society Outreach Grant Program
Deadline: April 6, 2020
Link: https://www.archaeological.org/grant/society-outreach/

This grant is meant for innovative outreach programs, replicable by other societies and beyond the regular lecture program supported by the national office (see past projects). Funds may be used for any expense related to organizing and conducting the programs, these include but are not limited to materials, travel expenses, honoraria, advertisements, and publicity. If funds are requested for a lecture, the Society should provide adequate explanation as to how this lecture is meaningfully different from the routine lecture series (e.g., involvement of new audience, development of new partnerships, educational programs, visibility in an attractive segment of the community or the like). Grant money cannot be used for things like outside management (i.e. hiring an event planner) or for basic operating costs. The grant is available to any chartered AIA society. Preference is given to new projects. Currently requests for $500 are being considered.

Eligibility: AIA Membership.
Application Process: complete form online, include justification for use of funds.


National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships
Deadline: April 8, 2020
Link: https://www.neh.gov/grants/research/fellowships
Maximum award is $60,000 ($5,000 per month) open to individuals to produce book, digital material, publications, translations, other scholarly resource.

Fellowships provide recipients time to conduct research or to produce books, monographs, peer-reviewed articles, e-books, digital materials, translations with annotations or a critical apparatus, or critical editions resulting from previous research.  Projects may be at any stage of development.

Website includes past examples of narrative materials. NEH Fellowships are competitive awards granted to individual scholars pursuing projects that embody exceptional research, rigorous analysis, and clear writing.  Applications must clearly articulate a project’s value to humanities scholars, general audiences, or both.

Eligibility:

The Fellowships program accepts applications from individuals who meet the following requirements. Citizenship U.S. citizens, whether they reside inside or outside the United States, are eligible to apply.

Foreign nationals who have been living in the United States or its jurisdictions for at least the three years prior to the application deadline are also eligible. Foreign nationals who take up permanent residence outside the United States any time between the application deadline and the end of the period of performance will forfeit their eligibility to hold an award. (Leaving the U.S. on a temporary basis is permitted.) While applicants need not have advanced degrees, individuals currently enrolled in a degree granting program are ineligible to apply. Applicants who have satisfied all the requirements for a degree and are awaiting its conferral are eligible for NEH Fellowships; but such applicants must include a letter from the dean of the conferring school or their department chair attesting to the applicant’s status as of the application deadline in Attachment 6: Degree Conferral.


National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan
Deadline: April 22, 2020

Link: https://www.neh.gov/grants/research/fellowships-advanced-social-science-research-japan

The Fellowships for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan program is a joint activity of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The program aims to promote Japan studies in the United States, to encourage U.S.-Japanese scholarly exchange, and to support the next generation of Japan scholars in the U.S. Awards support research on modern Japanese society and political economy, Japan’s international relations, and U.S.-Japan relations. The program encourages innovative research that puts these subjects in wider regional and global contexts and is comparative and contemporary in nature. Research should contribute to scholarly knowledge or to the general public’s understanding of issues of concern to Japan and the United States. Appropriate disciplines for the research include anthropology, economics, geography, history, international relations, linguistics, political science, psychology, and sociology. Awards usually result in articles, monographs, books, e-books, digital materials, translations, editions, or other scholarly resources.

The fellowships are designed for researchers with advanced Japanese language skills whose research will require use of data, sources, and documents, onsite interviews, or other direct contact in Japanese. Fellows may undertake their projects in Japan, the United States, or both, and may include work in other countries for comparative purposes. Projects may be at any stage of development.

Maximum amount is $5,000 per month for 6-12 months.

Note: applicants can apply to ONLY ONE of the following research programs per year (NEH-Mellon Fellowships for Digital Publications, Fellowships for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan, Awards for Faculty at Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Awards for Faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Awards for Faculty at Tribal Colleges and Universities.

Application Procedures:

Complete on Grants.gov.

Opportunities marked with an (*) require completion of a clearance form with DePaul’s Development Office.

Additional funding search tools are available on the ORS website at: https://offices.depaul.edu/ors/pre-award-services/identifying-funding/funding-search-tools/Pages/default.aspx

Through the Glass Darkly

“Hello, darkness, my old friend,” to quote a panelist at the SSRC’s recent event, “Speaking in Light and Dark.” His reference to the opening line of Simon and Garfunkel’s, The Sound of Silence, aptly set the stage for a discussion about light and dark hosted in the late afternoon of January 18 on a stage lit only by natural light coming through the windows of Cortelyou Commons. As the sun set at 4:48 pm aOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnd darkness progressively pervaded the room, four DePaul faculty members from different disciplines reflected on how lightness and darkness have informed their work or thinking, either literally or metaphorically.

DePaul’s College of Communication had just begun when Associate Professor Daniel Makagon proposed an addition to the schedule called The City at Night, a class held during the unorthodox hours of 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. To see how people utilized the night, his class visited a social worker, a karaoke expert, a needle exchange site, a CTA routing and operations center, and the Guardian Angels, the self-appointed, volunteer safety brigade that once patrolled Chicago subway lines. As an enthusiastic supporter of experiential learning, Daniel fondly recalled one class visit when education become a public event itself. The class was meeting with the Guardian Angels on a subway platform in the Loop when curious onlookers began raising their hands and spontaneously joined in the learning experience themselves. “There was this of kind of opening up at night,” he said. He’s still contemplating its meaning.

Daniel has also applied a night/day lens to his research into the punk music culture to examine underground performance spaces. Subverting our usual notions of how we use spaces by day and night, these all-age punk shows often occur in basements in DIY (do-it-yourself) spaces, during the day. There the basement space becomes a “liberatory, temporary, autonomous zone for folks to enact a different kind of economy, a different social experience in terms of how they meet together in the world, and also a different kind of political experience as well, guided by an alternativepolitics, an alternative economy, to the mainstream music industry as we find it,” he said.

A compilation of night sounds gathered by Daniel’s DePaul students formed an ongoing soundtrack that played throughout the panelists’ presentations. DePaul’s Media Production and Training (MPT) video-taped the event. The results illustrate the significance of light to a technology that depends solely on light to capture and store images.

Field observation has been fundamental to Public Policy Studies Professor Bill Sampson’s academic pursuits. Bill shared with the audience the personal question that has nagged at him throughout his educational and academic life. How was it that he, growing up poor and black in a poor, black neighborhood in Milwaukee did well in school while others sharing the same outward circumstances did not? The explanation his high school teachers gave him — that he was “an exception” — didn’t sit well with him. He has reached some conclusions based on his analysis of observational data students in his classes have gathered over the years, chronicling the lives of poor black and Latino families for comparisons of how the children of those families performed in school.

Not neighborhood, not school, not teachers most affect the results, he found. That leaves him pessimistic about how much of a difference current education policies that shower resources on schools and teachers will ever make. “What mattered most were specific things about the home environment. Kids who did well in school lived in quiet, orderly, structured homes, which is difficult to maintain when you’re poor,” he said. Those students had chores at home, took part in extracurricular activities, were internally controlled, and displayed high self-esteem. All had parents or guardians who showed that they valued education, often by participating in their children’s homework even if they couldn’t do the work themselves.

Acknowledging that “we can’t control families” and that not all families even want the best for their children, he asked: “How do we take what we’ve learnedand give it to the families that want it?” Assuming that teachers and schools are doing what they should (not a given, he noted), “for the parents who are willing, we can make a difference.”

Steve Harp, associate professor of Art, Media, and Design, approached lightness and darkness more formally, but also subjectively. Against a backdrop projection of his own striking, black and white nighttime photos (including the image accompanying this post), Steve presented what he termed a short “pseudo theoretical paper” in which he explicated the word dream from the literary and psychological perspectives of a variety of writers. Noting the seeming similarity between the words trӓume (dreams in German) and trauma (derived from the Greek word for “wound”), he said it’s hard to believe they’re not related etymologically “while linked in so many ways conceptually and experientially.”

Considering any distinction between dream and nightmare as artificial, he discussed the trauma of the nightmare as the experience of waking into consciousness. He linked the traumatic aspect of awakening to the act of departure, or awakening. Inviting the audience to think of dreams spatially, as a path into darkness, he suggested that dreams might be regarded not as wish fulfillment, but as the tension between arrival (or our visions of arrival) and departure. His last words were a lyric from the late Leonard Cohen: “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

The panel concluded with Assistant Professor of Philosophy Peter Steeves’ mind-bendingly succinct but sobering, 15-step timeline of the birth and death of light. His only prompt, a DIY “power point” flashlight beam trained on sheets of white paper carrying dates, effectively underlined his observation that light’s lifespan is a relative blip within the sprawling chronology of the universe. In increasingly bad news, he pegged the lifespan of humans on earth at a mere million years and forecast our sun to end 6.5 billion years from now, when it will swallow up the earth. A hundred trillion years from now, all stars — the manufacturers of light — will have been extinguished. Earth too, whose rank as a “Goldilocks of stars” (not big, not small), will succumb with one of the less remarkable star-death displays, he said.

Peter’s interest in the topic is rooted in “the overlap of philosophy and physics,” his twin loves, “and light plays a major role in that,” he said. “Light is not important in any fundamental way,” he concluded. “So I sometimes think, why do we make it so important? Why do we think it’s all about life and why do we think it’s all about light? That’s something I’ve been thinking about recently.”

Mess Hall: Robin Burke and John Shanahan Talk about Reading Chicago Reading

 

In October, Robin Burke (of CDM) and John Shanahan (of English) stopped by the SSRC’s Mess Hall to discuss their venture, Reading Chicago Reading.  The project, which was recently funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, is an empirical examination into who reads what kinds of books.  The digital humanities project started by examining the One Book, One Chicago (OBOC) program, operated by the Chicago Public Library.  Essentially, Burke and Shanahan (as well as their research team, which also includes SSRC Staff Members Nandhini Gulasingam and Jessi Bishop-Royse), are using OBOC data from CPL to examine various aspects of the well-known reading program.

oboc

The Reading Chicago Reading project is innovative in that the team is combining data from texts, community demographics, circulation records, and social media to yield book-level predictions on who is interested in a particular item.  Combining CPL checkout data with other data, such as Census data, the Reading Chicago Reading research team is hoping to determine how the characteristics of branch libraries influence OBOC participation.  Burke and Shanahan are hoping to use these various data sources to predict community interest in various titles CPL might consider for future iterations of OBOC.

For more information on their recent projects, please check out the results page of the Reading Chicago Reading website.

 

DePaul Professor Steve Harp’s Project “In Sleep’s Dark Kingdom”

There is a crack in everything,

That’s how the light gets in.

Anthem, Leonard Cohen 

In Sleep’s Dark Kingdom, by DePaul faculty member Steve Harp, is an artist’s book created in response to the SSRC’s call for proposals to celebrate the UNESCO designated International Year of Light.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My approach takes as its starting point the notion that conceptions of light are meaningless without framing notions of darkness. Light only enters the realm of perception out of a darkness.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In “The Hollow Men,” (1925) T. S. Eliot writes of “death’s dream kingdom,” a place of disguises, with “eyes I dare not meet.” It is a kind of limbo, a twilight kingdom – a place between. The dream kingdom is also, of course, the place of sleep – itself a liminal zone between the clear consciousness of the light of day and the obscure darkness of unconsciousness.  If light is a metaphor for clarity or understanding, sleep has its own light emerging from darkness: the cold, crystalline clarity Freud posits residing in the dream continually hidden by layers of resistances obscuring it in metaphor, symbol, displacement.   Yet centrally, what Freud suggests is that the light of the dream (the latent content) can only become visible emerging from a darkness (the manifest content – always only known through its telling or representation, never through direct access to the dream “itself” – a kind of double cloaking or darkness).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My project touches on or suggests four “realms” or kingdoms of darkness, terrestrial and extraterrestrial, conscious and unconscious, in which light’s emergence from darkness and obscurity is to be celebrated all the more for its rarity and brevity. What I have attempted to do in this project – itself obscurely explained thus far – is to suggest darkness as an opportunity for light, darkness as the necessary frame allowing glimmers of light – of clarity, of understanding, of meaning, of hope – to break through and become manifest themselves.

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