Dissertation Writing Groups Offer Structure and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Dissertation working groups.

Deadline: October 28, 2019

The Franklin Humanities Institute seeks proposals from dissertation-stage students in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences who share similar research interests – defined historically, geographically, conceptually, or in some other manner – and wish to engage regularly, intensively with peers across the disciplines. We recommend groups of 4 to 5 members, all of whom should be post-proposal and actively engaged in the writing process. Each group should include students from two or more departments.

Each selected group will receive up to $500 for meeting expenses (e.g. meals) and, if it would be helpful for the group, a public colloquium focused on the members’ works-in-progress. Award funds may not be used for research or conference travel by individual group members. We expect the groups to be self-organized, but would be happy to connect students with resources on how to get the most out of writing groups.

To apply, please complete the online application by October 28, 2019, 11:59 p.m. Required proposal materials include: a brief collective statement on the shared focus of the group members’ dissertation projects; 1-page dissertation project description and CV for each member.

Questions? Email FHI Associate Director Christina Chia.

Graduate Students Can Receive Funds from FHI for Interdisciplinary Working Groups

2019-2020 Graduate Working Groups.

Deadline: October 28, 2019

The Franklin Humanities Institute welcomes proposals from new or existing working groups organized around any topic of cross-disciplinary concern in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences. We are especially interested in projects that relate to the FHI’s 2019-20 and 2020-21 Annual Theme World Arts, but will be happy to consider proposals on other subjects as well.

To be eligible for an award, a group needs to be convened by two or more PhD students in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences. Conveners may also include MFA students in Experimental and Documentary Arts or Embodied Interdisciplinary Praxis. Group members may include faculty, staff, and other constituencies, but conveners need to be graduate students.

Selected groups will each receive up to $1,000 in financial support for meeting expenses (e.g. meals), purchases of books and other materials, attendance at screenings/performances/museum exhibitions, and a public event such as a guest lecture by an external scholar. Award funds may not be used for research or conference travel by individual group members. If needed, conveners may apply for additional financial support for public events.

To apply, please complete the online application by October 28, 2019, 11:59pm. Required proposal materials include: a brief description of the Working Group project; CV for each co-convener; and a preliminary, non-binding list of other graduate students, faculty, or others who may participate in the group.

Questions? Email FHI Associate Director Christina Chia.

Graduate Students Can Apply for Fellowships in PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge

PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge.
PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge graduate fellows regularly attend presentations in the shared lab space in Bay 4 of Smith Warehouse and discuss their work on digital project in the spring semester. Above, Max Symuleski (second from left) and Rebecca Uliasz (second from right) lead a PhD Lab discussion. Photo by Jennifer R. Zhou.

Deadline: September 1, 2019

The PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge at the Franklin Humanities Institute seeks PhD Lab Fellows for 2019-20. The purpose of the PhD Lab is to foster innovative new digital research and teaching practices in the humanities and interpretive social sciences. This program is targeted at PhD students at Duke in the humanities or social sciences, or in another program with a “digital knowledge” component that will benefit from a humanistic perspective, who are interested in sustained engagement with digital research and teaching through practice, critique, and collaboration. Fellows receive a noncompensatory supplement of $1,500 for the year and are expected to participate in Fellows lunch meetings and other events regularly.

In 2019-20, PhD Lab Fellows will be expected to enter the program with a digital project idea at any stage of development, attend required luncheon workshops (roughly every other Thursday from 11:30-1:15 pm), join a PhD Lab working group (groups set their own, separate meeting times), and participate in Lab events and activities. We also strongly encourage the use of our Lab in Smith Warehouse (Bay 4, C104) as a shared workspace when it isn’t scheduled for meetings or events.

During the Fall semester, our lunch meetings will be devoted to presentations and workshops by the Lab Directors and our invited guests around various digital concepts, methods, critical approaches, and hands-on applications. These sessions will be based in part on Lab member interest, and might include topics such as digital archives and exhibitions, digital mapping, digital publishing, VR/AR, physical computing, data visualization, and games. Theoretical and critical conversations are also welcome.

Spring meetings will generally revolve around Fellows’ working group presentations of their own works in progress. These meetings may also include workshops, clusters of readings, and other special sessions as the opportunities arise in coordination with other Digital Humanities Initiative and related activities on campus and beyond.

In order to spread the Fellows opportunity around, we are primarily seeking first-time PhD lab participants. However, returning Fellows may also apply. We are especially interested in returning Fellows who wish to organize a workshop/presentation and/or leading a working group as part of their Lab activities.

We are also interested in identifying potential Fellows who may wish to work as on digital teaching and research projects with other Labs and/or with the FHI-North Carolina Central University Digital Humanities Fellows. (Some compensatory TA/RA opportunities may become available here.) You will be asked to indicate your new/returning status, as well as potential interest in these opportunities, on your application.

The PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge is part of the Duke Digital Humanities Initiative, and is based in the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Smith Warehouse. It partners with many existing programs on campus. It was founded by Professor Cathy Davidson. Next year, the PhD Lab will be in its eighth year, and will be co-directed by Professors Philip Stern and Victoria Szabo.

Apply now using our online application form.

Franklin Humanities Institute Invites Collaborators for World Arts Series

Detail from Chris Burden’s kinetic sculpture Metropolis II (2010)

For the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years, the Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI) has selected the theme of World Arts.

The World Arts series explores the world-making potential of the arts and the ways in which worlds are imagined within them. Events and working groups will examine the way in which the arts and humanities have been conceptualized with an expanded world view, whether in terms of universalisms and planetarities; by trade and trade routes, such as the spice trade, silk routes, and the slave trade; or by worldview, whether religious, ideological, or territorial.

Seeking to provide a platform for a broad historical and geographical investigation, the FHI will also explore how older and newer empires are sustained by the imaginative work of the political, of the spiritual and of astronomy as well as land, space, finance, and secular and religious worldviews. We will also explore current conceptualizations of world arts, in categories such as world literature, the global novel, international style, world music and dance, art and architecture biennials, and music, dance, and film festivals.

The FHI welcomes collaborations with other Duke University entities on the theme of World Arts. To submit an initial request for event co-sponsorship, please visit Request Co-sponsorship from the FHI and complete the online form.

Humanities Research Comes to Life at the Story+ Symposium on June 26

Story+ teams.

All are welcome at the 2019 Story+ Humanities Research Symposium, when Story+ teams will present their final products and/or research works-in-progress.

Story+ is a six-week summer research experience for undergraduates and graduate mentors interested in bringing academic research to life through dynamic storytelling.

This year, ten Story+ teams are unboxing curious artifacts in the Duke archives (including a lock of Walt Whitman’s hair!), uncovering telling facts of social history at Duke and beyond (including its “stained” tobacco pasts), and remixing content into literary exhibitions, environmental podcasts, educational materials, 3D-printed stamps, musical liner notes, and social justice image archives.

Their topics range from asylums to feminisms to 19th-century social media stars, and their products range from podcasts to pedagogical materials. Their methods include textual analysis, visual analysis, archival/historical research, social media research, narrative analysis, cultural analysis, creative work, artistic practice, oral history, writing, and embodied performance.

Story+ symposium.
Wednesday, June 26, 12:00-3:30; lunch starts at 11:45 and program begins at 12:00. Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall, C105, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse, Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University

Story+ is offered through the Franklin Humanities Institute and Bass Connections, with support from the Duke University Libraries and Versatile Humanists at Duke.

Learn more about the teams on the FHI website as well as Instagram (which is taken over by the teams during Story+) at @DukeStoryPlus. Schedule updates will be posted on the FHI Duke Calendar and Facebook event pages.

Franklin Humanities Institute Awards 13 Global Collaboration Seed Grants for 2019-2020

Global Collaboration Seed Grants, 2019-20.

The Franklin Humanities Institute is pleased to announce the recipients for the 2019-2020 Global Collaboration Seed Grants. We have been fortunate to receive generous matching support from the Office of Global Affairs’ Andrew W. Mellon Endowment for Global Studies. These grants are designed to support inquiry into research areas that cannot be adequately addressed without cross-national or cross-regional scholarly dialogue, or without exchanges across languages and philosophical or methodological traditions. The 13 funded projects include several artistic collaborations along with works in international scholarly research.

Black Mountain: An Image-based, Interdisciplinary, Collaborative Performance Project

Duke Faculty: Torry Bend (Theater Studies)
International Collaborators: Riverbed Theater Company, Taiwan: Criag Quintero (Artistic Director; Grinnell College; Humanities Unbounded Visiting Faculty Fellow), Chung Li-Mei, Su Hui-yu, Wang Tzu-ting, and Chiang Ji-Yang

Worlding Future Arts: Dance and Black Arts Movements

Duke Faculty: Thomas F. DeFrantz (African & African American Studies; Dance; Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies)
International Collaborator: Luciane Ramos Silva, Independent Researcher and Artist

Rethinking Secularism and Modernity: International Network for Interreligious Dialogue and Education

Duke Faculty: Malachi Hacohen (History)
International Collaborators: Hilda Nissimi (Bar-Ilan university, Israel), Todd H. Weir (University of Groningen, Netherlands)

The China Question of Cultural and Media Studies

Duke Faculty: Kang Liu (Asian & Middle Eastern Studies), John Aldrich (Political Science)
International Collaborators: Wang Nin (Shanghai Jiao Tong University), Zeng Jun (Shanghai University), Shan Bo (Wuhan University), Li Song (Wuhan University)

#FMF | #BLM: Race Precarity and the Transgenerational Costs of Racism

Duke Faculty: Anne-Maria Makhulu (Cultural Anthropology; African & African American Studies)
International Collaborator: Hylton White (University of the Witswatersrand, South Africa)

People of the City: New Directions in Migration and African Urbanism

Duke Faculty: Catherine (Kathryn) Mathers (International Comparative Studies; Cultural Anthropology), Samuel Fury Childs Daly (African & African American Studies; International and Comparative Studies)
International Collaborators: Loren Landau (University of the Witswatersrand, South Africa), Caroline Wanjiku Kihato (University of Johannesburg, South Africa), Jimoh Oluwasegun (Federal University, Birnin Kebbi, Nigeria)

Global Engagements: Asian, African American, and Asian American Internationalisms and Solidarities, 1918-2018: Exhibit and Research Workshops for Pedagogical Initiatives in Global Humanities

Duke Faculty: Suchetz Mazumdar (History)
International Collaborator: Selina Lai-Henderson (Duke Kunshan University)

Collaboration between Painter Beverly McIver and Dancer Eiko Otake – Part of Eiko’s Duet Project

Duke Faculty: Beverly McIver (Art, Art History & Visual Studies)
International Collaborator: Eiko Otake (Dancer/Interdisciplinary Artist)

The Making of Modern Cairo: Urban Topography and Digital Humanities in the Middle East

Duke Faculty: Adam Mestyan (History), Sara Galletti (Art, Art History & Visual Studies)
International Collaborators: Mercedes Volait (CNRS – Centre national de la recherche scientifique, INHA – Institut national d’histoire de l’art, France)

The Value of Love: Global Perspectives on the Economy of Care

Duke Faculty: Jocelyn Olcott (History, Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies)
International Collaborator: Marija Barti (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Documentary Interpretations of Transnational Contact Zones in Bavaria, Germany

Duke Faculty: Christopher Sims (Center for Documentary Studies)
International Collaborators: Birgit Bauridl (University of Regensburg, Germany), Max Ernst Stockburger (Documentary Photographer; University for Applied Sciences, Bielefeld, Germany)

War and Memory in Peru

Duke Faculty: Orin Starn (Cultural Anthropology), Holly Ackerman (Duke Libraries)
International Collaborators: Olinda Quispe Chávez (San Cristóbal University, Ayacucho, Peru), Ponciano Del Pinto (Catholic University, Lima, Peru)

Perpetrator Studies Working Group

Duke Faculty: Rebecca Stein (Cultural Anthropology)
International Collaborators: Hilla Dayan, Noa Roei, Erella Grassiani (University of Amsterdam)

Originally posted on the Franklin Humanities Institute website

FHI Invites Proposals for Faculty Book Manuscript Workshops in Spring 2020

Faculty book manuscript workshop.

Deadline: September 3, 2019


The Franklin Humanities Institute’s Faculty Book Manuscript Workshop Program provides support for the development and completion of scholarly monographs. It provides a structure for generating constructive, informed criticism on near-final book manuscripts, at a moment in the writing process when authors can most effectively utilize feedback. The aim of the program is to transform already excellent scholarly projects into superior published works.

The FHI introduced the Faculty Book Manuscript Workshop Program in 2008 and developed it with generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation from 2011 to 2015. In recognition of the support that the program provides for faculty research, it is now funded by the Provost as part of the university’s academic strategic plan, Together Duke.

The Book MS Workshop award includes funding as well as logistical support. (Please note that it does not include fellowship or course-release funding.)


All regular rank faculty in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences, regardless of seniority, are eligible to apply, but Assistant Professors will receive priority consideration. We are also interested in translations, collaborative projects, and innovative major publications in a variety of formats and platforms.

Timing and Leave

Junior faculty are strongly advised to apply for the workshop in advance of their junior leave. While the award does not include funding for additional leave, the FHI commits to assisting workshop recipients who plan to apply for additional leave in order to support the final revisions of their manuscripts.

When applying, applicants should consider carefully their anticipated writing schedule. The FHI will work with each awardee to schedule their workshop, based on a realistic due date for a complete draft of the book manuscript, which will be sent to participants at least four weeks prior to the workshop date.

For digital or multi-modal projects, a workshop earlier in the research and writing process might be more useful; feel free to consult the FHI about timing at fhi@duke.edu.

Deadline to Apply

The deadline for proposals is Tuesday, September 3, 2019.

Workshop Details

Each workshop convenes two senior scholars whose work is relevant to the subject of the book in question, an acquisitions editor from a major scholarly press, and a select group of local faculty from Duke and area universities. The author selects workshop participants based on their expertise in fields relevant to the project.

The half-day workshop begins with presentations from the invited guests, each of whom will be asked to make a formal presentation of their thoughts on the strengths of the draft and areas for further development. The author responds, and an open discussion with the group follows, continuing over a working lunch.

Workshops are closed, and groups are limited to 15 total participants.

The FHI handles all logistics related to the workshop, including sending formal invitations to workshop participants, making travel arrangements for external guests, scheduling the workshop, reserving a room, printing and distributing manuscripts to workshop participants, providing catered meals, and issuing honoraria. This allows faculty to focus on finishing their manuscripts in the months approaching the workshop.

Proposal Requirements and Selection Criteria

Proposals should focus on scholarly manuscripts being produced with the aim to secure a publishing contract. One workshop per year may be dedicated to digital or multi-modal projects.

Authors and their projects will be selected based on the potential significance of the finished work to the field in question, and the potential impact of the work on the author’s career. The applicant’s academic accomplishments will also be taken into account.  Workshop proposals must include the following components:

  • A one-page summary of the project in development, including a firm date for completion of the book manuscript.
  • In this summary, applicants should also include a statement indicating whether the work is under contract with a publisher, a list of publishers who have expressed interest, or a list of publishers the applicant feels would be ideal for the project but who have not yet been approached.
  • A one-page narrative explaining why and how this opportunity will be important to the process of completing the work. If appropriate, applicants should include a brief statement specifying their tenure and/or promotion timelines.
  • A list of prospective invitees to the workshop, to include: (1) two scholars external to Duke; (2) one acquisitions editor at a major scholarly press (not necessarily an editor who has been approached); and (3) a list of general invitees to the workshops from Duke and area universities. The list may include no more than 15 people, and should be divided into areas of relevance, with each prospective participant in each area ranked according to preference. Please note that this list is intended to give the review committee a sense of the proposed workshop and will not be considered final. Applicants should be sure to include more than one scholar in each category.
  • A current curriculum vitae.
  • Proposals must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 via email attachment (Word and PDF) to fhi@duke.edu. Please include the phrase “Book MS Workshop Proposal” in the subject line.
  • Applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been successful approximately six weeks from the submission deadline.


Email fhi@duke.edu or sylvia.miller@duke.edu.

Four Faculty Receive FHI Book Manuscript Workshop Awards

Sarah Beckwith, William Johnson, Ellen McLarney, Sarah Wilbur

The Franklin Humanities Institute is pleased to grant Faculty Book Manuscript Workshops to the following recipients for the 2019-2020 Academic Year. Additional awards may be announced during the Fall 2019 semester.

Sarah Beckwith

Katherine Everett Gilbert Professor of English, English Department
Shakespeare, Ethics, Tragedy

William Johnson

Professor, Department of Classical Studies
The Cultures of Reading in the Ancient Mediterranean World: Jew, Christians, Greeks, Romans, and Others
(This multiauthor project is funded under the “innovative major publications” category, and the workshop will have a public component.)

Ellen McLarney

Associate Professor, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Black Arts, Black Muslims: Race, Religion, and Culture in America

Sarah Wilbur

Assistant Professor of the Practice, Dance Program
Funding Bodies: Five Decades of Dance “Making” at the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts (1965­–2016)

The Faculty Book Manuscript workshop program allows faculty to invite two experts in their field and an acquisitions editor from a major scholarly press to campus. During a half-day workshop, these guests present their thoughts on the manuscript, followed by a response from the author and discussion with a broader group of invited faculty from Duke and other universities in the Triangle. The workshop provides a structure for generating constructive, informed criticism on near-final book manuscripts, at a moment in the writing process when authors can most effectively utilize such feedback.

Launched in 2008 and supported by the Mellon Foundation from 2011 to 2015, the Workshops are currently funded by the Provost as part of Together Duke, the University’s academic strategic plan.

Originally posted on the Franklin Humanities Institute website