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Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellowships 2020-2021

Applications are open for the Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellowships 2020-2021. The Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society program aims to amplify the broad potential of doctoral education in the humanities by supporting doctoral faculty as they pursue publicly engaged scholarship and advocate for diverse professional pathways for emerging PhDs.

The program offers opportunities for faculty with fulltime appointments in PhD-granting humanities departments or programs in the United States to engage significant societal questions in their research, serve as ambassadors for humanities scholarship beyond the academy, and deepen their support for innovations in doctoral education on their campuses.

Scholars and Society fellowships enable faculty who teach and advise doctoral students to pursue research projects while in residence at a US-based cultural, media, government, policy, or community organization of their choice. Fellows and their colleagues at host institutions are expected to create a mutually beneficial partnership in which they collaborate, interact, and learn about each other’s work, motivating questions, methods, and practices. The Scholars and Society program complements the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program, which places recent humanities PhDs in nonprofit and government organizations.

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About American Council Of Learned Societies (ACLS)

Formed a century ago, ACLS is a nonprofit federation of 75 scholarly organizations.  As the preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences, ACLS holds a core belief that knowledge is a public good. As such, ACLS strives to promote the circulation of humanistic knowledge throughout society. In addition to stewarding and representing its member organizations, ACLS employs its $140 million endowment and $35 million annual operating budget to support scholarship in the humanities and social sciences and to advocate for the centrality of the hum... read more


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Mellon/ACLS PhD Scholarship


Aim and Benefits of Mellon/ACLS PhD Scholarship

  1. Each fellowship carries a stipend of $75,000, plus funds of up to $6,000 for research, travel/optional relocation, and related project costs.
  2. ACLS also will cover the costs of fellows’ attendance at the workshops. Fellows must commit themselves to relocating (if necessary) in order to be in residence for the entire nine-month tenure of the fellowship.
  3. The award also carries $10,000 in support for each fellow’s host organization, and provides additional funding of up to $15,000 to sponsor on-campus and off-campus programming in the year following the fellowship.

Requirements for Mellon/ACLS PhD Scholarship Qualification

Applicants must:

  1. Be employed in fulltime faculty positions in PhD-granting humanities departments or programs at a university in the United States, remaining so for the duration of the fellowship. US citizenship or permanent residency is not required.
  2. Commit to a nine-month residency off-campus and at the non-academic institution that they have proposed.
  3. Commit to participate in-person in two multi-day workshops (in late summer 2021 and late spring 2022) during the fellowship year.

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Interview date, Process and Venue for Mellon/ACLS PhD Scholarship

Evaluation Criteria

Peer reviewers in this program are asked to evaluate all eligible proposals on the following criteria:

  1. The potential of the project to advance the field of study in which it is proposed and to treat issues of public concern effectively.
  2. The quality of the proposal with regard to its methodology, framework, and grounding in the relevant literatures.
  3. The feasibility of the project and the preparedness of the applicant to undertake it.
  4. The rationale for residency at the proposed site and likelihood that the collaboration with colleagues at the host institution will increase the applicant’s ability to carry the project forward.
  5. The potential of the applicant’s work to engage with and make an impact on audiences beyond the academy.

Application Deadline

October 28, 2020


How to Apply

Interested and qualified? Go to American Council Of Learned Societies (ACLS) on ofa.acls.org to apply

Applications must be submitted online and must include:

  1. Completed application form, which includes a brief statement of interest describing the motivation for public engagement and the applicant’s capacity to carry out such work.
  2. Narrative proposal that includes the following sections: research aims and planned outcomes; a survey of the field that outlines how the proposed project articulates with current approaches to publicly engaged humanities scholarship; necessary skills, training, and logistical support; and a rationale for residency that includes a reflection on how the project and residency alike will be mutually beneficial for the fellow and host organization (no more than seven pages, double spaced, in Times New Roman 11-point font).
  3. Up to three additional pages of images, musical scores, or other similar supporting non-text materials (optional).
  4. Bibliography (no more than two single-spaced pages).
  5. Publications list (no more than two single-spaced pages).
  6. One-page project timeline (any format).
  7. One-page description (single- or double-spaced) of efforts by applicant’s department or institution to support diverse careers for doctoral students. Applicants may also note their own approach to expanding opportunities for PhDs from backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented in the academy.
  8. Two reference letters.
  9. Statement of support from the applicant’s proposed host organization.

For more details, visit ACLS website



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