The Society for the Humanities at Cornell University seeks
interdisciplinary research projects that reflect on philosophical,
aesthetic, political, ecological, religious, psychoanalytical, and
cultural understandings of skin. Thinking skin calls upon cultural
horizons, religious traditions, flesh, haptics, signs, texts, images,
biopolitics, screens, sounds, and surfaces. From the earliest writings
on medicine and religion to more recent theories of race, sexuality,
gender, class, and ethnicity, how might thinking or making skin inform
the global cultural experience from North to South, East to West, South
to South. We invite research projects across historical periods,
disciplinary boundaries, geographic territories, and social contexts.
For classical traditions, skin plays a role in representing the breadth
of mythological empowerment, from the Occidental classics and Ancient
Egypt to Navajo culture. Theoretical and philosophical approaches might
dwell on the contrasts between tactility and opticality or skin as a
membrane of intersubjective and global connectivity. Psychoanalysis
theorizes skin as the figure of touch, desire, trauma, and “the
skin-ego,” while theorists of affect and haptics might study
configurations of aging, sexuality, gender, queer and transgender
Also welcome are biopolitical considerations ranging from torture and
subjugation to race, eugenics, and genomics whose representations have
been central to the arts. Scholars of the arts and technology might
emphasize tattooing, surface architecture, technoskins, prostheses,
nanotechnologies, and the touch of mobile devices, connectivity, gaming,
and mobile media.
Scholars of “medical humanities” might study questions of the complex
place of skin in disease, contamination, and contagion, just as these
problematics are important in the history of travel literature,
geopolitical tensions, and literary and artistic fascinations with the
The David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future co-sponsors one
fellowship to support scholarly work addressing TIME as it relates to
energy, the environment or economic development. For more information
about the Atkinson Center, please visit http://www.acsf.cornell.edu/.
Fellows should be working on topics related to the year’s theme. Their
approach to the humanities should be broad enough to appeal to students
and scholars in several humanistic disciplines.
Applicants must have received the Ph.D. degree before January 1, 2015.
The Society for the Humanities will not consider applications from
scholars who received the Ph.D. after this date. Applicants must also
have one or more years of teaching experience, which may include
teaching as a graduate student.
Please submit the following application materials:
1. A curriculum vitae and a copy of one scholarly paper no more than 35 pages in length.
2. A one-page abstract in addition to a detailed statement of the
research project the applicant would like to pursue during the term of
the fellowship (1,000 - 3,000 words). Applicants are also encouraged to
submit a working bibliography for their projects.
3. A brief (two-page) proposal for a seminar related to the applicant’s
research. Seminars meet two hours per week for one semester (fourteen
weeks) and enrollment is limited to fifteen graduate students and
qualified undergraduate students.
4. Two letters of recommendation from senior colleagues to whom
candidates should send their research proposal and teaching proposal.
Letters of recommendation should include an evaluation of the
candidate’s proposed research and teaching statements. Please ask
referees to submit their letters directly through the application link.
Letters must be submitted on or before October 1, 2015.
Awards will be announced by the end of December 2015.
Note: Extensions for applications will not be granted. The Society will
consider only fully completed applications. It is the responsibility of
each applicant to ensure that all documentation is complete, and that
referees submit their letters of recommendation to the Society before
the closing date.
The Society for the Humanities was established at Cornell University in
1966 to support research and teaching in the humanities. It is intended
to be at once a research institute, a stimulus to educational
innovation, and a continuing society of scholars. The Society and its
Fellows have fostered path-breaking interdisciplinary dialogue and
theoretical reflection on the humanities at large.
Fellows include scholars from other universities and members of the
Cornell faculty released from regular duties. The fellowships are held
for one academic year. Each Society Fellow will receive $50,000.
Applicants living outside North America are eligible for an additional
$2,000 to assist with travel costs.
Fellows spend their time in research and writing, participate in the
weekly Fellows Seminar, and offer one seminar related to their research.
The seminars are generally informal, related to the Fellow's research,
and open to graduate students, suitably qualified undergraduates, and
faculty members. Fellows are encouraged to explore topics they would not
normally teach and, in general, to experiment freely with both the
content and the method of their courses.