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Humanities institute seeks faculty, student fellows

By : Eric Coker

The newly formed Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) is now offering fellowships to faculty, students and community members.

The deadline for faculty applications is Feb. 16; graduate and undergraduate students and community members have until April 6.

Faculty application forms may be found at Other applications can be found by following links from

IASH was formed in 2009 to advance and publicize original work in the humanities while offering faculty and students opportunities for research, said Bat-Ami Bar On, IASH director and professor of philosophy and women’s studies.

Calling the institute “the brainchild of Harpur,” Bar On said Dean Donald
Nieman was “very receptive” to the idea. Nieman formed a committee to make a recommendation about starting IASH. Committee members submitted a report calling for the institute’s formation in March 2009, Bar On said.

“The institute builds on Harpur College’s longstanding tradition of excellence in the humanities and has the potential to be truly transformative by supporting faculty and student scholarship, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, forging partnerships with the community, generating the external support we so badly need, and creating a renewed sense of excitement and possibility among humanities faculty and students,” Nieman said. “I believe it will become a signature program and contribute to the University’s national and international visibility.”

IASH was approved as an organized research center last summer and the reporting committee became the IASH advisory board. Board members include professors Gisela Brinker-Gabler, Thomas Dublin, Donald Loewen, Nkiru Nzegwu, Dale Tomich, Nancy Um and Lisa Yun.

Although IASH co-sponsored a talk last fall by Pulitzer Prize winner David Garrow, 2009-10 is essentially a planning year, Bar On said. The emphasis has been on developing a website, making budget commitments and preparing for fellowship decisions.

The fellows will serve as the core of the IASH. Stipended fellowships will be available for four faculty members each semester, while unstipended fellowships will go to up to four faculty members who are on leave or sabbaticals or on externally funded grants.

“The idea is not just to provide extra time for research, but to provide intellectual company,” Bar On said.

Up to two unstipended fellowships will go to graduate students working on their dissertations, and up to two unstipended fellowships will be offered to undergraduate students.

Community members also may apply for two unstipended fellowships. Artists, teachers, writers, poets and clergy are examples of people who could contribute to a campus-community engagement, Bar On said.

“We have people who do humanities work in the community,” she said. “Rabbis, pastors and priests are all intellectuals. A sermon is a humanities work because it is an interpretation of text.

“One part of the mission is to develop relations with the community, to be a resource for the community and to have the community in the University.”

Faculty fellows will be announced April 15; the remaining fellows will be announced May 7.

The main programming for 2010-11 will be lectures from the fellows, with the potential for one lecture per week. All fellows will be expected to present a research topic and participate in the discussion of the work of others.

Bar On also would like to see “serious colloquia” develop in which guest speakers meet and discuss topics relevant to the humanities with the fellows. Other goals include research collaborations that are interdisciplinary in nature and special projects that examine themes such as democracy or genocide studies.

“Building an institute from scratch is exciting,” Bar On said. “I hope the excitement about this will grow so it becomes an intellectual center of gravity, in terms of open fellowships, collaborations and special projects.”


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Last Updated: 10/14/08