From Space and Time to Practice and Politics

The Society for the Humanities focal theme for 2013-2014 is “OCCUPATION: From Space and Time to Practice and Politics.” Six to eight Fellows will be appointed. Selected Fellows will collaborate with the Director, Timothy Murray, Professor of Comparative Literature and English and Curator of the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, an international research center on new media. The Senior Scholars in Residence will be Wendy Brown, Class of 1936 First Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, and Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley.

The Society for the Humanities invites scholars to reflect upon the theme of “Occupation: From Space and Time to Practice and Politics” in order to further understanding of historical and contemporary practices of occupation within physical, professional, and virtual territories and practices. What does it mean “to be occupied” or “to be in the time of occupation”? The Society wishes to open the question of how occupation has shaped the humanities in relation to patterns of thought and artistic representation. Equally important is how historical events of occupation, as well as the establishment of intellectual professions and institutions, have relied on or shaped the humanities. The Society encourages applicants to investigate the cultural, social, artistic, philosophical, and political implications of the theme.

Fellows will work across disciplines to reflect on what occupation means philosophically, psychoanalytically, and theoretically. Fellows might consider the implications of virtual, viral, ecological, and posthuman habitations. Scholars are invited to give equal consideration to how “occupation” might be understood across historical periods and global regions? How have the humanities, from philosophy and law to literature and performance, figured the difference between military occupation and territorial acquisition, between invasion and annexation? Regarding the differences between political movements and geopolitical conflict from East to West and South to North, to what extent do occupations of absolutism, fascism, and terrorism differ from democratic annexation, political demonstration, or anarchical demonstration? Occupation of mind and body, of identity and territory, may take another turn when culture is digital, artificial, and robotic. We also encourage questions inherent to philosophy, mysticism, witchcraft, aesthetics, and hysteria.

What are the historical instances of martial occupation and how have they shaped systems of governance, education, representation, law, and economics? What are the relations of ethnic and national occupations to structural systems of land, class, religious, gender, mental enclosure, sovereignty, and borders? Fellows might also consider the deep impact of occupation on contemporary events and movements, from virtual economies and emotions to corporate seizures and ecological disasters.

Reflection is also encouraged on how notions of enclosure have informed the conceptual and institutional framework of occupations in the humanities and arts, from poet and player to professor and philosopher? How are the academic traditions of judgment, ethics, research, and pedagogy inscribed in historical structures of occupation? How might occupation be understood in relation to the space and time of labor and work? Such questions may lead to consideration of the occupation of the humanities itself by for-profit enterprises, on the one, and by the rise of alternative academic careers on the other? What does it mean today to occupy the humanities?

The David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future co-sponsors one fellowship to support scholarly work addressing occupation as it relates to energy, the environment or economic development.

Qualifications

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, 2012. 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.

Application Procedures

Candidates should inform the Society of their intention to apply. The following application materials must be postmarked on or before October 1, 2012. Faxed or emailed applications will not be accepted.

  1. A curriculum vitae and a copy of one scholarly paper no more than 35 pages in length. Applicants who wish to have their materials returned should enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
  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 send their letters directly to the Society. Letters must be postmarked on or before October 1, 2012.

Awards will be announced by the end of December 2012.

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

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.

Fellowships

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 $45,000. 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.