Mahindra Humanities Center Postdoctoral Fellowships, 2016-17


The Mahindra Humanities Center invites applications for one-year postdoctoral fellowships in connection with the Center’s Andrew W. Mellon Foundation seminar on the topic of violence and non-violence. The call to arms and the politics of non-violent resistance are often represented as polarities. There are, however, many gray areas that define the dialectical relationship between violence and non-violence. The Mellon seminar, in which the postdoctoral fellows play a central role, explores a different dimension of the interrelationship between violence and non-violence—as disciplinary formation, historical event, ideological or ethical discourse—each year. 

Following on the themes of war (2014-15) and everyday violence (2015-16), the seminar will focus on slow violence in 2016-17.

We intend to focus on practices and processes of violence involved in large-scale historical and political transformations. The ongoing, incremental processes of slow violence may be manifested in the degradation of social and economic structures, the violation of cultural forms and practices, and the fraying of ethical and political systems. Slow violence endangers the security and sustainability of the quality of life.

We welcome applications from scholars in all fields whose work innovatively engages with slow violence in relation to areas such as:

  • environment
  • labor practices
  • human rights
  • privacy and security
  • migration
  • citizenship
  • civil society
  • cultural transmission
  • secularism
  • fundamentalisms

The aims of the seminar are twofold:

  1. To study violence/non-violence in a comparative global context to advance our knowledge of their complex relationship and with a view to understanding the role played by violent and non-violent engagements in different historical, cultural, and political contexts.
  2. To provide an occasion for a pedagogical inquiry into the construction of knowledges of violence/non-violence relative to the scholarly disciplines—to consider the double movement by which disciplines are both compelled to conserve their authority and impelled by historical and institutional change to open up to emergent, interdisciplinary forms of knowledge.

Terms and Conditions

In addition to pursuing their own research projects, fellows will be core participants in the bi-weekly seminar meetings. Other participants will include faculty and graduate students from Harvard and other universities in the region, and occasional visiting speakers.

Fellows will be joined at the Center by postdoctoral fellows from Germany, who will be coming as part of a collaboration between the Mahindra Humanities Center and the Volkswagen Foundation. Fellows are expected to be in residence at Harvard for the term of the fellowship.

Fellows will receive stipends of $65,000, individual medical insurance, moving assistance of $1,500, and additional research support of $2,500.

Eligibility and Deadline Information

Applicants for 2016-17 fellowships must have received the PhD after May 2013. Applicants without the PhD must demonstrate that they will receive the PhD in or before August 2016.
 Applications must be completed by December 1, 2015.

Application Instructions

Please apply using our online application.

In addition to biographical and professional information, applicants are asked to submit:

1. A curriculum vitae.

2. A detailed statement of the research project (1,000-3,000 words) that provides a detailed description of what the applicant proposes to do during the fellowship year.

3. One chapter- or article-length writing sample (no longer than 40 pages).

4. Three letters of recommendation. Recommendations may be those included in the applicant’s placement dossier, but they must specifically address the proposed research project. Letters should be uploaded to the electronic application.

Please contact Neal Adolph Akatsuka with questions about applying for a fellowship.

Sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation

The Volkswagen Foundation sponsors several fellowships at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard. These fellowships are intended to give young German scholars the opportunity to take advantage of Harvard's libraries, archives, and other facilities, thereby providing opportunities for research and interdisciplinary exchange. Fellows will be able to strengthen their research knowledge and profile in a specific field of the humanities in an international perspective. Fellows are expected to be in residence at Harvard for the term of the fellowship.

Applicants should have finished their PhD with outstanding results two or three years (maximum five years) before. The selection of the fellows will be jointly organized by the Foundation and the Mahindra Humanities Center in a two-step procedure.

Further information about Volkswagen Foundation Fellowships at the Mahindra Humanities Center can be found here.