Call for Proposals: Applications due November 6, 2015

Opportunity:  The Humanities Writ Large Steering Committee is seeking proposals for Emerging Humanities Networks to begin in Spring 2016.  Emerging Humanities Networks are intended to support humanities research and teaching that is collaborative and interdisciplinary.

The Steering Committee anticipates making 3-5 awards for Spring 2016; most will be in the $10,000 - $30,000 range – for truly exceptional proposals, awards of up to $50,000 are possible.

Eligibility:  Each project must have at least two conveners, one of whom is expected to be a regular-rank Duke faculty member in the humanities or interpretive social sciences.  The Steering Committee would also welcome proposals that involve faculty from the sciences, social sciences, and professional schools whose work can enrich the humanities.  Undergraduate or graduate student co-conveners are also welcome.  Co-conveners may also include Duke staff working in areas including, but not limited to, student affairs, academic advising, or athletics.  Proposals will be considered that include a co-convener, program participant, or short-term visitor from a liberal arts college or HBCU.

All proposals must demonstrate a plan for including undergraduate students in the project. 

Proposals:  Proposals may be submitted by email to by November 6, 2015, and should include:

  • A brief narrative that explains the project, articulates the areas to be explored and the proposed conveners’ qualifications for exploring them (no more than 5 pages, double-spaced)
  • A plan for including undergraduate (and, if appropriate, graduate) students in the project
  • An indication of targeted student profiles
  • A listing of the faculty participants with brief CVs
  • Budget and timeline (proposals may be designed for Spring semester only or to extend into Fall 2016; proposals will not be funded for more than two semesters)
  • Endorsement of department chair for each faculty convener

Review and Selection:  Proposals will be reviewed by the Steering Committee for the Mellon Foundation-funded Humanities Writ Large initiative.  Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of one or more of the following criteria:

  • Vertical integration (including faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students)
  • Experimental pedagogy
  • Innovative use of teaching technology
  • Appropriateness of budget request
  • Prospects for continuing impact (departmentally or cross-departmentally) beyond the grant funding period

If you are also applying for funding from Bass Connections or another Duke funding mechanism, please indicate this so we may best coordinate approvals. 

Decisions will be announced by early December and funds will be awarded as appropriate to the timing of each project.

Additional Information

If your proposal may involve sustained engagement with Duke University Libraries (including, for example, consulting rare or digital materials in the Libraries’ holdings; accessioning new scholarly works by the Libraries; or collaborating with Libraries’ personnel) or if your proposal has a technical component for which some equipment, technological support or development may be required, please contact , one of the Digital Humanities Technology Analysts who support Humanities Writ Large projects. 

The Libraries have opened a new space for services supporting innovative research projects (The Edge) — including dedicated and shared project rooms — which you may want to discuss with Will Shaw, to see if there are potential beneficial connections with the project you’re proposing.

Any other questions should be addressed to , Grant Manager for Humanities Writ Large.

The Humanities Writ Large Initiative includes a component to assess its impact on transforming humanities education.  Each network will be required to participate in program assessment and evaluation in order to measure the impact of the Humanities Writ Large grant over time. 

Profiles of previously funded Emerging Humanities Networks can be found on the website.  These examples are not meant to be directive; creativity, innovation, and variety are highly desired. 

An Emerging Humanities Network can be based upon working groups, workshops, speakers, short-term visitors (including, but not limited to, faculty from other institutions), virtual engagement of students at other colleges and universities, team teaching, training in innovative teaching methodologies, and creative engagement with the Duke community and beyond.  The funding can also be used to support efforts linking different courses, within or across departments.

Eligible categories of funding include, though are not limited to:

  • Meeting expenses
  • Staff support, including student workers, that are needed in addition to base-level support available through departments and units
  • Travel
  • Graduate assistant support
  • Computer hardware and software
  • Other expenses in support of the management and execution of the grant

These funds cannot be used for course replacement for Duke faculty.

Our Goal:

Emerging Networks are a culture change mechanism intended to shift humanities research towards broadly collaborative, interdisciplinary engagements in contrast to the largely solitary efforts that tend to characterize traditional humanities research. Our goal is for nimble and opportunistic cross-disciplinary collaboration to become part of our ethos in realizing humanistic scholarly curiosity. Emerging Networks funding supports short term collaborative projects that must involve faculty, graduate students and undergraduates from multiple disciplines—across humanities departments and/or the social and natural sciences at Duke.

The Emerging Networks are meant to broaden the footprint of our traditional humanities departments, which abound in excellence in faculty research and doctoral studies. By providing small faculty/student groups access to modest funding, emerging ideas, projects, and networks may be launched, increasing the visibility of humanities efforts, giving faculty the incentives to be engaged in the creative and the experimental edges of their research, and generally fomenting humanities synergy across campus. These efforts will encourage innovative approaches to teaching and experimental collaborations organically arising within our humanities departments.

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