UMass Special Collections Offering First-Ever Fellowships in Spirituality and Social Change; the Value of Human Life; and the History of Work, Labor, and Industry

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AMHERST, Mass. – Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) announces new annual fellowships, to link and support scholars working with material in SCUA’s collections. For the first time, fellowships are being offered for graduate students, early career professionals and independent scholars interested in the spiritual dimensions of social change; the history of work, labor, and industry; and the value of human life. These new fellowships join the well-established W. E. B. Du Bois Research Fellowship and expand the breadth of subjects for researchers to delve into during short-term residential research appointments.

The Brother David Steindl-Rast Fellowship supports research that engages with the spiritual dimensions of social change. Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, scholar, writer, and social activist, has shared messages of peace, interfaith dialogue, social justice and environmental stewardship worldwide for more than 50 years.

Eligibility: Graduate students and early career professionals (within five years of receipt of a Ph.D.). Independent scholars and those outside of academia are strongly encouraged to apply.

Kenneth R. Feinberg Fellowships: Two annual fellowships support research that touches on the theme of the value of human life or otherwise resonates with the legacy of Kenneth R. Feinberg. One of the most prominent and dedicated attorneys of our time, Feinberg has assumed the role of mediator in a number of high-profile complex legal disputes, often in the aftermath of public tragedies. Frequently these cases necessitate determining compensation to victims and survivors and also confronting the very question of the value of human life.

Eligibility: Graduate students and early career professionals (within five years of receipt of a PhD).

The John William Bennett Fellowship supports research in and writing on the history of labor, work and industry, honoring the legacy of labor historian and activist John William Bennett. A labor historian, Bennett researched the history of the labor movement since his days as an undergraduate at UMass Amherst. A born collector, he began accumulating memorabilia associated with unions, drawn to their potential as a visual record of labor iconography and self-representation.

Eligibility: Graduate students and early career professionals (within five years of receipt of a Ph.D.). Proposals by labor historians without academic affiliation will also be considered.

The Esperantic Studies Foundation Fellowship supports research in the history and culture of planned languages, with a strong emphasis on Esperanto and the Esperanto movement.

Eligibility: Graduate students and early career professionals (within five years of receipt of a PhD).

The Du Bois Research Fellowships are managed by SCUA’s partner, the W. E. B. Du Bois Center. For information and to apply, visit the Du Bois Center’s website.

Application Process

The 2020 Fellowship Application is due Friday, March 6; awards will be announced on Wednesday, April 1. Fellows will be selected according to the scholarly merit of their proposal as judged by the committee of reviewers; their demonstrated need to use SCUA’s holdings; and fit to the particular fellowship program.

SCUA uses a single, online-only application process for all fellowship programs. A completed applicant’s packet must include:

  • A brief biographical statement of not more than 350 words with a description of your larger research agenda to be used for publicity purposes
  • An overview of the proposed project not to exceed three pages
  • A current resume or CV
  • One confidential letter of reference