Transdisciplinary Research Seminar Fellowship

The Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences has released only a portion of the 2021-22 budget at this stage, and, in the Humanities Center, this means that a number of programs - including this one - are currently on hold for the 2021-22 year.  We will update this as soon as we can.

The University of Pittsburgh Humanities Center is pleased to invite applications to convene two Transdisciplinary Research Seminars in the 2020-2021 academic year. Conveners will be chosen to anchor each thematic seminar. They will each spend the Fall 2020 semester designing a faculty research seminar focused on a particular transdisciplinary theme and will then lead the seminar in the Spring 2021 semester.

Seminar Purpose. These seminars will provide an opportunity for Pitt faculty at all levels to come together to incubate a transdisciplinary research community focused on a particular humanistic theme. Such themes may take up a problem, method, or emerging field that cuts across disciplines, and they may include creative critical projects involving research. Seminar meetings might be devoted to any combination of activities that collectively contribute to the coming-together of a sustainable research cluster: site visits, common readings, sharing work in progress, preparing funding applications, or whatever is imagined in the vision of the conveners. We encourage creativity in imagining the possible forms of scholarly gatherings.

Resources. Seminar conveners will receive one course release in Spring 2021 in lieu of their labor, so that they can devote their attention to building a humanities research cluster at Pitt and participate as full members of the Humanities Center. If faculty would like to co-convene a seminar, the Humanities Center will work with successful applicants to find a way of equitably dividing resources. A separate call for seminar participants will follow in the Fall 2020 semester. Participants will receive a stipend of $2,000 for the Spring 2021 semester, so that they can give their sustained attention to engaging the work and conversation of their colleagues in helping to build a research cluster. In addition, up to $2,000 in research funds will be made available for the use of each seminar—for materials, books, trips, dinners (if a non-Pitt guest is involved), etc. Up to $2000 in research funds may also be made available to meritorious proposals that are not ranked among the top two.

Planning and Schedule. Following the selection of two Transdisciplinary Research Seminar proposals, seminar conveners will participate during the Fall 2020 semester in the life of the Humanities Center. During Fall 2020, they will plan a Spring 2021 seminar. The Co-Directors of the Humanities Center will work with the seminar conveners to craft a subsequent call to go out in Fall 2020 for participants in each of the two thematic seminars. During the Spring 2021 semester, seminar conveners will participate in the life of the Humanities Center and anchor their respective thematic seminars. Those seminars will meet around ten times throughout the term according to a schedule to be worked out by the seminar conveners. At some point in the Spring 2021 semester, each seminar will share their work with the Humanities Center community.

Eligibility. Seminar conveners must be on continuing appointment with the University of Pittsburgh as tenured, tenure-stream, or appointment-stream faculty. To receive the stipend payment, seminar participants must be faculty under contract with the University of Pittsburgh.

Application Requirements. Applications to convene a seminar must include the following:

  • The proposal of a theme (no more than 500 words);
  • An account of how the proposed theme would benefit from and contribute to a multidisciplinary humanities environment incorporating a diversity of perspectives, identifications, and disciplines (no more than 500 words);
  • A sketch of the seminar schedule including what forms of gathering and working together are imagined (no more than 500 words);
  • A proposed seminar budget up to $2000;
  • CV of no more than two pages from each seminar convener.

Selection Criteria. Applications to convene a seminar will be assessed by the Steering Committee of the Humanities Center.  In that review of applications, the following criteria will be used to rank proposals:

  • The clarity and significance of the proposed theme;
  • The degree to which the proposed theme benefits from and contributes to a multidisciplinary humanities environment incorporating a diversity of perspectives, identifications, and disciplines;
  • The plausibility and freshness of the proposed seminar schedule;
  • An appropriate and effective proposed budget;
  • The likelihood that the proposed theme would bring together a community of scholars who might not otherwise have the opportunity to convene.

Deadline. Applications must be submitted via the link provided below by Monday, April 20, 2020.

Questions. For any questions, please contact the incoming Co-Directors of the Humanities Center, Carla Nappi ( and David Marshall (