Funding Opportunities

Short-term Summer Research Position Available for a Mason PhD student in the Humanities (PDF with instructions)


Mason’s Center for Humanities Research has one available research position for a Mason doctoral student in the humanities for summer 2022. The wage is $1,500-$2,000 (total TBD, dependent on final schedule). The position requires 15-20 hours/week for 8-10 weeks between the period of June 13 and August 15, 2020. Work will be done on site at Mason’s Fairfax campus and/or in the surrounding counties (Fairfax and Arlington). Some may be done virtually. 


This researcher will join a small team working on a public humanities project entitled “Alienation and Belonging: Shifting Cultural Landscapes in Northern Virginia.” Primary duties will include research into local immigration patterns and experiences, oral history collection (including recording, editing, and transcription), and other humanities-related analysis TBD (ex. creating an interpretive plan and/or exhibition development). 


The external partners for this team are Tenants and Workers United, Alexandria and the Office of Historic Alexandria. 


Application Instructions: 

Please send (as a single PDF document) a CV and brief cover letter detailing relevant experience(previous training in oral history, community engagement, research in the areas of local identity or immigrant experience, interest in working with the listed partners)to by 5 pm on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. 


Finalists will be contacted within a week of application and all applicants will be notified of the outcome of this search. 


More about the Project: 

Northern Virgina can feel like a place without history, an anyplace of generic suburban homes, corporate high-rises, and strip malls. Indeed, many who live here are unaware of the histories of violence, dispossession, and transplantation that shape the present. The very designation “Northern Virginia” works to distinguish the region from the rest of the state, erasing its connection to the US South and to America’s troubled racial past. At the same time, the region has long been the destination of migrants and migrant communities. And yet the stories of these communities—communities that play a critical role in every aspect of life in the region—have not found their way into the image of, or narrative about, contemporary Northern Virginia. How might we work to build a more complex and inclusive picture of the region? 


First and foremost, this project aims to use community voices, many of which have been excluded from the story Northern Virginia tells about itself, to re-narrate the story of this complex region. Through oral histories and community-based archival research, carried out collaboratively with community partners, this project will weave together a new narrative about Northern Virgina, one that includes the many voices of those who live here, and who have faced—in different ways, and at different moments—experiences of both alienation and belonging. 

CHR Summer Funding 2022 (open to Mason Faculty)

The deadline for 2022 has passed.


CHR Residential Fellowships (open to Mason Faculty and Mason Graduate Student)

The deadline for 2022-23 has passed.


CHR Annual Theme 2022-23 

Connecting/Not Connecting: Formations of Community, Solidarity, Alienation, Antipathy 

“Only connect,” the novelist E.M Forster famously wrote, as though connection itself were a magical end as much as a means. Connect to do what? To ally, or to allay? To compensate? To empathize? To "uplift”?  The idea of connection, it seems, has multiple valences, critical and utopian, historical and contemporaneous, affirmative and constrictive, for the humanities. 

Connection also shades over into “community,” a term whose apparent desirability—community as voluntary affiliation—bears within it, inevitably, its opposite: forms of exclusion and non-belonging. “Community” can empower people through forms of social and political solidarity, it can serve as a foundation for people’s sense of belonging, and identity, but it can also burden persons with pressures for conformity, with dynamics of definition through antipathies and cleavages, or as naturalized, obligatory belonging. Notions of communal or collective responsibility can serve as the basis for recognition of structural ills and their redress, but they can also serve as the basis for group stigmatization and impulses for discriminatory actions and violence.  Communities can be undone through acts of violence, through ideological provocation, or through the struggle over territory. Equally, they can be undone by the slow attrition wrought by social-economic forces (such as gentrification, the passing-away of unions, the loss of jobs or the demands of new forms of labor), by the transformations wrought by environmental and demographic developments, the emergence of a disease, the impact of climate change. 

“Community” offers us an important category for thinking about experience, but it can occlude other imaginative possibilities for working or living together, or for understanding social and cultural dynamics: what might be the differences between “community” (as a structure of feeling and/or as a concept for social and cultural analysis) and other ways of experiencing and understanding social and cultural interplay, such as “networks” or “allies and alliances” or “institutions” (parties, unions, corporations, civic groups, churches, professions, etc.) or the traditional counterpoints of “individualism” or “nonconformity”? What are the implications of the technological, broadly construed, for community—or its opposite, alienation? And what role have social media played in heightening these dynamics? 

For 2022-23 the CHR invites applications from faculty and doctoral students at the dissertation stage whose research takes up connection, community, networks, alienation, and nonbelonging, in the broadest, most expansive, sense. 

Apply to be a CHR Residential Research Fellow in Fall 2022 or Spring 2023 

The Center for Humanities Research is welcoming applications to be a CHR fellow for fall 2022 and spring 2023. Fellows will be released from two courses the semester of their fellowship so that they may focus on writing and on participating in the intellectual life of the CHR.  

These semester-long fellowships provide two course-releases (for tenure-line faculty) and in-state tuition, stipend, and—if eligible—health insurance (for PhD students), and require residency at the center (participation in regular meetings with the cohort of fellows, public presentation of research, and attendance at all center events). We will accept fellows from as wide a range of disciplines, departments, and programs as possible working on projects related to our theme.  

Applications are due at noon on December 15, 2021. Please submit the entire application as a single PDF file (clearly labeled with your last name leading- ex. "Smith CHR Fellowship Application") to Find further details and instructions below. You may indicate a preference for fall or spring in your application, though we may not be able to honor it. 

Faculty: submit a brief, 2-page proposal, outlining the larger project, its relationship to the theme, specific plans for the study leave; a single page-CV; and a statement of acknowledgment or support from your chair or program director. Please also indicate when you last had a study leave. Tenured and tenure-track faculty across the university are eligible to apply. 

Advanced doctoral students: submit a brief, 2-page proposal, outlining the larger project, its relationship to the theme, and specific plans for the study leave; a single page-CV; and a brief letter of support from your dissertation director. Please indicate if you’ve received any other fellowships or grants.