Summer Research Grants

Call for Applications: Summer 2024 Doctoral Fellowships at the Center for Humanities Research, sponsored by the Graduate Division  - Deadline March 20, 2024

The CHR is inviting applications for summer funding from Mason doctoral students who are working on their dissertations and who do not already have Mason summer funding. Each student awarded a fellowship will receive a stipend of $8,500. 
While we will consider all humanities and humanities-related projects, special consideration will be given to those who are able to connect their work, even very loosely, to any aspect of our annual theme for AY 2024-5, “humanity and its others” (see full theme description below). 
Application should be submitted as a single PDF document and include the following: 
--A project title;  
--A 250-word proposal that describes your dissertation, including what specifically you plan to do over the summer; 
--Your home department and your dissertation committee members; 
--A CV; 
--And a simple budget (indicate if you require funding for a research trip, or if this funding would enable you to work exclusively on your dissertation instead of teaching).  
Please email your application to by noon on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. 
We ask that recipients of this summer funding publicly present their research in an informal lunchtime talk during the next academic year. Fellows will also attend each other's talks.  
Eligibility requirements: 
--Applicants must be Mason doctoral students listed in university records as full-time during Spring 2024 and must plan to return as a graduate student in Fall 2024. 
--Applicants must have advanced to candidacy by time of application. 
--GPA 3.0 and good standing 
--Receive no other funding from Mason over the summer 
--Previous recipients of this award may not reapply


2024-25 Annual Theme: humanity and its others 

In a world increasingly hostile both to the humanities and to the maintenance and flourishing of humanity, this year's annual theme calls for critical engagements, across different periods, places, and disciplines, with the qualities and category of "humanity" and with the borders, limits, doubles, analogues, antitheses, and "others" of these things.  
Humanity has been imagined both as a quality intrinsic to human beings and as an acquired characteristic, something that must be cultivated and nurtured, an ideal toward which humans strive. Though at times conceived in relation to what transcends it (gods, heroes, superhumans), a sense of the value of humanness has led to critiques of human degradation, that is, of dehumanization, of subhuman subordination, of "crimes against humanity."  
Some thinkers have elevated humanity over other forms of being, giving rise to doctrines of exceptionalism, extractivism, and imperialism. Moreover, the classification of humans based on religion, race, nation, gender, class, education, intelligence, neurodiversity, criminality, morality, talent, beauty, and other normative qualities has often imposed hierarchies of humanness. Other thinkers have sought to dissolve the boundaries between humanity and its others and to examine the entanglement of humans with non-human "nature,” supernatural/superhuman beings, and manifestations of the divine.  
More recently, the impending possibility of artificial general intelligence, alongside advances in genetic engineering and robotics and the pressures of anthropogenic climate change, raises new questions about the future of humanity. What kinds of transhuman or posthuman, hybrid, collaborative or competitive possibilities are there for humans? Is “humanity” a concept and a value that we wish to discard or to protect?  
We seek proposals that interrogate, decenter, redefine, or traverse the boundaries between humanity and its “others” -- that investigate and analyze how humanity has been conceived and contested, how it has been nurtured and sustained or deformed and denied, how it has served as an essential value or as an evaluative yardstick, how it has helped to construct worlds that are hospitable or inhuman.  


CHR Summer Funding Awardees

Summer 2023:

Samira Alkassim (Term Assistant Professor of Film Theory) will finish work on her forthcoming book, A Journey of Screens in 21st Century Arab Film and Media. 

Jennifer Ashley (Term Associate Professor of Global Affairs) will travel to Chile to conduct further research to create a digital exhibit on the participation of the Mapuche, Chile’s largest Indigenous group, in the country’s democratization processes. 

Michael Gilmore (Associate Professor, School of Integrative Studies) will travel to Peru to research travel for his co-authored book, River of Resistance: Fighting for Indigenous Rights and Environmental Justice in the Peruvian Amazon. 

Davis Kuykendall (Term Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy) will delve into research for his project that explores the philosophy of biology alongside the 17th century German philosopher, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. 

Jessica Terman (Associate Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government) will further her research into the history and processes Title IX complaints and investigations. 

Summer 2022:

Hyunyoung Cho (Term Associate Professor, English, Mason Korea) will receive support for her article-length project, "Birds and Bugs in 'To His Coy Mistress': Re-working Egyptian Solar Mythology in the Age of Bacon."

Heather Green (Assistant Professor, InterArts, School of Art) will continue work on (Never) Post-DADA: A Tristan Tzara Reader (1923-1963).

Amaka Okechukwu (Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, CHSS) will hire a research assistant for her digital humanities project, "Black Belt Brooklyn: Mapping Community Building and Social Life during the Urban Crisis."

Cathy Saunders (Instructional Professor of English, CHSS) will complete the early stages of her project on the history of the Lewinsville Presbyterian Church, including the creation of an Omeka-S site that will make key primary documents, including wills and associated inventories of enslaved people, publicly available.

Peiyu Yang (Term Assistant Professor of Arabic Studies, Modern and Classical Languages, CHSS) will finish work on her book, Triangular Translation: Gender and the Making of the Postcolonial World Between China, Europe, and the Middle East, 1880-1940.

Summer 2021:

Tawnya Azar, Term Assistant Professor of English, will be working on a book manuscript entitled, Digital Literary Culture  

Charles L. Chavis, Jr., Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution and History, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, will be working on a Digital Exhibit and Discussion Guide which builds on his upcoming publication, “The Silent Shore: The Lynching of Matthew Williams and the Politics of Racism in the Free State.”

Kevin M. FlanaganTerm Assistant Professor of English, will be working on a chapter, for an edited volume, entitled, “Taste, Paternalism, and London Bohemianism: The Party’s Over (1965) through Censorship and Cultural History.”

Huwy-min Lucia Liu, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, will be working on a book manuscript tentatively titled Governing Death, Making Persons: The New Chinese Way of Death.