Mahindra Humanities Center Postdoctoral Fellowships

Funding Agency:
Harvard University

The Mahindra Humanities Center invites applications for one-year postdoctoral fellowships in connection with the Center’s Andrew W. Mellon Foundation seminar on the topic of migration and the humanities.

Migration plays as critical a role in the moral imagination of the humanities as it does in shaping the activist vision of humanitarianism and human rights. Too often, the humanities are summoned merely as witnesses to the spectacle of the significant currents and crises of contemporary life. Literature and the arts are viewed as iconic presences whose primary aesthetic and moral values lie in their illustrative powers of empathy and evocation. Yet the intellectual formation of the humanities—their very conception of the nature of meaning, knowledge, and morals—is deeply resonant with the displacement of values and the revision of norms that shape the transitional and translational narratives of migrant lives.

Built around pedagogies of representation and interpretation—textual, visual, digital, political, ethical, ecological, etc.—the humanities engage with the history of shifting relations between cultural expression, historical transition, and political transformation. The ethics of citizenship in our time are defined as much by migration and resettlement as by indigenous belonging, as much by global governance as by national sovereignty. And the humanities play a central role in defining the terms and the territories of cultural citizenship as it creates innovative institutions and identities in the making of a civil society.

The migration “crisis” makes it imperative for humanists to reflect on the foundational concepts and values of our disciplines in addressing the representation of others as they are recognized in the norms of cultural citizenship. The issues the seminar will explore include: the ethics of hospitality; modes of cosmopolitanism; negotiation of cultural “differences” under duress; the role played by interpretation and cultural translation in enhancing processes of social integration.

We welcome applications from scholars in all fields whose work innovatively engages with migration and the humanities.

Deadline: Nov. 6, 2020

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants for 2021-22 fellowships must have received a doctorate or terminal degree in or after May 2018. Applicants without a doctorate or terminal degree must demonstrate that they will receive a doctorate or terminal degree in a related discipline in or before August 1, 2021. 



Amount Description

Fellows will receive stipends of $65,000, individual medical insurance, and additional research support of $2,500. Fellows not already in residence in Greater Boston are eligible for $1,500 in moving expenses. In addition to pursuing their own research projects, fellows will be core participants in the bi-weekly seminar meetings for both academic terms of the fellowship. In the fall semester, they will present an article-length paper to the university-wide Mellon Seminar on Migration and the Humanities. For the spring semester, fellows will collaborate on a syllabus and present to the seminar as it runs in conjunction with a graduate-level course on the literature of migration offered by the English Department. Fellows are expected to be in residence at Harvard for the term of the fellowship.

Funding Type



Post Doctoral Fellows


Arts & Humanities
Social Sciences

External Deadline

November 6, 2020