In keeping with the Fisher Center’s mission of supporting research and dialogue about gender and justice through curricular, programmatic, and scholarly projects, the Fisher Center Steering Committee announces a call for applications for our 2020 - 2021 Pre-doctoral Fellowship. We seek dissertation scholars and advanced candidates for the MFA whose work critically engages the terms of our research theme for the year, “What’s in a Name?” We are especially interested in candidates who would contribute to the diversity of the HWS campus.
Theme: What’s in a Name?
Global warming, climate change, or climate emergency? Translation, interpretation, or appropriation? Anthropocene, Capitalocene, or Chthulucene? She/he, ze, or they? Emancipation, decolonization, or liberation? Entrepreneuralism, precarity, or sharing economy? Prostitute, whore, or sex worker? Revolt, insurrection, or coup? Planet, ice planet, or ice dwarf? In 2020-2021, the Fisher Center wants to talk about how we talk about what we talk about. Names matter. We want to know when, where, why, and to whom.
The stakes regarding shifts in meaning and uncertain definitions -- of today’s language politics -- are high. In the seventeenth-century, the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes associated the instability of the meaning of words with civil war. He concluded that avoiding civil war required an absolute authority who would determine what words mean. Is our setting of globalized personal media where fake news seems to reign a contemporary digital version of Hobbes’s state of war? Or is this what democracy looks like? Can we communicate if we each have our own names for everything or is there something necessarily shared, common, and collective about names? If so, do names generate commonality or does commonality precede naming?
The Fisher Center is excited to consider projects that interrogate practices of naming and renaming. How do names become settled or attached to particular objects, persons, and places? Who gets to change them and by what means? How do aliases, pen names, user names, nicknames, pet names, anonymity, and multiple use names challenge conventional modes of identification? What sort of power relations and potentials for resistance do they open up? In what ways do names identify and in what ways do they mask or obscure? How are place names sites of political struggle? Projects might investigate the effects of labels, the histories of branding, the raced and gendered codings associated with proper names, the contestations effected by improper names.
Endowed to further the study of gender and justice in the liberal arts, the Fisher Center welcomes applications from researchers in the humanities, arts, sciences, social sciences, and performing arts that demonstrate commitment to interdisciplinary discussion and collective inquiry. We encourage proposals from a wide range of perspectives that reflect on the stakes of calling something one thing rather than another.
The Fisher Center Pre-doctoral Fellowship offers an opportunity to gain experience teaching in a private liberal arts college while completing thesis work. It carries a stipend of $35,000.00. Fellows teach one course per semester related to their research and the theme, attend Fisher Center lectures and meetings, make a public presentation, and assist with administration of Fisher Center programming. The pre-doctoral fellow participates in the Faculty Fellows Research Group. This group of interdisciplinary scholars meet twice a month to discuss their research as related to the year’s theme.
Pre-doctoral candidates nearing completion of the dissertation and MFA candidates who have completed their coursework and are beginning work on their thesis are encouraged to apply.
About Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Located on 195 acres in the heart of New York States Finger Lakes Region, Hobart and William Smith are independent liberal arts colleges distinctive for providing highly individualized educations. Guided by an interdisciplinary curriculum grounded in exploration and rigor, the Colleges prepare students to think critically. In partnership with the Geneva and global communities and through robust programs in career development, study-abroad, service, leadership and athletics, the Colleges foster an environment that values global citizenship, teamwork, ethics, inclusive excellence, and cultural competence.Under the mentorship of faculty, Hobart and William Smith students gain the necessary clarity to be competitive when seeking employment. They win prestigious fellowships like the Rhodes, Gates Cambridge, Udall, Fulbright and Goldwater. They gain admittance to the best graduate programs in the country. They go on to lead lives of consequence.