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From the News column of the October 2006 Perspectives

SSRC Announces New Program of Workshops

AHA Staff, October 2006

Invites Faculty Applications by November 15 for Selection of Directors and Themes for Workshops on Dissertation Proposal Development

The Social Science Research Council, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has announced a new program of fellowships and workshops for predissertation research and dissertation proposal development. The Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship (DPDF) program is designed to intervene at a critical moment in the career development of graduate students in the humanities and social sciences by aiding their transition from students to researchers through workshops directed by senior faculty.

In the first instance, applications are invited from faculty interested in participating in the DPDF program as research directors who will lead groups of 10–12 graduate student fellows in two four-day workshops (scheduled for May 17–20, 2007, and September 6–9, 2007) that frame predissertation research in a series of research fields. Each group will be led by two research directors, who will receive a stipend of $7, 500 each.

The Faculty Advisory Committee of the DPDF program invites joint proposals of research fields for the 2007 program from senior faculty with different institutional affiliations and, as relevant, disciplinary specializations. Research fields are subdisciplinary and interdisciplinary domains with common intellectual quest ions and styles of research. These might come out of emergent fields such as sustainability studies, visual culture, or biotechnology and society ; fields could be constituted around geographic regions not traditionally mapped by current funding structures, such as Atlantic History, Pacific Rim Studies, or Maritime East Asia; or they might emerge from novel ways of encouraging comparative and interdisciplinary work, including a focus on specific kinds of sources, such as tax records, censuses, voting results, or art collections. Research fields can be topical in focus (for example, youth and generational change, governance of empire, liberalism), transnational in scope (diasporas and refugees, illicit flows, or border disputes, for instance), or comparative (studies of social entitlement, urban cultures, or collective protest, for example).

From the proposals received, the Faculty Advisory Committee will select five research fields. The associated research directors will be responsible for selecting 10 to 12 graduate fellows and will run (with the assistance of SSRC staff) the spring and fall workshops that bracket the predissertation research of the students. Research directors are expected to be tenured, experienced supervisors of thesis research. The selected students will receive up to $5,000 each to support their summer predissertation research.

There is no formal application process, but letters of interest—no longer than five single-spaced pages—should describe the relevance of the research field, the kind of graduate students who might be recruited, and the kinds of activities that would be entailed in each of the two workshops, and should provide a brief bibliography. The letters of interest should be accompanied by the c.v.’s of the two prospective research directors. Letters and supporting documents should be submitted electronically by November 15, 2006.

Details about the program may be found at www.ssrc.org/programs/dpdf. Specific questions about the program can be directed to program staff at dpdf@ssrc.org.