University of Southern California


Graves Awards in the Humanities

Slots:                                                     1

Internal Deadline:                           Contact OOR if interested.

LOI:                                                        N/A

External Deadline:                          Nominations must be received in Claremont no later than December 16, 2019. The Awards Committee will make its decision no later than January 31, 2020.

Award Information:                        Type: Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: 11

Anticipated Amount: $100,000 total split between approximately 10 awards.

Budgetary Requirements:           Chances of selection are enhanced if the applicant’s institution offers additional support, for instance, a sabbatical leave or supplemental grant.

Submission Process:                     PIs must submit their application as a Limited Submission through the Office of Research Application Portal:

Materials to submit:

Link to Award:    Contact OOR for Graves brochure.                             

Final Submission Process:

The nomination should be made in writing by the president of the institution and should be accompanied by the following material:
(a) A statement from the president describing the process by which the nominee was selected, with evidence that the nominee has demonstrated “outstanding accomplishment in actual teaching in the humanities.”

(b) A statement from the nominee describing how he or she would use the award – e.g., for reading, study, travel, or writing. The nominee should indicate very specifically how the proposed use relates to his or her teaching. The statement should also include a timeline for the project.

(c) A curriculum vitae, with relevant data on teaching and writing experience. This should include a record of the nominee’s teaching schedule over the last three years.

(d) An itemized budget for all expenses related to the proposal should be submitted. The budget should include current salary and any anticipated supplemental income, such as sabbatical pay or other fellowships. The budget should also include dates for anticipated use of funds.

Applications lacking these supporting papers –(a) through (d) – cannot be considered.

Nominations should be sent to:

Pomona College

Chair, Graves Awards Committee

550 N. College Avenue

Alexander Hall 206

Claremont, CA 91711-6301

Who May Serve as PI:                    Each institution may nominate one candidate. Generally, the nominee should be under the age of 42 at the time of nomination, or within his or her first decade of teaching, and should have taught at the institution for at least two years.      


Using ACLS definitional guidelines, the following subjects are included in the humanities for the purposes of the Graves Awards:

Proposals in related social science fields (such as economics, political science, psychology, or sociology) are eligible only if they employ predominantly humanistic approaches and qualitative or interpretive methodologies (e.g., economic history, law and literature, political philosophy, history of psychology).Inter-disciplinary proposals are welcome.


The Arnold L. Graves and Lois S. Graves Awards encourage and reward “outstanding accomplishment in actual teaching in the humanities by younger faculty members.”

The Graveses conceived the humanities very broadly; they thought less in terms of specific disciplines than in terms of the point of view and spirit of the individual teacher. They conceived the humanities as “areas of subject matter which deal not merely with facts about men and women and the world in which they live but which are calculated to interpret life and to give meaning to experience – in other words, to produce men and women of understanding as contrasted with those trained to be technically proficient.”

They wanted their awards to encourage teaching of this kind, and they recognized that this end can be accomplished in many different ways. “In many cases this might mean a grant which would enable a teacher to visit libraries, to help get a good book ready for publication. In another case, it might include a chance for a teacher of Greek to see the Parthenon for the first time.” Another reasonable type of award would be to help teachers expand their horizons by exploring the natural articulations between their discipline and other fields. As examples: a teacher of philosophy who needs to learn how anthropology relates to his or her special interests; a teacher of literature who wants to know more about the art of his or her period; a teacher of history who needs to know more about technology, literature or religion in order to strengthen his or her teaching. Whatever the project, awards will be made to those for whom there is evidence of unusual skill and enthusiasm as teachers and who can show that their projects will enhance their ability in the classroom.

Visit our Institutionally Limited Submission webpage for updates and other announcements.