University of Southern California

Research

The Mellon Foundation’s Sawyer Seminars

Slots:                                                     1             

Internal Deadline:                           Contact the Office of Research if interested.

LOI:                                                        N/A                       

External Deadline:                          March 30, 2018

Award Information:                        Type:  Fellowship/Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: 10

Anticipated Amount: Proposals should not exceed $225,000

Submission Process:                     PIs must submit their application as a Limited Submission through the Office of Research Application Portal: https://app.wizehive.com/webform/USCgrants

Materials to submit:

Link to Award:                                 

https://mellon.org/programs/higher-education-and-scholarship-humanities/fellowships/sawyer-seminars/

Who May Serve as PI:                    More information will be available in the coming weeks.

Purpose:

The Mellon Foundation’s Sawyer Seminars were established in 1994 to provide support for comparative research on the historical and cultural sources of contemporary developments.  The seminars, named in honor of the Foundation’s long-serving third president, John E. Sawyer, have brought together faculty, foreign visitors, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from a variety of fields mainly, but not exclusively, in the humanities and social sciences, for intensive study of subjects chosen by the participants.  Foundation support aims to engage productive scholars in comparative inquiry that would (in ordinary university circumstances) be difficult to pursue, while at the same time avoiding the institutionalization of such work in new centers, departments, or programs.  Sawyer Seminars are, in effect, temporary research centers.

Each seminar normally meets for one year.  Faculty participants have largely come from the humanities and social sciences, although faculty members in the arts and from professional schools have also been key participants in a number of seminars.  Seminar leaders are encouraged also to invite participants from nearby institutions, such as community colleges, liberal arts colleges, museums, research institutes, etc.  As the Foundation reviews proposals, preference is given to those that include concrete plans for engaging participants with diverse affiliations.

Sawyer Seminar awards provide support for one postdoctoral fellow to be recruited through a national (or international) competition, and for the dissertation research of two graduate students.  It is expected that the graduate students will be active participants in the intellectual life of the seminars.  The seminars’ contributions to graduate education in the humanities and social sciences will be carefully considered even though they are not intended to be organized as official credit-bearing courses.

Proposals should describe:  (1) the originality and significance of the central questions to be addressed; (2) the cases to be compared (e.g., nations, regions, social aggregates, time periods) and the rationale for the comparisons that are selected; (3) the thematic “threads” that will run through the seminar; (4) the institution’s resources and suitability for the proposed seminar; and (5) the procedures to be used in selecting graduate and postdoctoral fellows.  Additionally, proposals should include a budget and a well-developed preliminary plan for the seminar that outlines the specific topics to be addressed in each session and provides the names and qualifications of the scholars who would ideally participate.

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