2017 Alternative Academic Career Summer Workshop for Pre-Doctoral Students in the Humanities


The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies invites applications for fellowships from pre-doctoral students to participate in a three-week intensive, residential summer workshop in Chicago in summer 2017 (dates to be determined but likely between July 17 and August 5). This program is for individuals who are working towards but have not yet received a PhD in a humanities discipline and who are considering careers outside the academy and/or the tenure-track university system.

This 2017 Pre-Doctoral summer workshop is a continuation of the original workshop series in the summers of 2015 and 2016 organized by and presented in partnership with the Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF). Guided by one of the leading public humanities organizations in the nation, these workshops encourage humanities doctoral students to think of themselves as agents of the public humanities and showcase opportunities beyond the walls of the academy in an uncertain academic job market. Note that for summer 2017, graduate students from any PHD granting institution in the United States may apply (including humanities students at the University of Iowa). For full details about the program, please visit the Humanities Without Walls website.


The application process has two stages.

Stage One: Apply to the Obermann Center (obermann-center@uiowa.edu) by Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at 5:00 pm. A selection committee convened by the Obermann Center will select one candidate as the University of Iowa nominee.

Stage Two: That candidate's materials will be forwarded to the Humanities Without Walls selection committee. Nominees from the University of Iowa will be notified by the end of November. Final awardees will be notified by the end of January, 2017.


For details on how to apply and a downloadable cover sheet that must be included with the application, visit the Humanities Without Walls website at http://www.humanitieswithoutwalls.illinois.edu/initiatives/pre-doctoral/pre-doctoral-cfa.html.



Each fellow will receive a $5,000 stipend. The stipend is intended to cover travel to and from the summer workshop, housing, and most meals and all incidentals. All fellows must agree to attend the full workshop which runs all day Monday-Friday during the three-week period. 


The summer workshop will instruct students in the various ways they can leverage their pre-existing and developing skill sets towards the pursuit of careers in the public humanities and the private sector (also sometimes referred to as "alt-ac" careers). Familiarity with the vital connections between academic and public worlds can also enrich traditional scholarly endeavors.

Guest speakers, including leaders from the non-profit world, the private sector, federal and state government offices, public media, arts administration, NGOs, and more, will make daily presentations to workshop fellows. Field trips to relevant sites will supplement the instruction that takes place in the workshop. 

Graduates from the workshop will emerge with a network of contacts in a range of professional realms; a significantly broadened sense of the career possibilities that await humanities Ph.D.s; a cohort of "alt-ac" fellows from whom they may draw support and advice; and a set of resources aimed at helping them advance into the various realms considered under the broad rubric of "the public humanities." Each graduate will also receive a certificate of completion upon graduating from the summer workshop.