Collaborative research on historical & contemporary topics of major scholarly significance

The Mellon Foundation’s Sawyer Seminars program was established in 1994 to provide support for collaborative research on historical and contemporary topics of major scholarly significance. The seminars, named in honor of the Foundation’s long-serving third president, John E. Sawyer, bring together faculty, foreign visitors, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from a variety of fields—mainly, but not exclusively, in the arts, humanities, and interpretive social sciences—for intensive study of subjects chosen by the participants. This program aims to engage productive scholars in multi-disciplinary and 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. The maximum grant award for each Sawyer seminar is $225,000. 

The Foundation is now fundamentally interested in the themes of social and racial justice. In terms of scholarly projects such as the Sawyer Seminars, Mellon will look for a strong focus on race and ethnicity and related intersectional analyses as well as those that focus on filling in the gaps left by more traditional narratives about the history and culture of the Americas. A more detailed description of the program’s aims, structure, budgetary guidelines, and selection procedures is appended and available on Mellon's website.

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There are no current application opportunities for this program.

Racial Reckoning through Comics logo

2022–23 Sawyer Seminar

The 2022–23 Mellon Sawyer Seminar, Racial Reckoning through Comics, will bring diverse individuals, institutions, and organizations together to critically engage questions of racial representation in the popular international formats of comics. The seminar will be co-directed by Corey Creekmur, Ana Merino, and Rachel Williams

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