[This program is currently suspended.]

Humanities Futures Undergraduate Fellowship


[This program is currently suspended.]


The Program

Humanities Futures is a new undergraduate fellowship program of the Humanities for the Public Good Initiative, which will support ten undergraduate humanities majors as they reconsider  public understanding of “the humanities” in the United States in 2021.

This program is made possible with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the College of Arts & Sciences. Its core goal is cultivating leadership among publicly engaged undergraduate humanists.

The Purpose

“So everyone can be ready to slam-dunk their answer to the question ‘OK, but what will you DO with that?’”

For the last 30 years, humanists have been playing defense—well aware that critics sometimes find their course of study obscure or impractical. But generations of humanities majors before them have found their studies to be socially relevant, personally meaningful, and professionally valuable—as indicated by data that has consistently found humanists to be well-prepared, well-adjusted, and well-compensated.

As a result of the public perception of the humanities, contemporary undergraduates often face family pressure, peer pushback, and personal anxiety—all of which can make it hard to focus on long-term life goals, professional and otherwise.

The Humanities Futures program intends, with your help, to change that.

Towards this end, the Humanities for the Public Good is recruiting ten undergraduate fellows for the Spring 2021 semester to work in partnership with the Institute of African American Research’s new initiative: Students Learning to Advance Truth and Equity (IAAR-SLATE). This initiative aims to create a dynamic, robust, and transformative environment that centers learning through evidence-based, interdisciplinary and community-engaged ways of knowing about race, racism, and racial equity, especially as they concern African Americans. 

We are accepting applications from undergraduate students at UNC Chapel Hill who are interested in projects that specifically relate to African American communities. Fellows will work with IAAR-SLATE on projects including the Black Communities 2021 conference. We welcome undergraduate students who are creative & interested in community support projects through research and collaboration.

The Protocol

The Humanities Futures program is designed to foster undergraduate fellows’ understanding and appreciation for public humanities. To that end, fellows will collaboratively:

  • engage in seminar-style discussions with short readings and/or group exercises to build group understanding of the “problem” of the humanities
  • work with IAAR-SLATE and guest speakers to learn about community engaged research projects for African American communities
  • participate in two conferences: IAAR’s Spring 2021 Black Communities Conference and the HPG symposium (official dates for both TBD). 

Fellows will receive a $500 stipend for their fellow’s work. The program is expected to run between December 2020 and May 2021. All work is anticipated to be remote and students are not required to be in Chapel Hill to be considered.

Application Information

Applications should complete an application form and have a referrer submit a recommendation.

The application should specifically address your interests in public humanities, working with IAAR-SLATE, and community partnership as well as offer a general sense of your professional goals. A great application also refers to any past projects you’ve successfully implemented. In short, it should explain not only your interest in but your qualifications and your goals for, and after, the fellowship.

Please send your recommender this link to the portal in which to submit their recommendation securely. Your application form itself will not trigger an email to your recommender. A good recommender for this fellowship is someone who knows your character and work style personally, and may be a faculty member, graduate teaching assistant, or past or current supervisor or employer.

Applications are due by midnight on Friday, December 4th, 2020.

For further information, an info sessions will be held via Zoom (at this link) on the following dates:

  • Thursday, November 12 1:30pm
  • Thursday, November 19, 1:30pm
  • Tuesday, November 24, 1:30pm

If you’d like to setup a different time to chat, please contact Director Ashley Melzer at <amelzer@unc.edu>.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligible applicants must have declared a major in a humanities field by the time of application. They may be in any year of their undergraduate course of study.

Eligible departments/majors/curricula are those programs affiliated with African, African American & Diaspora Studies; American Studies; Anthropology; Art & Art History; Asian Studies; Classics; Communication; Dramatic Art; English & Comparative Literature; Geography; Germanic & Slavic Languages & Literature; Global Studies; Peace, War & Defense; History; Linguistics; Music; Philosophy; Religious Studies; Romance Studies; and Women’s & Gender Studies. Humanistically inclined students in the Environment, Ecology, & Energy program may also apply.

The Humanities for the Public Good Initiative recognizes that humanists can be found in all walks of life; but by the nature of its funding, it cannot accept applications from undergraduate majors majoring in programs located in professional schools outside the College of Arts & Sciences.

Students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color, women, students from under-served communities including rural communities in North Carolina or beyond, LGBTQ+ students, students who belong to religious minorities, military-affiliated students, “non-traditional” students (aged beyond 18-22), and students with visible or invisible disabilities are encouraged to apply.

In order to be paid the fellowship stipend, fellows must be eligible to be paid by the university (that is, have completed/be able to complete the I-9 form).