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Humanities Fellows Program

Explore, Imagine, Connect

The Humanities Fellows Program is a selective, close-knit, and interdisciplinary community of students and scholars investigating critical and contemporary questions about human experience from diverse perspectives. Sophomores excited about humanities fields have the opportunity to explore their interests while developing skills that matter in and out of the classroom and preparing to live productive and purposeful lives. In 2021-2022 our focus will be on Contagion and Connection: how individuals, communities, and cultures are shaped by and make sense of pandemics.

The program combines an interdisciplinary humanities seminar and field experience in Washington, D.C. (Spring or Summer 2021, depending on health and travel guidelines) with the opportunity to apply for mentored summer research and continued professional mentorship, career development and community.

Read more about the Humanities Fellows Program here.

Humanities Fellows:

EXPLORE the central questions about human experience that define humanistic inquiry in an interdisciplinary seminar that develops students' skills in critical thinking, argumentation, and written and oral communication.

IMAGINE a focused and immersive humanities research project under the close guidance of a faculty member and apply to pursue that project in a paid summer fellowship.

CONNECT with each other, mentors, UR alums, and career advisors to investigate internship, fellowship, and post-graduate opportunities while learning to match and market their skills to future jobs and careers.

Applications for the 2021 Humanities Fellows Program are due on October 19th at 5:00pm. APPLY HERE.

Information sessions will be held:

Why is the theme Contagion and Connection?

The Humanities Fellows Program chooses its theme from contemporary topics and debates to demonstrate the vital contributions that the study of history, literature, art, music, theater, philosophy, religion, communications—in fact, all the humanities fields—can make to the fundamental questions we face as individuals and community members. We focus on the dominant themes of our era and explore how humanities methodologies uncover new insights and shape and guide contemporary responses to ongoing human challenges.

How does the program work?

Spring 2021
The program begins with a 1-unit spring seminar that explores how humanists examine and research a critical question of human experience. Our theme in 2021 is Contagion and Connection. Through a range of case studies encompassing a diverse range of voices from different historical eras, geographic locations, and cultural traditions, fellows will learn how humanities fields approach big questions: how do pandemics influence communities? How do individuals and cultures make sense of the dramatic changes such moments require? Are there ways to find meaning in such moments of crisis? And what can we learn from pandemics of the past as we negotiate our current circumstances? They will also learn critical humanities research skills and experience the range and depth of humanistic inquiry while exploring an issue of critical importance to our contemporary world.

Summer 2021
Building off of the work of the seminar, Fellows will apply for a fully-funded, summer fellowship exploring a research or creative project of their own design. Under the close guidance of a faculty mentor, Fellows will develop skills in project development and execution, independent thinking and working, and can apply to present their results at national undergraduate conferences.

Fall/Spring 2021–22
In either fall or spring of 2021-22, Fellows will complete a half-unit independent study with their mentor to bring summer efforts to fruition and prepare to present at the A&S Symposium. Students will also work with their Career Services representative on how to research and apply for shadowing opportunities, summer jobs, and internships, match and market their new skills to future careers, participate in A&S NEXT, and learn about post-graduate fellowship opportunities.

What takes place in the classroom?

In a collaborative and collegial seminar led by dedicated faculty, Fellows will discuss and dissect ideas both big and small, read classic and cutting-edge work in the humanities, improve their research and writing, and reflect on the key role that the humanities play in understanding contemporary issues.

What takes place outside of the classroom?

If health and travel guidelines permit, the Fellows visit to Washington, D.C. puts classroom training to work and links theory and practice by teaching students to "read" a metropolitan capital through the lens of contagion and connection. This trip includes an event with UR alums where students will learn about the varied postgraduate paths available to humanities majors and gain practice articulating the skills and competencies being built in the Fellows program.

How do I come up with a research area?

The Fellows discover their topics in a variety of ways. Some students come to the course with an idea from a class they’ve previously taken and others discover a new area of interest while working in the seminar. Don’t worry if you don’t have a topic: we don’t expect students to come to the program with anything other than an enthusiasm for learning new skills and approaches and a deep curiosity about how individuals and cultures evolve.

Will the interdisciplinary seminar count towards my major or minor?

Individual departments and programs have to determine whether or not the combination of an interdisciplinary seminar and summer research project can be applied to a specific major or minor. If you are interested in pursuing this option, reach out to the director of the Humanities Fellows Program. She can help you approach the department or program.

Who can apply?

The program is open to sophomore students.

How to apply

Applications for the 2021-22 Fellows Program are due on October 19th at 5:00pm. Please contact Dr. Abigail Cheever for information about the program. APPLY HERE.

2021 Humanities Fellows Program

Applications are now open for the 2021 Humanities Fellows Program. Submit your application here by October 19th at 5:00pm.

What are the humanities?

Literary scholar Helen Small defines the humanities broadly as “the meaning-making practices of human culture, past and present.”

The humanities are practiced in many disciplines and departments including:

Art and Art History
Classical Studies
Latin American, Latino and Iberian Studies
Modern Literatures and Cultures
Political Science
Rhetoric and Communication Studies
Religious Studies
Sociology and Anthropology
Theater and Dance
and many interdisciplinary programs.



Questions about the Undergraduate Humanities Fellows Program can be directed to Dr. Abigail Cheever.

Student Stories

Read more about humanities fellow Hannah Maddy's research looking for poetry in the ruins of ancient Pompeii.

Read more about humanities fellow Victoria Charles' work constructing a historical narrative of the black student experience at the University of Richmond.

Read posts from Spider Diarists Hunter and Cory  about their experience in the program.