Current Themes and Calls for Research Proposals

The American Communities Program, 2020-21 & 2021-22
Call for Fellowship Proposals


For the first time, the ACP theme will be in effect for two consecutive years, which will enable faculty to plan ahead for fellowship applications as well as collaborate with the ACP on programming and curricular initiatives.  Resistance will be our theme for 2020-2022. Deadlines for fellowship applications for 2020-21 are below. Deadlines for 2021-22 fellowship applications will be announced next year.

Deadline: Fellowship Applications for the 2020-21 year are due Monday, May 18 at 5pm. Submission guidelines are at the end of the announcement.

Resistance takes many forms and has many resonances, whether understood in terms of

·      withstanding or opposing a structure of power,

·      a force exerted on another entity,

·      the natural or acquired ability to withstand disease or infection,

·      a developed lack of sensitivity,

·      an unwillingness to change or develop;

·      or the psychological phenomenon of opposition to bringing back repressed memories, feelings, or desires.

We seek original research proposals that analyze, in some way, historical and/or contemporary modes of resistance and the unique ways in which they are represented in humanities-based inquiry. Related questions that may be pursued include, but are not limited to, the following:

·      How are forms of resistance recognized, remembered, archived, mobilized, and/or deployed?

·      What particular modes of representation are effective for depicting or enacting resistance?

·      How, why, and to what effects has resistance functioned as a conservative force?

·      What are the connections between community and immunity, which share the same root, munus, which means “tax, gift, or obligation”?

·      What are ways of rethinking community/immunity during and after pandemics/periods of contagion? How are these ways inflected by race, gender, class, and sexuality?

·      What specific forms of resistance have relevance for the Covid-19 pandemic?

·      How might theorizing and practicing resistance enable the imagining and/or forging of alternatives to capitalism and its crises?

·      How do theories and practices of resistance inform our pedagogies and spaces of teaching?

·      What specific material conditions bring resistance into being and/or foreclose it?

·      How do particular modes of resistance promote and/or arrest crisis and transformation?

·      What historical modes of resistance have renewed or continued currency today?

·      How do studies of resistance and its biological contexts offer new ways of analyzing embodiment or biopower?

We especially encourage submissions that interrogate and theorize the theme and do not take it as a face-value starting point; we invite faculty to interpret the theme broadly.

Tenured and tenure-track faculty at Cal State LA are invited to submit proposals for two different fellowship programs: 1) ACP Working Group Fellowships (working groups may include graduate and advanced undergraduate students) and 2) ACP Individual Fellowships.

Interdisciplinary Working Group Fellowships

The ACP seeks to strengthen the humanities by bringing together colleagues and students from across campus for discussion and critical analyses of important issues in public and intellectual life. These fellowships seek to nurture and inspire our scholarly/pedagogical/creative/civic engagement activities in the humanities through the exploration of shared interests, themes, methodologies, and/or projects. To this end, the ACP continues the IWG fellowships, which award up to $500 to fund informal, interdisciplinary working groups in the humanities. A tenured or tenure-track faculty member must be the primary organizer, but working groups may include graduate and advanced undergraduate students. Money may be used to support a reading/writing group; to fund working lunches, workshops, meetings, or off-campus fieldtrips; or to pay for other relevant expenses. If your working group is especially fruitful and leads to further plans and projects, additional funding may be available.

To apply: Send a letter of interest explaining 1) the theme of your working group and a description of the issues and questions involved, 2) the name of the primary organizer of the group and a list of members and their affiliations, and 3) a description of the kinds of activities you expect your group to undertake with a list of itemized, anticipated costs.

Working Group Requirements:

  • Groups must meet at least three times during the academic year.
  • Funds must be spent on joint activities. This program is meant to support collegial activities of faculty members and students engaged in advanced work.
  • Funds must be spent and receipts submitted by May 1 of the academic year awarded.
  • The working group organizer is responsible for the management of these funds.
  • By May 10 of the year awarded, the organizer will submit a report of the group’s activities to the director of the ACP.


Individual Fellowships

Preference will be given to proposals that best demonstrate a nuanced engagement with and interrogation of the theme in innovative and meaningful ways. One of the fellowships, the Bailey Fellowship, may be awarded to an original project that applies this year's research theme to African American communities and/or individuals and preferably involves archival materials.

The program welcomes proposals from the arts that can be presented in a lecture/recital. All proposals, however, must include a research or analytical component based in the humanities. Each fellowship awards 3 units of reassigned time and may include a $500 stipend for a student assistant or other project-related expenses.

Application materials consist of a two-page curriculum vitae, a 500-word research proposal, and a projected budget for research-related expenditures (up to $500 may be awarded). Proposals should explain the relevance of the proposed project to this year's research theme and the originality and significance of the research. Fellows must present their research at the ACP's Spring 2021 symposium.

Application Materials

Please submit an electronic copy of your application to
Dr. Maria Karafilis
Joseph A. Bailey II, M.D. Endowed Chair of American Communities
Director, CAL STATE LA/NEH American Communities Program

The submission deadline for the 2020-21 fellowships is 5pm, Monday, May 18, 2020. A call for 2021-22 fellowship applications under this same theme will be announced next year.