Current Themes and Calls for Research Proposals

The American Communities Program, 2019-20 Call for Fellowship Proposals  In/visibilities

Deadline: Friday, March 22, 2019, at 5 p.m.

Submission guidelines are at the end of the announcement.

In/visibility functions both as the opposite of visibility and as an epistemological and ontological phenomenon of its own. We seek humanities-based proposals that explore the ethical, aesthetic, political, cultural, and/or epistemological resonances of in/visibility, which invokes the realms of both the seen and the unseen, and especially encourage submissions that work to interrogate and theorize the theme.

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. While individuals may apply for both, only one fellowship may be accepted.

This year’s theme asks questions including, but not limited to, the following:

  • In what specific ways can the theme be theorized? How can in/visibilities be defined and deployed and to what ends? What are the benefits and limits?
  • If we displace sight, what other modes of experience emerge (sonic, tactile, etc.) and what might they yield?
  • Are strategic in/visibilities at work? How and to what effects?
  • How does critical study of in/visibility allow us to rethink community, what it signifies, and how it can be brought into being? How might it enable us to rethink alliances and the processes by which they are forged?
  • What are potential shades of in/visibilities and how do they work to complicate the binary of being seen/unseen?
  • What can the specific modes of inquiry grounding the humanities infuse into practices and theories of in/visibility, and what can studies of in/visibility offer the humanities?
  • How can we study in/visibility without destroying it? What various forms can in/visibility take?
  • How can concepts of transparency, reflection, iridescence, and/or opacity nuance our analyses of in/visibilities?
  • What groups are deemed visible/invisible, historically and in our contemporary moment, and to what effects?
  • How does in/visibility intersect with issues of representation and/or aesthetics?
  • How does in/visibility intersect with issues of technology, data, and surveillance?
  • What material and epistemological conditions hinder and/or promote in/visibility?
  • How do movements such as #metoo and Black Lives Matter challenge narratives and practices of in/visibility and to what effects?
  • How is in/visibility inflected by issues of race, class, gender, and/or sexuality?
  • How do critical analyses of the visible and invisible realms inform notions of fact, faith, and truth?

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

Up to three fellowships will be awarded. 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 three 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 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). Proposals should explain the relevance of the proposed project to this year's research theme and the originality and significance of the research. Fellows are expected to attend the 2019 ACP Symposium on April 11, 2019 and must present their research at the ACP's Spring 2020 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 2019-20 fellowships is 5 p.m., Friday, March 22, 2019.