Residential Fellowships

The Humanities Research Center’s annual residential fellowship program gives four faculty members who are working on related issues or topics release from all teaching responsibilities for one semester so they can focus on individual research projects and at the same time engage regularly with each other. The topic or issue that unites the group can be broad—for example, race relations in urban environments, gender and sexuality in the early modern world or the politics of virtue. The goal is to foster intellectual exchange and to enhance the quality of research at VCU by exposing faculty to different perspectives and methodologies. Applicants need not be working collaboratively and indeed we anticipate that in most cases they will not be doing so; but applicants must be open to thinking about their own projects in new ways and to asking new questions of their material as a result of engaging with colleagues who are considering similar issues in different contexts and/or using different methodologies. Applicants must demonstrate in their proposals the specific benefits to their individual projects that they anticipate from engaging with the other group members.

Fellows meet as a group once a week to discuss their own works-in-progress and readings of common interest. Fellows are given the opportunity to give public presentations about their projects during the academic year following their residency at the Center. Publications resulting from this fellowship program must acknowledge the Center’s support.

Application criteria and instructions

Residential Fellows: Spring 2020

Antonio Espinoza
Antonio Espinoza, Ph.D.
Samaneh Oladi Ghadikolaei
Samaneh Oladi Ghadikolaei, Ph.D.
Melis Hafez
Melis Hafez, Ph.D.
Rohan Kalyan
Rohan Kalyan, Ph.D.

Indigenizing Reform: Cultural and Political Transformations in the Global South

The concept of indigeneity as deployed in recent humanities scholarship is often positioned in opposition to notions of western colonization, development and modernity more broadly. Indigenizing reform seeks to move beyond the opposition of western imitation versus indigenous authenticity to look at the nuanced and complicated ways in which reformists in the global south interpreted the world around them and sought to shape it. Drawing from international studies, religious studies and history, as well as the subdisciplines of gender, Latin American, Middle Eastern and South Asian studies, our research investigates processes of indigenizing reform as they play out in diverse geo-historical contexts:

  1. contemporary female Iranian activists who negotiate an indigenous Islamic tradition with modernity through transforming male-dominated religious discourses
  2. nineteenth-century Ottoman moralists who indigenized a duty-centered morality along the lines of modern citizenship
  3. the role of school teachers as “indigenizers” of knowledge in nineteenth-century Peru
  4. contemporary India and its ongoing process of political and economic reform under a right-wing government that construes itself as indigenous

Prior Fellows