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Call for Applications: 
The 2021-2022 John W. Altman Fellows Program in the Humanities


The Miami University Humanities Center invites faculty applications for a special 2021-2022 Altman Fellows Program on “Race & Racism” or some variant of that topic. Ordinarily, the Altman Program topic is proposed by faculty members from different disciplines. This year, however, the urgent need to address racial injustice and the opportunity to amplify the program through collaboration with a new university-wide initiative motivated the center’s Steering Committee to adopt a topic in advance.

Two Altman Faculty Fellows will be selected to plan and lead a campus-wide program including a faculty seminar, a series of eight or more distinguished lectures, special classes, research collaborations, and co-curricular opportunities.  Over the course of the academic year, the Altman Program typically engages thousands of faculty, students, and community members.

In 2021-2022, the Altman Program will be interwoven with a new university initiative called the One Year / One Theme Program. Coordinated by the Office of the Provost, this program will replace Miami’s existing Summer Reading Program with a yearlong array of thematically linked lectures, readings, films, courses, community projects, and co-curricular events.  Like the Altman Program, the One Year / One Theme Program aims to forge collaborations that engage our community in rigorous, sustained inquiry into scholarly questions of major consequence to society. The Humanities Center has been selected to coordinate the inaugural One Year / One Theme Program on the topic of race and racism. The Altman Program will provide a core of public programming on the topic. The One Year / One Theme Program will augment this programming, weaving it into other university speaker series, undergraduate courses, campus life activities, and co-curricular opportunities within the Honors Program and the new Prodesse Scholars Program. Collaboration between the Humanities Center and the Provost’s Office will allow Miami to offer a more sweeping and thoughtful investigation of racial injustice, featuring talks by major public intellectuals and engaging larger audiences. There may also be opportunities for community engagement and institutional self-examination.  

Altman Faculty Fellows receive $2500 in professional expenses and a two-course teaching reduction for 2021-2022.  After being selected by the Humanities Center Steering Committee, they will work during the current academic year to plan public events and recruit a team of Altman Faculty Scholars and student fellows for the program.

The Altman Fellows Program is the largest initiative of the Miami University Humanities Center. A yearlong, themed inquiry program, its goal is to foster collaboration, pedagogical innovation, and new research across the Humanities at Miami. The program typically includes a bi-weekly faculty seminar, a series of 10 distinguished lectures, an undergraduate fellows program, a team-taught senior course, a first-year seminar, and links to dozens of other courses. Each year, the program brings together 10 faculty members, eight student fellows and roughly 10 visiting speakers.  Its public events draw a total audience of 2,000-3,000. Past programs have included: Migrations, Time & Temporality, Truth & Lies, Urban Futures, Medicine and the Humanities, The Senses, The Anthropocene, Globalization and Belonging, The Human and the Nonhuman, and Networked Environments. A 2015 external review of the Humanities Center said “the Altman Program is one of the best imagined, designed and run such initiatives at any university in the world.”

The center invites applications from pairs of tenure-line faculty representing different humanities disciplines. Faculty uncertain about potential partners are welcome to submit individual applications. Applications of up to four single-spaced pages should sketch the following: proposed approach to the topic of race and racism; key intellectual emphases, questions, and methodologies; strategy for engaging diverse disciplines and publics; specific features or initiatives of the proposed program, including desirable visiting speakers, special opportunities, events, or co-curricular activities; the applicants’ qualifications, including past, ongoing or proposed research; the broad outlines of a team-taught course for advanced undergraduates, to be offered in fall 2021; a list of Miami faculty, working in and beyond the humanities, whose work might intersect with the topic and who might be valuable contributors to the program. It is not necessary to contact or recruit potential faculty participants in advance, only to demonstrate that the topic could attract a critical mass of participants.

Strong applications usually articulate a clear sense of the public and institutional value of the program, the salience of its major questions, and its contribution to the humanities, the community,  or the university. Applicants are encouraged to review previous programs. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the director to indicate their interest, request a sample application, or seek help identifying potential collaborators. Junior faculty applicants should address how participation in the program might affect their progress toward tenure.  Applications should be submitted as a single PDF document titled “[Applicants' Last Names] 2020 Altman Application.pdf”  to by midnight, Friday, September 18, 2020.

Application Information

Altman  Fellows Applications are due Friday, September 18, 2020.
Altman Faculty Scholars Applications are due Friday, November 6, 2020.
Altman Graduate Fellow Applications are due Sunday, February 5, 2021.
Geoffrion Family Student Fellows are due Sunday, February 5, 2021.
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