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Brett de Bary Interdisciplinary Mellon Writing Groups

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The Society for the Humanities administers the Brett de Bary Interdisciplinary Mellon Writing Groups, generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Faculty and graduate students are encouraged to submit applications for this program. Funds for Interdisciplinary Writing Groups are intended to encourage activities related to writing and publication, to be carried out throughout one academic year by groups of faculty and graduate students in the humanities. 

Two grants of up to $5,000 per year will be made available to groups of 5-7 participants, working in at least two different humanities departments, who can demonstrate that their research interests productively converge. Applications should present a schedule of meetings to be held in the course of the academic year, which would necessarily include presentation to the group of a work-in-progress by each member. Such sessions should offer substantive response and discussion, by the group, of each individual paper. Groups may schedule other, optional activities, as desired.

Each group application should include a budget. Funds may be used to provide dinner and/or refreshments on the occasions of paper presentations, as well as to provide research support for each group member. Alternatively, funds could be pooled to bring a visiting scholar to Cornell for a workshop or retreat focused on writing projects of participants, or to support manuscript preparation or other costs associated with publication of work of participants in the group.

The competition will be adjudicated by the Humanities Council.


Application Guidelines

Applications for de Bary Interdisciplinary Mellon Writing Groups should be submitted by two faculty co-organizers representing different departments or fields within the humanities. Each writing group should consist of 5-7 members, including faculty and graduate students. Applicants should submit the following materials as one .pdf file:

1. A statement of no more than 1,000 words describing a rationale for linking the work of participants from different disciplines. The statement should show how each participant’s perspective would contribute to elaborating and enriching a common context for research. Priority will be given to groups who demonstrate how their activities might benefit from the presence of visiting scholars at the Society for the Humanities during the year of the grant. The Society's focal theme for 2017-18 is "Corruption."

2. A one-paragraph description of a writing project from each participant, including plans (imminent or long-term) for publication.
3. A CV for each member of the group.
4. A schedule of meetings and activities for the coming year. (A series of meetings organized around the circulation, presentation, and discussion of a work in progress by each member is the basic requirement. Other activities are optional.)
5. A brief budget. Funds may be used for the following four categories: a.) dinner and refreshments at the time of paper presentations,  b.) up to $1,000 in research funds per member of the group (to be reimbursed, not transferred to research accounts),  c.) bringing a visiting scholar to Cornell to conduct a workshop or retreat for the group,  d.) supporting manuscript preparation costs for a collaboratively produced volume. 

We invite humanities faculty and graduate students at Cornell to collaborate on applications for these grants. Applications by groups involving faculty and graduate students should be authored by two faculty co-organizers representing different departments or disciplines. Co-organizers will be responsible for administering funds transferred to their departmental accounts. 

Please note: applicants should not propose dissertation writing groups for which the Society hosts a separate funding competition. 
All application materials should be submitted electronically to Emily Parsons ( at the Society for the Humanities.

DEADLINE: The next competition will be run in Spring 2018. Please check back for updates.