Harry Ransom Center

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Research centers come alive when scholars actively engage with the materials and resources housed in these institutions. To that end, fellowships are available to support residencies at the Ransom Center for projects that require substantial on-site use of its collections.

For the 2020–2021 award cycle, we will welcome applications for UT-Austin Fellows (to be used in 2021-2022). Given the Covid-19 pandemic, our regular award cycle is temporarily suspended; please apply next year. (Some exceptions will be made for External Fellowships.) Ransom Center fellowships are funded by a number of endowments and sponsors.

  • 2021–2022 The University of Texas at Austin Fellows Program & Guidelines

    Fellows Program for UT-Austin Faculty & Graduate Students
    Application Call: Due January 6 at NOON CST
    Awards for Fall 2021 and Spring 2022

    The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, invites applications from the UT-Austin community for its 2021–2022 research fellowships.

    In this next award cycle, the Ransom Center will grant 12 fellowships—approximately 6 to UT faculty and 6 to UT graduate students—for projects that require substantial on-site use of its collections and critically or creatively engage the collections. The Ransom Center’s internationally renowned collections support research in all areas of the humanities including literature, photography, film, art, performing arts, music, cultural history, and humanity more broadly.

    This fellowship opportunity encourages local academic engagement with the collections to grow our research initiatives. Many UT faculty and students engage with the Center’s collections through teaching, research, assistantships and internships. We hope this pilot fellowship encourages more extensive use of the collections by the UT community for the benefit of future research projects, especially during a time when national support for research and travel is limited. Research projects might include: scholarly articles or monographs, dissertations, creative work, digital humanities, performance-based research, exhibition proposals, research-based syllabi to grow student research, collaborative research, or other research projects around the collections. We are open to both traditional and innovative research proposals to animate the collections. The Ransom Center is especially interested in proposals from candidates who can contribute to diversity and excellence as we strive to grow a vital, inclusive research culture.

    The deadline for applications is January 6 at NOON CST. Applications must be submitted through the Ransom Center’s website.

    Please note: The Ransom Center will be closed starting December 23, 2020 for Winter Break and will reopen upon our return on January 4, 2021. During this time we will be unable to respond to queries about the UT Fellows program. Prospective applicants are highly encouraged to register and submit any reference questions by December 18, 2020.

    Applications will be accepted from across the university, and fellowships can be used during the semester of Fall 2021 or Spring 2022. Fellowship stipends for both faculty and graduate students will be $3,000. All fellows must be local and must be scheduled to be in residence in Austin for the academic year. No travel reimbursements will be available. Fellows will be required to participate in a few group forums about their research that will be scheduled to accommodate their teaching and other commitments. While research schedules will be flexible, physically-distanced protocols following the Covid-19 pandemic may affect schedules, so flexibility is required.


    Faculty from all ranks at UT are encouraged to apply. For graduate students, preference may be given to doctoral students, but MFA, MSIS, and other terminal master’s degree students are also encouraged to apply. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Ransom Center’s staff about collections at: reference@hrc.utexas.edu

    Application Procedures

    A complete application consists of a three-page proposal and the names and contact information of two references. These materials must be uploaded to the Ransom Center's online application system as PDFs by the application deadline. To begin your application for a ​2021-2022 fellowship, create a fellowship account. Upon successful creation of your account, you will receive a fellowship account number, which you must use to submit your proposal. Please note that information cannot be revised once submitted. Previous applicants for Ransom Center fellowships must create a new account for 2021-2022, as accounts from previous years cannot be reused.


    Create your three-page proposal as outlined below. The proposal must be in English and submitted as a single PDF through the Ransom Center's online application system using your fellowship account number. Files longer than three pages will not be accepted. Each page should include your last name in the top-right corner and be formatted with one-inch margins and a font size no smaller than eleven point.

    Page one of your proposal should provide your name and project title, followed by a summary of the proposed research project. Keep in mind that you are writing for an interdisciplinary committee, so research topics and their significance should be thoroughly explained and placed in the context of the larger field of study. Please also describe the anticipated result of the project (journal article, book, edited volume, or other format).

    Page two of your proposal should provide a detailed account of your anticipated use of the Ransom Center's collections. Describe the materials that you will consult, their relevance to the project, and why these materials must be consulted on-site during the fellowship. If the materials that you will consult are represented in the Ransom Center's digital collections, be sure to explain why on-site consultation is necessary for your project.

    Page three of your proposal should consist of an abbreviated curriculum vitae emphasizing relevant publications. Previous recipients of Ransom Center fellowships should include results of fellowship-supported research.

    When submitting your proposal, you will be asked to provide a brief summary of your proposal in 100 words or less. This summary, which should address both your project and the collections you will consult, will be entered in the online application system, and should not be included in your three-page proposal.

    Applicants will be notified by March 31.

    This opportunity hopes to integrate more UT faculty and graduate students into the Ransom Center’s long-standing research culture and community. During this pilot year of the UT Fellows program, external fellows from the 2019–2021 award cycles (who needed to postpone their fellowships due to Covid-19) will immerse in the Center’s collections and will likewise adhere to physically-distanced protocols. Since the fellowship program’s inauguration in 1990, the Harry Ransom Center has supported more than 1,270 research projects through fellowship awards.

    Ransom Center fellowships are funded by a number of endowments and sponsors.

  • History of the Harry Ransom Center Fellowship Program

    The Harry Ransom Center fellowship program was established in 1989 under the directorship of Thomas F. Staley to encourage and facilitate use of the Center's collections for scholarly inquiry. Through fellowship stipends, the program enables scholars from around the world to visit the Center to conduct on-site research in its collections, supporting scholarship in all areas of the humanities, including literature, photography, film, art, the performing arts, music, and cultural history.

    The first fellowships were offered in 1990–1991 to eight scholars, five of whom visited from abroad. Support for these fellowships was provided by the Henriette F. and Clarence L. Cline Endowment, the South Central Modern Language Association, and general operating funds of the Ransom Center. In the following years, the Center worked to grow the program through the creation of additional endowments. With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and other donors, the Center established a $1.5 million endowment to ensure the continuation of the fellowship program in perpetuity; with support from The University of Texas at Austin Office of Graduate Studies, dissertation fellowships were introduced to the program to encourage archival research among a new generation of scholars.

    Today the program hosts more than 50 fellows each year, sustained by the generous support of several entities including the Dorot Foundation, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Fleur Cowles Endowment Fund, the Limited Editions Club Endowment, the Alfred A. and Blanche W. Knopf Fellowship, the David Douglas Duncan Endowment for Photojournalism, and the Robert De Niro Endowed Fund.

    The fellows' wide-ranging and interdisciplinary research topics reflect the breadth of the Center's holdings. Recent publications based on fellowship research include Understanding Diane Johnson (University of South Carolina Press, 2012) by Carloyn A. Durham, who held a 2010–2011 fellowship funded by the Filmscript Acquisitions Endowment; Hidden Talent: The Emergence of Hollywood Agents (University of California Press, 2009) by Tom Kemper, who held a 2007–2008 fellowship funded by the Warren Skaaren Film Research Endowment; and The Two Cultures Controversy: Science, Literature, and Cultural Politics in Postwar Britain (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) by Guy Ortolano, who held a 2006–2007 fellowship funded by the British Studies program at The University of Texas at Austin. Anne Wilkes Tucker's 2007–2008 fellowship funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Fellowship Endowment helped shape her landmark 2012–2013 exhibition WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

    During their residencies at the Ransom Center, fellows help foster an environment of intellectual exchange. Throughout the year, the Center hosts lunches and weekly coffee gatherings that create opportunities for fellows, independent research visitors, Ransom Center staff, and other members of the University community to discuss the work taking place within the Center's collections. Fellows have also presented talks to the Ransom Center's members and to University and community groups during their visits, and have participated in video interviews and contributed articles for the Center's website, newsletter, and blog. These presentations highlight the significance of the Ransom Center's holdings to a broad audience.

    Since the program's inauguration in 1990, the Center has awarded fellowships to more than 1,200 scholars.

  • External Fellowships
    Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

    The International Placement Scheme (IPS) is an annual program providing Research Fellowships to AHRC/ESRC-funded doctoral students, early career researchers and doctoral-level research assistants.

    The purpose of the call (described as an 'IPS Fellowship') is to provide early career researchers (ECR), doctoral level research assistants and AHRC/ESRC funded doctoral students with dedicated access to internationally renowned collections/programs/expertise.

    Bibliographical Society of America (BSA)

    The Harry Ransom Center co-sponsors two annual research fellowships with the Bibliographical Society of America (BSA), the oldest scholarly society in North America dedicated to the study of books and manuscripts as physical objects. The BSA was organized in 1904 and incorporated in 1927 with the principal objectives of promoting bibliographical research and issuing bibliographical publications.

    The BSA-Harry Ransom Center Pforzheimer Fellowship in Bibliography (two awards annually at $3,000 each) supports the bibliographical study of medieval and early modern books and manuscripts held in the Ransom Center’s Pforzheimer Library and its other wide-ranging collections.

    Fulbright-Creative Ireland Museum Fellowship

    A post-graduate student will be awarded a Fulbright-Creative Ireland Museum Fellowship to complete short-term research at the Harry Ransom Center.

    Proposed research projects should engage substantively with the Ransom Center's collections and must demonstrate a commitment to innovation and creativity, and include plans for both scholarly and community engagement.

  • Sponsors
    • American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS)
    • Ben Bradlee Fellowship in Journalism
    • British Studies Fellowship of the British Studies program at the University of Texas at Austin
    • Fleur Cowles Endowment Fund
    • Robert De Niro Endowed Fund
    • Dorot Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Jewish Studies
    • David Douglas Duncan Endowment for Photojournalism
    • Edwin Gale Fellowship of the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at The University of Texas at Austin
    • Alfred A. and Blanche W. Knopf Fellowship
    • Limited Editions Club Endowment
    • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Fellowship Endowment
    • Marlene Nathan Meyerson Photography Fellowship Endowment
    • Arnold Newman Fellowship in Photography
    • Carl H. Pforzheimer Endowment
    • C. P. Snow Memorial Fund
    • South Central Modern Language Association (SCMLA)
    • Frederic D. Weinstein Memorial Fellowship
    • Woodward and Bernstein Endowment
    • The University of Texas at Austin Office of Graduate Studies