The Ransom Center will award 10 dissertation fellowships and up to 60 postdoctoral fellowships for its 2023–24 program, and applications are now closed. Research conducted by humanities scholars contributes to a dynamic body of knowledge that has the potential to reshape our understanding of archival collections—what is preserved and valued in our communities. The Ransom Center fosters a supportive environment so that researchers may explore, examine, critique, and better understand the cultural works in its collections from a historical context. Fellowships of varying lengths (from one to three months) are offered for research projects that require substantial on-site use of collections that span a variety of disciplines.
Ransom Center Fellowship
Program & Guidelines
The Ransom Center's internationally renowned collections encourage and support research in all areas of the humanities including literature, photography, film, art, performing arts, music, cultural history, and interdisciplinary studies.
Research projects might include:
- Scholarly articles or monographs
- Creative work
- Digital humanities
- Performance-based research
- Exhibition proposals
- Research-based syllabi to grow student research
- Collaborative research
Fellowship Guidelines (updated April 2020)
After a two-year hiatus, the Ransom Center is thrilled to be awarding 10 dissertation fellowships and up to 60 postdoctoral fellowships for its 2023–24 program. The fellowship projects must require substantial on-site use of the Center's collections, which support exploration of all areas of the humanities, including literature, photography, film, art, the performing arts, music, and cultural history.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: NOVEMBER 14, 2022, 5 P.M. CST (UTC -6)Submit Fellowship Application
Types of Available Fellowships
One– to Three–Month Fellowships — $3,500 PER MONTH*
One– to three–month fellowships are available for postdoctoral or independent scholars whose projects require in-person engagement with the Center's holdings.
Travel Stipends — $2,000*
Travel stipends are available for postdoctoral or independent scholars whose projects require less than one month's use of the Center's collections. Travel stipends may not be combined with other Ransom Center fellowships.
Dissertation Fellowships — $2,000*
Dissertation fellowships are available for graduate students whose doctoral dissertations require use of the Center's collections.
* For all fellowship categories, an additional, one-time $500 stipend will be provided to individuals who are a citizen or resident of a country other than the U.S. to contribute to the costs associated with the J-1 visa and/or international travel to Austin.
The Center gratefully acknowledges the endowments and annual sponsors that support these fellowships.
Statement on Diversity
As the Ransom Center examines its evolution across three pivotal collecting timelines (1883–1957, 1957–1978, and 1978–present) in accordance with its Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, we are mindful that museum and archival holdings such as ours were founded on Eurocentric practices. Our Center regularly reconsiders the tenets of our Diversity and Inclusion guidelines. We encourage people of all nationalities and backgrounds to apply as we hold space for non-Western cultural identities that have so often been omitted from the canon, particularly the scholarship of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
One– to three–month fellowships and travel stipends are open to individuals with either a Ph.D. or a demonstrable record of exemplary research. If the Ph.D. is in progress at the time of application, the proposal and letters of recommendation should clearly indicate completion by June 1, 2023.
Dissertation fellowships are open to doctoral candidates whose dissertations are in progress by the time of application and have not been completed by the start of the fellowship period.
Previous recipients of Ransom Center fellowships are eligible to reapply with new projects after two full fellowship cycles have passed.
When considering your research proposal, please take a look at our ever-developing research guides, which provide interpretive information related to context as well as insight into the strengths and limitations of what we carry for each discipline. The Ransom Center is especially interested in proposals from candidates who can contribute to our charge for diversity as we strive to grow a vitally inclusive research culture. We support work in both traditional formats (such as peer-reviewed articles or non-fiction manuscripts) as well as creative works (novels, films, etc.), and particularly welcome scholars who think critically about archival representation to recognize where there are gaps or inequities in scholarship.
Applicants may contact the Ransom Center at email@example.com with specific inquiries about the collections and to confirm that the materials they wish to consult will be available during their proposed visit. Other information about the Center's collections, including our Material Use Policy may be found online. Inquiries about the collections should be submitted before October 15, 2022 to guarantee a response before the application deadline.
Questions about the fellowship program or application instructions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A complete application consists of a three-page proposal and one or two letters of recommendation as outlined below. These materials must be uploaded to the Ransom Center's online application system as PDF files by the application deadline. To begin your application for a 2023–2024 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, and which your reference(s) must use to submit the required letter(s) of recommendation. Please note that information cannot be revised once submitted. Previous applicants for Ransom Center fellowships must create a new account for 2023–2024, as accounts from previous years cannot be reused. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes our applicants.
Create your three-page proposal as outlined below. We ask that the proposal be in English and submitted as a single PDF file 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; 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 length of fellowship requested. If your selected materials are also represented in the Ransom Center's digital collections, be sure to explain why on-site review is necessary for your project.
Page three of your proposal should consist of an abbreviated curriculum vitae emphasizing relevant work, including 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 review, will be entered in the online application system, and should not be included in your three-page proposal.
Letters of Recommendation
Applications for one- to three-month fellowships and travel stipends must include two confidential letters of recommendation from individuals who are qualified to judge the proposal. Applications for dissertation fellowships must include only one letter of recommendation, which should come from the dissertation director or an appropriate member of the dissertation committee. Letters of recommendation must be in English, be prepared on institutional letterhead, and bear the referee's signature. Letters must be submitted as a PDF through the Center's online application system by the referee using the applicant's fellowship account number. The deadline for the application materials (below) applies also to the letters of recommendation.
The proposal and required letter(s) of recommendation for 2023–2024 fellowship applications must be submitted through the Center's online application system by November 14, 2022, 5 p.m. CST. An automated email will be sent to the applicant upon the successful submission of each item. Applicants are responsible for ensuring their referees meet the deadline and that all required materials have been submitted. Materials cannot be accepted after the deadline has passed.
Announcement of Decisions
Decisions will be announced by email on March 31, 2023. Fellowship recipients will also receive materials related to their award by mail. Queries about applications in-process cannot, unfortunately, be acknowledged. Fellowship recipients and their research projects will be recognized in Ransom Center publicity.
Fellowship stipends are awarded according to the category of award and the fellowship recipient's need to travel to the Center. An additional, one-time $500 stipend will be provided to individuals who are citizens or residents of countries other than the U.S. to contribute to the costs associated with the J-1 visa and/or international travel to Austin. For all award categories, stipends will be issued after the Fellow arrives at the Ransom Center for their residency.
Recipients of 2023–2024 fellowships must complete their residencies between June 1, 2023, and August 31, 2024, though we can be somewhat flexible about the start date if all the administrative documentation has been submitted before the outset of the residency period. Complete information about the fellowship residency may be found in the fellowship guidelines.
History of the Ransom Center
The Harry Ransom Center fellowship program was established in 1989 under the directorship of Thomas F. Staley to give scholars the financial means and resources for on-site exploration of the Ransom Center's collections for academic research. Fellows are awarded stipends to complete residencies at the Center (which include invitations to select member events), immersing themselves in unique materials that illuminate creative processes over centuries. The extensive collections include (but are not limited to) literature, photography, film, art, the performing arts, music, and cultural history. Currently, we would like to expand our applicant base in the field of photography.
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. Since then, the Center has worked to establish a $1.5 million endowment to ensure the continuation of the fellowship program with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and other donors. Dissertation fellowships became part of the program with aid from the University of Texas at Austin Office of Graduate Studies (now The Graduate School), to encourage humanities research among new generations.
Today the program hosts more than 60 Fellows each year, sustained by the generous support of numerous organizations and individuals (please see “Sponsors” for full list). Since the program's inauguration, the Center has awarded fellowships to more than 1,400 scholars.
The Fellows' wide-ranging and interdisciplinary research topics reflect the breadth of the Center's holdings. Recent publications derived from fellowship research include the following (of many):
- Vagabond Fictions: Gender and Experiment in British Women's Fiction, 1945-1970 (University of Edinburgh Press, 2020) by Carol Sweeney who held a 2017-18 fellowship funded by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Fellowship Endowment.
- Prison Writing and the Literary World: Imprisonment, Institutionality and Questions of Literary Practice (Routledge, 2020) edited by Michelle Kelly and Claire Westall; Michelle Kelly held a 2010-2011 fellowship funded by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Fellowship Endowment.
- The Passion Projects: Modernist Women, Intimate Archives, Unfinished Lives (Princeton UP, 2019) by Melanie Micir who held a 2015-16 fellowship funded by Dorot Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Jewish Studies.
- Staged: Show Trials, Political Theater, and the Aesthetics of Judgment (Columbia University Press, 2018), by Minou Arjomand who held a 2014-15 Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies / Marie and Edwin Gale Fellowship.
- Visual Histories of South Asia (Primus Books, 2018), edited by Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes and Marcus Banks; Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes held a 2013-14 fellowship funded by Marlene Nathan Myerson Photography Endowment.
- Study in Black and White: Photography, Race, Humor (Penn State University Press, 2018) by Tanya Sheehan who held a 2012-13 fellowship funded by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Fellowship Endowment.
- The Blind Astronomer's Daughter (New York, Bloomsbury, 2016) by John Pipkin who held a 2010-11 fellowship funded by C. P. Snow Memorial Fund / Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Fellowship Endowment.
During their residencies at the Ransom Center, Fellows are not only engaged in individual research; we strive for a program that exemplifies a genuine sense of fellowship to honor the community support that has perpetuated the Center's growth. Throughout the year, the Center hosts weekly coffee gatherings that allow independent researchers, Ransom Center staff, and other members of the university community to discuss the work taking place within our departments (archival/library, preservation, administration, curation, and exhibition). Fellows have presented talks to Ransom Center Members and to university groups during their visits, have participated in video interviews, and have contributed articles to the print and online editions of the Ransom Center Magazine.
Works-in-Progress Series 2022
To recognize the collective creativity of the people who frequent and work at the Ransom Center, we are currently developing our inaugural Works-in-Progress series, an opportunity for Fellows to discuss projects both within and outside the scope of their research. It is meant to be a space in which intersecting communities within the University share their creative and interpretive works with an attentive audience. We hope these events connect people from all educational backgrounds through the universal tie of writing and art-making.
American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies (ASECS)
Each year, the Ransom Center co-sponsors two $3,000 fellowships with the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies (ASECS) in any medium of 18th century research, ranging from musicology to gender theory. The ASECS encourages an expansive and inclusive body of knowledge on research pertaining to the late 17th century through the early 19th century.
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
The International Placement Scheme (IPS) is an annual program providing Research Fellowships and dedicated access to internationally renowned collections/expertise to AHRC/ESRC-funded doctoral students, early career researchers, and doctoral-level research assistants.
Bibliographical Society of America (BSA)
The Harry Ransom Center co-sponsors two annual research fellowships with the Bibliographical Society of America (BSA), the longest-standing 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, demonstrate a commitment to innovation and creativity, and include plans for both scholarly and community engagement.
- Alfred A. and Blanche W. Knopf Fellowship
- Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Fellowship Endowment
- Arnold Newman Fellowship in Photography
- Ben Bradlee Fellowship in Journalism
- Carl H. Pforzheimer Endowment
- C. P. Snow Memorial Fund
- Dorot Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Jewish Studies
- Edwin Gale Fellowship of the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at The University of Texas at Austin
- Erle Stanley Gardner Endowment for Mystery Studies
- Filmscript Acquisitions Endowment
- Fleur Cowles Endowment Fund
- Fred W. Todd Southern Literature Endowment Fund
- Frederic D. Weinstein Memorial Fellowship
- Harry Ransom Distinguished Fellowship
- Hippocampus Press Endowed Robert E. Howard Fellowship
- Hobby Family Foundation Endowment
- Henrietta and Jens Jacobsen Endowment for the Humanities
- Limited Editions Club Endowment
- Marlene Nathan Meyerson Photography Fellowship Endowment
- Milton T. Smith Memorial Director's Excellence Fund Endowment
- Norman Mailer Endowed Fund
- Robert De Niro Endowed Fund
- Roy Flukinger Endowment for Photography
- Sone Family Endowed Excellence Fund for VIsual Art
- Thomas G. Smith Endowed Fund
- Woodward and Bernstein Endowment