Humanities Without Walls Public Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship

Application Deadline


The Humanities Research Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign seeks to hire a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Public Humanities, supported by the Mellon Foundation Humanities Without Walls (HWW) initiative.

Humanities Without Walls (HWW) is a consortium of university humanities centers across the Midwest which supports collaborative, publicly engaged research and career development opportunities for humanities scholars. The HWW grant aims to disrupt the porous boundary between the academy and "the world" through collaborative partnerships that are ethical and equitable by design. Through the work of our programs, HWW prioritizes accessibility to education for people who have historically been denied access, and the redistribution of university resources to the public(s) they serve. This is a two-year appointment commencing Fall 2024.

The HWW Public Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow will spend the two-year term in residence at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, participating for the first year of appointment in the yearlong Humanities Research Institute (HRI) Fellows Seminar. The Fellow will pursue a community-based research project rooted in the HWW grant’s guiding methodologies of reciprocity and redistribution. The applicant’s proposed project need not address a particular thematic but must center collaborative, non-hierarchical practices for publicly engaged research (see our list of best practices for research partnerships for more information).

Application Guidelines

The following materials are required to be submitted via the application portal:

  1. A one-page abstract, including project title, not to exceed 300 words. Please upload in the portal under “abstract.”
  2. A narrative statement describing the public humanities project the applicant will undertake during their appointment, not to exceed 2,000 words. Please upload in the portal under “research statement.”

    This statement should describe the public humanities research project the applicant will undertake during the term of the fellowship; provide a clear articulation of the applicant’s community-based research questions; and explain how HWW’s guiding methodologies of reciprocity and redistribution will be applied to their proposed public humanities project.
  3. An academic CV, not to exceed 10 pages. Please upload in the portal under “CV.”
  4. Two letters of recommendation, to be uploaded via an automated email link. 

    One recommendation letter must be submitted by a dissertation advisor or another senior faculty member, the second may also be submitted by a faculty member or another professional reference. Please see the following section for more information about the submission of recommendation letters.

Application Deadline Details

Application materials can be submitted via the application portal

Applicants will be asked to create a password-protected account to which they can return. Please be certain that you clicked through to reach the final section of the application system and clicked “submit” to actively complete and submit your application.

We advise entering your recommenders’ names and emails early in the online application process. The application system will generate an email request for letters of recommendation to those referees whose names and emails you submit. Please note that you must enter your personal contact information in that section first before you can proceed to entering references’ information. Once this information is entered (and one clicks “continue” at the close of the reference-letter section), the designated referees should receive an email requesting their letters and containing a unique link at which they may be uploaded.

Please maintain communication with referees to ensure they are aware of the deadline and have received emails with upload links (note that these links will expire at the time of the deadline, and incomplete applications will not be considered).


    Applicants must have received their PhD in a humanities discipline within the past three years (i.e., after May 1, 2021) and must have their degree conferred by August of 2024. PhDs are the only terminal degree accepted.

    Only untenured scholars who have not held the title of “assistant professor” are eligible (visiting, non-tenure-line assistant professors are eligible); lecturers with indefinite appointments that renew (rather than terminate after a fixed term) are ineligible.

    PhD recipients of and current faculty members at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are not eligible to apply for this fellowship at UIUC, however they may apply for the parallel opportunity at Penn State

    Foreign nationals may apply; benefits eligibility is contingent upon meeting a “Substantial Presence Test,” as determined by IRS rules.


    Appointment begins August 16, 2024, and ends in May of 2026. Successful applicants must reside within 20 miles of the Champaign-Urbana campus during appointment period and must be on the Illinois campus by two business days before the start date for employment processing and orientation. This position carries an annual stipend of $62,500, $5,000 in research funds for the two years of appointment, and a modest moving allowance. A criminal background check will be conducted upon acceptance of a contingent offer.

    The University of Illinois System is an equal opportunity employer, including but not limited to disability and/or veteran status, and complies with all applicable state and federal employment mandates. Please visit Required Employment Notices and Posters to view our non-discrimination statement and find additional information about required background checks, sexual harassment/misconduct disclosures, COVID-19 vaccination requirement, and employment eligibility review through E-Verify.

    Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to apply and may request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (2008) to complete the application and/or interview process. Requests may be submitted through the reasonable accommodations portal, or by contacting the Accessibility & Accommodations Division of the Office for Access and Equity at 217-333-0885, or by emailing


    All applications will be acknowledged via email, and all applicants will be notified when the search has concluded in early Spring of 2024.

    Because of the volume of applications HWW/HRI receives, we are unable to answer questions about application research statements, such as whether the proposed project fits the subject rubric of the competition. The latter will be adjudicated by the selection committee.


    Questions about these fellowships or the application portal may be addressed to Peggy Brennan, Associate Director of HWW, at