CFP: Humanities Laboratories, beginning Fall 2018

Deadline: February 5, 2018

Interested in applying? Join us for an info session at 12pm on Friday, January 19, in the Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall (C105, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse).

The Franklin Humanities Institute is soliciting proposals for a new Humanities Lab, or two new Labs, to begin in the 2018-19 academic year. At least one Lab will have an international, transnational, global, pre-national, oceanic, or planetary focus. The new Labs will receive funding for 2-3 years (contingent on successful annual reviews).

We invite proposals in which the Lab theme is articulated in ways that explain why the Lab model will be an important advantage for you and the primary collaborators in your research. In their first seven years, the FHI Labs have emphasized the “vertical integration” of research, starting with faculty and drawing in graduate students and undergraduates. Faculty research interests remain the main focus of this current call for new Lab proposals. While we encourage you to conceive new courses that may be taught in the labs and to envision other pedagogical interfaces, your proposal should emphasize faculty collaborative research in the humanities around a theme, a geographical area, a historical period, a case study, text, a movement, a paradigm, or an object of your choosing. We encourage proposals from faculty across three or more departments (and/or institutes) and ideally from more than one school.  We also welcome collaborations with journalists, artists, curators, designers, translators, architects, writers, activists, musicians, and other intellectuals who bring humanistic expertise to engagements with a variety of publics.

Support for the Labs

The Lab will be provided with of $50,000 in funding annually. A successful proposal for a Lab with a global focus will receive some additional funding to defray costs associated with potential international collaboration. The Lab’s budget should cover both the cost of both core operations and programming. A Lab’s operations budget may include faculty course releases (limited to a maximum of two courses per lab per year and no more than one course per person, contingent on Department Chair and Divisional Dean approval), graduate assistantships, undergraduate salaries, student staff assistance with programming, short residencies from visiting associates of the lab, and associated costs. Programming budget would cover visiting speakers, public events, Lab research projects, and related expenditures. The Lab is provided with a space designed to foster collaboration and to multiply learning opportunities through exposure to the diversity of approaches to a coherent field of engagement: Lab faculty and students use this as a home base for activity connected to the Lab mandate.

The FHI offers administrative support in the following areas: budget and financial transactions, lab payroll, multimedia communications, facilities, computer/ technology maintenance, occasional videography, and web and digital humanities consultations. Humanities labs are requested to handle their own event and program logistics through graduate or part-time staff assistance, in coordination with the FHI staff.


Each Humanities Lab proposal should identify two to three regular-rank (tenured/tenure track, PoP, and Research) faculty members who will serve as the Lab’s co-directors, and two to three additional core faculty affiliates. The co-directors can be comprised of faculty from the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences, or humanities/arts/interpretive social sciences faculty along with faculty from other Schools. Affiliated faculty may be drawn from Arts and Sciences as well as Duke’s professional schools, other University Institutes, the Library, or the Nasher Museum. To avoid over-commitment of junior faculty time and effort, no more than one Lab co-director should be at the Assistant rank.

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals should include the following components:

  • A 2 to 3-page narrative of the Lab project: its research objectives, and how these relate to the faculty conveners’ on-going scholarly  practice; its potential intersections with other disciplines, schools, and Duke programs, including programs at other global sites; its intended fields of impact and how this impact will be assessed.
  • A list of 3-4 possible structures for research participation and other learning opportunities for students and how you plan to implement them. Please see possible models in the “FHI Humanities Lab in Practice” document for reference.
  • A list of faculty participants (co-directors and core affiliates). Co-directors must sign the proposal.
  • An outline of the budget categories in which the lab plans to use its $50,000 annual funding. Please indicate any additional funds that the Lab will be able to draw upon (e.g. through existing projects and grants) or plans to raise funds from external or other Duke sources.
  • Additional materials:
    • Approval letters from the appropriate Department Chair and Divisional Dean for any Lab faculty member intending to request a course release.
    • Letters of support from the Department Chair and Divisional Dean for Lab co-director at the Assistant rank.

Complete proposal should be submitted electronically to by February 5, 2017. Approval/support letters from Chairs and Deans may be submitted separately to the same email address.

Questions? Please email FHI Associate Director Christina Chia at