Summer Provost Doctoral Internship: Digital Publics @ the FHI

Summer Provost Doctoral Internship, Digital Publics

Deadline: April 21, 2021

The John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute seeks applications for a Summer Provost Doctoral Internship on an emerging project in Digital Publics. This project seeks to activate humanities “content” from the FHI’s extensive video and essay collections for growing online audiences of cultural, social, and historical analysis. Wide-ranging and broadly interdisciplinary, the FHI archives are particularly strong in critical race studies, world art and culture, health humanities, and environmental humanities. The internship carries a standard stipend of $6,500 for 3 months. At least one position is available, possibly two depending on funding and level of applicant interest.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted through April 14 via the Provost summer Internship central site. You MUST apply through the Provost site for consideration. Please be sure to review the "FAQ for the Summer 2021 Provost internships for Duke Ph.D. students" for eligibility, compensation, etc. You will find a list of other internship opportunities on the site: each student is allowed to apply for up to 2 positions. If you apply to 2 positions, be sure to submit a separate application for each. You will be asked to provide the following:

  •     a letter of application
  •     a brief CV (2 page maximum)
  •     a letter of support from the department DGS, indicating how the proposed virtual/remote internship will enhance your intellectual trajectory

About the Internship

In the US, the strains and tumults of the past year have led to a surge of public interest for informed analysis of “big questions” such as democratic culture, work life and home life, the ever-shifting forms and legacies of racism, etc. In this context, humanistic scholarship, concepts, and modes of interpretation seem to have attained a new level of currency. Terminology that might once have been regarded (or indeed dismissed) as academic jargon – “structural racism” and “intersectionality” to take just two – now has a foothold in public discourse. (In one striking example of this apparent new receptivity, Teen Vogue recently ran an article on the philosopher Achille Mbembe’s concept of “necropolitics” in relation to the pandemic.) The shift of academic work (and ordinary social life) into online spaces also means that more and more scholars are experimenting with new modes of digital engagement and reaching wider audiences through Zoom events, videos, podcasts, newsletters, syllabi, reading lists, think pieces, and more.

The FHI will look to the Digital Public intern(s) to help us better understand these new, or newly expanded, public vistas for the humanities and interpretive social sciences, as well as to craft a creative strategy in response. Assuming a roughly 12-week duration, we envision 3 core tasks for the intern(s): 

  • First 4 weeks: Conduct data-informed, qualitative research on who’s consuming this “new humanities content” (e.g. by education, age, national location, or other demographic markers); how deeply they are engaging with it; on what platforms do deeper/more extended engagements tend to take place, etc. Given the limited time frame, we will work with the intern to focus on specific topics and types of material, based on mutual interests. The Intern(s) will also begin familiarizing themselves with FHI digital content.
  • Second 4 weeks: Generate a set of recommendations for the FHI on how best to mobilize our extensive video archives (including episodes of Left of Black, which shifted productions to the FHI in 2019) and essay collections for the audiences and modes of engagement identified through the research conducted in (1). Crucial to this part of the internship will be conversations with the Director, Associate Director, and other staff on FHI intellectual priorities and general communications strategies.  
  • Final 4 weeks: Design and implement a pilot project based on one or more strategic recommendations outlined in (2), in close consultation with FHI Associate Director and other FHI staff. 

We’re looking for doctoral students in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences who have experience researching digital culture and writing for/engaging with online audiences on scholarly or critical topics. Ability to connect and synthesize ideas across the FHI’s broadly interdisciplinary video and essay collections is also important. The ideal intern(s) will combine their own interests creatively with the institutional and intellectual priorities of the FHI. Depending on the generativity of the internship this summer, the position may be extended into the regular school year.

Questions? Email FHI Associate Director Christina Chia.