Mellon Sawyer Seminar Postdoctoral Fellow

Job description

Mellon Sawyer Seminar Postdoctoral Fellow

New Orleans, LA
Open Date:
Nov 15, 2020
Close Date:
Jan 4, 2021

Tulane University invites applications for a one-year postdoctoral fellow for 2021-2022 in conjunction with “Sites of Memory: New Orleans and Place-based Histories in the Americas,” an interdisciplinary John E. Sawyer Seminar funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The fellow will be affiliated with the Newcomb Art Department, and may choose to affiliate with relevant Tulane programs or centers, e.g., Africana Studies, Environmental Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. With the guidance of the Sawyer Seminar leaders, the Mellon Fellow will play a leading role in planning the seminar events, will participate in all activities associated with the Sawyer Seminar, and will teach a one-semester undergraduate course linked to the Sawyer Seminar topic. We are particularly interested in scholars whose work touches on history and site, public memory, monuments and memorialization, critical race theory, site specificity, and/or urban studies. Given the seminar’s comparative methodology and interdisciplinary scope, we welcome applicants from any discipline whose research intersects with the concerns of the seminar, and/or whose research spans multiple disciplines. 

This Sawyer Seminar aims to understand New Orleans as a case study in the broader context of post-colonial and former slavery-fueled economies in the Americas. Therefore, each session adopts a comparative framework that pairs sites in and around New Orleans with international analogues from elsewhere in the Americas, e.g. Congo Square in New Orleans and Valongo Wharf in Rio de Janeiro, or the Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana (the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw historical homeland) in comparison to Mi'kmaq nations in Canada’s Maritime Provinces. Sessions will ask how memory work rooted in New Orleans overlaps with memorialization happening in other former slavery-based economies, in other port cities, and in other immigrant hubs. How can viewing similar historical trajectories and sites of memory elsewhere allow us to understand New Orleans’s layered histories through a new lens? Building on Tulane’s strengths in interdisciplinary research and commitment to community-engaged scholarship, each seminar will be centered on a site visit in collaboration with a department or center at Tulane and a significant non-academic community partner, ensuring that varied disciplinary lenses and a variety of perspectives will come together for a transnational, comparative study of the layered mythologies of site.


Duties will include:

• Teach one upper-division undergraduate course related to the Sawyer Seminar topic. 

• Participate in coordinating Sawyer Seminar activities, including event planning, publicity, hosting visiting scholars, and on-site coordination.

• Write content for project website, blog, and other social media.

• Contribute to research and writing for the seminar.

• Engage with seminar participants and visiting scholars.

• Lead panel discussions and small group meetings.

• Conduct own research.


• Ph.D. in a humanities or humanistic social sciences discipline. 

• Evidence of a research agenda concerned with the Sawyer Seminar themes.

• Excellent writing and analytical skills; experience in writing for different purposes and a diversity of audiences, including but not limited to scholarly audiences.

• Strong interdisciplinary interests, skills, and experience.

• Flexibility, nimbleness, and creativity, with the ability to work both collaboratively and independently.

• Experience in project management and/or in organizing workshops, conferences, or events.

• Enthusiasm for working collaboratively with non-academic community partners.

Application Instructions:


Application Process:

The application must be submitted by January 4, 2021


Applications must include the following:

• Completed application form;

• Cover letter discussing how your research aligns with the theme of “Place-based Histories in the Americas” and your organizational experience, highlighting  your practice of interdisciplinary work, your interest in addressing multiple audiences, and/or your enthusiasm and openness to working with non-academic community partners;

• Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.


Candidates under final consideration will be asked to provide the following:

A description of a proposed upper-division undergraduate course related to the seminar theme.

Writing sample (no more than 8,000 words)

Research Statement

2 confidential letters of recommendation





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Job No:
Posted: 12/1/2020
Application Due: 1/5/2021
Work Type: Full Time