Postdoctoral Fellowship at UIC’s Social Justice Initiative

Postdoctoral Fellowship at UIC’s Social Justice Initiative

Call for Postdoctoral Fellowship Applications


Social Justice Initiative

University of Illinois at Chicago


The Social Justice Initiative (SJI) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) invites applications for a one-year postdoctoral fellowship as part of the 2016-2017 Sawyer Seminar on “Geographies of Justice: A Scholarly and Public Dialogue Series about the Contested Terrain and Meaning of Freedom in the late 20th and 21st Century World.”


Funded by the Mellon Foundation, the Sawyer Seminar will bring together a diverse and interdisciplinary group of scholars, as well as public intellectuals and community activists, to look at three sites of political and intellectual contestation: apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa, Palestine/Israel since 1967, and the U.S. Black Freedom Movement since 1960. The seminar will explore struggles for freedom and justice and consider what scholars, activists, and artists can learn from one another across national borders and other divides. We will organize our inquiry around four axes: 1) Prisons, police, security and violence, 2) Wealth disparity, economics and labor rights, 3) Education, pedagogies, and epistemologies in flux, and 4) Art as protest and as a space for imagining alternatives.


The postdoctoral fellowship is a one-year position with a start date of August 16, 2016. The recipient is expected to be in residence during the time of the fellowship, to actively participate in the Seminar, and to contribute in some tangible way consistent with the fellow’s research interests to the overall work of the Social Justice Initiative at UIC. We understand that contributions could take many forms and ask applicants to review the Sawyer Seminar grant proposal and SJI’s website to identify a potential contribution to be outlined in 1-2 paragraphs in their cover letter. Potential contributions include, but are not limited to the following: developing a bibliography or compiling an anthology corresponding with the themes and topics of the seminar, coordinating an exhibition of photos and documents, maintaining a seminar blog, or teaching a course. An abbreviated version of the grant proposal will be available on SJI’s website.


We seek an outstanding candidate in the social sciences or humanities whose work focuses on at least one of the three sites of contestation and addresses at least one of the four axes of struggle that we will discuss. Applicants in Art, Art History or Museum Studies will be considered if their work intersects significantly with the humanities or social sciences. To be eligible, applicants must have completed a PhD by August 2016 but not before December 1, 2013.


The deadline for applications is December 1, 2015. Applications should include: a cover letter that explains how your work will contribute to the Sawyer Seminar, a curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation (including one from a dissertation advisor), and a writing sample (no more than 30 pages). Send materials to Emily Williams at


The postdoctoral fellowship will provide a stipend of $55,000.00 along with benefits. The fellowship also provides opportunities for mentoring from UIC faculty, writing in a stimulating environment, and interaction with scholars from UIC as well as Sawyer Seminar participants from across the world.

UIC is a Carnegie Doctoral/Research Extensive University located in the heart of one of the nation’s most vibrant and diverse global cities. It is a comprehensive public research university with a diverse student body of more than 25,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. SJI foregrounds a critically important part of our mission, “…to create knowledge that transforms our views of the world and, through sharing and application, transforms the world…”


The Principal Investigator for the seminar is Professor Barbara Ransby. Questions about the fellowship can be directed to Emily Williams at The position is subject to budgetary approval. The University of Illinois at Chicago is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer, dedicated to the goal of building a culturally diverse pluralistic faculty and staff committed to teaching in a multicultural environment. We strongly encourage applications from women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and covered veterans.