ABOUT THE PROGRAM
In 2019, Hunter College received a substantial grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation to create advanced research opportunities for promising undergraduate students in public humanities. In 2022, the program was renewed for the next three academic years.
We are looking for students who have demonstrated exceptional potential in their classes. There is no minimum GPA requirement. All currently enrolled students who have earned over 60 credits at the time of application are eligible to apply; students must have earned at least 15 credits in Hunter classes. By the time they enroll, they must have earned 75 credits. The program is for students who will be registered in classes during the 2024-25 academic year. Students who will have graduated before May 2025 are not eligible to receive the grant.
Public humanities is an evolving interdisciplinary field and set of practices that draw on humanistic modes of inquiry to help address pressing concerns in the public sphere and open new avenues of civic engagement. Each grant project should have both a clearly identifiable academic dimension (a question of limited scope that can be reasonably addressed in a research or policy paper) and a public outreach dimension.
Students should aim to have their ideas reach beyond the college setting. Some examples of outreach include working with Los Deliveristas Unidos, an collective of app-based delivery workers advocating for worker protections, and publishing an article in The Village Voice shadowing a delivery worker’s daily job experience, directing a queer production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, organizing a public talk with Concerned Clergy for Choice on the complex relationship between religion and abortion and on access to abortion in the U.S., creating a website to map the literary narratives of various immigrant experiences in NYC, organizing and moderating a panel of researchers with the New York Public Library to discuss the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s labor in the U.S., creating a podcast to interview and document NYC black restauranteurs’ stories, and giving talks at music teaching professional development conferences to inform educators on best practices for teaching music to visually impaired students.
The term “social justice” suggests a concern for equal rights, equal opportunity and equal treatment both under the law and in the social sphere more broadly. A social justice orientation in a research project or in public outreach involves seeking to better understand or ameliorate an area of inquiry or a social situation in which there are significant inequalities—in income; in access to education, employment or housing; in the quality of the environment; owing to social class, race, ethnicity, religious expression, sexual orientation, gender expression; immigration status. Not all public humanities scholars need to deal with this nexus of issues directly in their research project, but the student might, in their application, consider how their project might engage them in their public outreach.
Students will be assigned individual faculty mentors and will meet and correspond regularly with them to discuss their projects. They will be able to present and share their research in public humanities symposia and outside conferences.
Yes. If you're already working on an honors thesis or independent study, you can also explore this in the Mellon grant as long as there is an academic dimension and a public outreach dimension to your proposed MPHSJ project.
Students who satisfactorily complete both the research essay and public outreach components will earn $4,000. There is also funding for supplies, equipment and materials related to outreach. Faculty mentors will also receive funding for working with students on their research.
Students’ intensive research and seminar participation might serve as a springboard for graduate studies (MA or PhD), or it might help pave the way for careers in the arts or in public affairs.
While it is expected that a majority of MPHSJ scholars will choose to apply to graduate school, it is not a precondition for applying for or accepting the award.