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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Initiatives in the arts & humanities and social sciences

Earlier this academic year, I asked Associate Dean for Arts & Humanities Ana Paula Ferreira and Associate Dean for Social Sciences Penny Edgell to pilot initiatives in their corridors to experiment and boost the research and creative environment in the college. (The budget was the same across the corridors.) To date, two initiatives have been introduced in each corridor. Please contact the respective Associate Dean if you have any questions.

Associate Dean Ferreira provided support for two initial projects. The Theoretical Humanities Collective is led by Professor Cesare Casarino of the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature. Starting Spring 2017, the Collective sponsors a reading group, open to all interested graduate students, lecturers, and faculty, on the topic of "Political Ontology for the Present." The reading group will continue through Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 and will culminate in a two-day symposium with guest speakers in April 2018. The Environmental Humanities Initiative, led
by Professors Charlotte Melin (German, Scandinavian, and Dutch), Christine Marran (Asian Languages and Literatures), and Dan Philippon (English), anticipates the collaboration of faculty from more than twenty departments in CLA and other colleges at the U. It is intended to catalyze research, foster innovation in teaching, and enhance outreach. National and international speakers will be invited to campus across a two year period during which a highly visible and unique programmatic presence of the Environmental Humanities at Minnesota will be planned.

Associate Dean Edgell issued two calls for proposals for Spring 2017; the deadline for both is April 6. The first targets new initiatives to recruit and retain graduate students from underrepresented groups; this can involve recruitment-weekend activities but may focus on other kinds of activities. The second is a funding opportunity for seed money to enhance access to nationally-representative social science data -- for example, pilot money for small-scale research to make a grant application more competitive or money to buy into long-established national surveys. Under each call, 2-3 awards are likely with a cap of $10,000 each. If you have ideas for other kinds of pilot or small grant initiatives, please send a 1-paragraph summary of your idea to Tola Ou-Quinlan at ouxx0002@umn.edu, including examples of the kinds of activities the initiative might cover and a description of why the need is relevant across more than one department.