Immersive Dissertation Research Fellowship

This innovative, competitive two-term research fellowship supports Humanities dissertation projects that involve substantial professional development and will likely result in dissertation formats other than the conventional proto-monograph. Ph.D. students are expected to embed themselves within, or otherwise collaborate intensively with, institutions or communities as part of their Ph.D. research. They will develop professional networks beyond higher education and be empowered to consider innovative dissertation formats. Such dissertation projects might, for example, center on ethnographic research in non-academic settings; participant-observer fieldwork; collaborations with museums or historical sites; structural and institutional analysis of cultural entities; the creation of crossover academic-lay texts that have public benefits or are directed toward the public good; community-based writing that aims to improve local conditions through research and expository writing. 

The Fellowship carries a competitive stipend and a tuition scholarship for the duration of the fellowship. These fellowships also come with access to professional development funds to support eligible costs (professional presentations, extra-mural professional development opportunities, costs related to dissertation project). Fellows are expected to engage in full-time dissertation research during the period of their fellowship. No additional duties will be required or permitted. See the immersive dissertation research fellowship flyer (PDF).

2022-2023 Fellows

S. Brook CorfmanTo support the argument that writing and art can make possible gender and gender change, rather than simply report it, S. Brook Corfman (English) is studying the practices and products of a group of trans artists. As part of this work, Corfman will continue to collaborate with the Greer Lankton archive at the Mattress Factory Museum and will create significant series of poems exploring Lankton’s work and legacy as part of the dissertation “All Trans People are Artists, All Artists are Poets.”


Luana Moreira ReisThrough her exploration of poetic and cultural productions in Brazil, Luana Moreira Reis (Hispanic Languages and Literatures) emphasizes a commitment to social justice and collective change in her dissertation, “A poesia é meu quilombo: Black Feminist Poetics of Insurgency.” She will continue to collaborate with the Kilomba Collective and ADDverse+Poesia and to showcase the results of her analysis and critical work through original poetry. In summer 2021, she worked with the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in a Humanities Engage Administrative Micro-internship.


Ilhan Ozan

In his dissertation “Exhibiting Contemporaneity: Turkish Art in International Biennials, 1955-92,” İlhan Ozan (History of Art and Architecture) examines the artistic and curatorial development of contemporary Turkish art as it was staged in international exhibitions and uses digital humanities methodologies to investigate art biennials as important sites within the global dynamics of the Cold War geopolitics. His public-facing research outcomes include a network graph with access to the historical materials and a museum exhibition, potentially with SALT.

Mathew Tembo (Music) examines shifts in Zambia’s music labor, from the 1990s when proto-Zed Beats (Zambia’s pop) emerged, that have continued to shape, reshape and influence production. Tembo’s project also highlights musicians navigating their musicianship as they strive to stay relevant in Zambia's mostly Zed Beats-dominated music economy. To ensure that his ethnographic research is accessible to the Zambian music community, he will film his dissertation in form of a documentary, broadcasting five episodes on Flava TV, Zambian Music Blog, and Mwebantu. He was a summer 2020 Humanities Engage Pitch Your Own Immersive Fellow


2021-2022 Fellows

Brittney KnottsFor her dissertation, “Keywords, Practices, and Products of the Twenty-First Century Girl Coder,” Brittney Knotts (English) seeks to historicize and understand the emergence and significance of 21st century “girl coders” locally and nationally. As part of this work, she will extend her partnerships with community sites, such as The Ellis School and Assemble, to do ethnographic work that is useful and legible to them. She was a Humanities Engage 2020-2021 Pitch Your Own Immersive Fellow.


Manuel RoblesManuel Robles (History) seeks to illuminate how Mexico went from largely ignoring its Afrodescendant population to recognizing it as an integral part of the nation in his dissertation, “Black Inclusion: Afro-Mexicans and the International Struggle for Recognition, 1974-2020.” He will collaborate with the Asociación de Mujeres de la Costa de Oaxaca (AMCO) to produce a short documentary film and develop educational infographics emphasizing women’s roles in this history, which will be presented in local schools and communities.


Celena TodoraIn her dissertation “Rhetorical Imaginaries of Liberation within Anti-Liberatory Spaces: Liberatory Rhetoric in Prison Education,” Celena Todora (English) will examine liberatory rhetoric in contexts, such as scholarship, pedagogy, and community organizing, within the field of prison education. She will conduct ethnographic research with the local abolitionist organization Let’s Get Free (LGF) and will produce multimodal and public-facing work. She was a Humanities Engage 2020-2021 Pitch Your Own Immersive Fellow.


2020-2021 Fellows

Samuel BoatengDrawing on both ethnographic and historical methods, Samuel Boateng (Music)’s dissertation project, “Jazz Sustainability in Ghana: Performance, Space, and Representation in Urban Africa,” is a multi-disciplinary and multi-sited work that focuses on three geographic locations – Ghana, the United States, and Britain – in order to assess the impact of Ghanaian musicians on the development, performance, and meanings of jazz beyond America’s borders. He is working with the Institute of African Studies to update Adepa Jazz Collection (AJC) documents and is completing a documentary film.


Alyssa QuintanillaIn her dissertation “A Matter of Waste and Bodies: Life, Death, and Materiality in the United States-Mexico Borderlands 1990 to the Present,” Alyssa Quintanilla (English) uses literary representations and digital art to examine how concepts of waste are applied not just to the items border crossers leave behind, but to their bodies, leading to the diminishment of their voices, experiences, and deaths. She created Vistas de la Frontera, a digital memorial that captures some of the places where migrants’ bodies have been recovered.