The Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography
In July 2017, Rare Book School received a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a new RBS program, the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography (press release). Building on the success of the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in Critical Bibliography, the Society has been formed for the purposes of advancing the study of texts, images and artifacts as material objects through capacious, interdisciplinary scholarship, and enriching humanistic inquiry and education by identifying, mentoring, and training promising early-career scholars. The Society’s members endeavor to integrate methods of critical bibliography into their teaching and research, to foster collegial conversations about historical and emerging media across disciplines and institutions, and to share their knowledge with broader publics.
Current RBS-Mellon Fellows have been invited to join the Society as Senior Fellows, responsible for the governance of the Society, for planning the Society’s annual meeting and other programs, and for recruiting and selecting Junior Fellows. The Mellon Foundation’s support will enable eight cohorts of Junior Fellows to join the Society over a period of ten years.
Overview of Fellowship Program
Each year, ten Junior Fellows are selected to join the Society through an open application process. After two years of membership in the Society, Junior Fellows in good standing become Senior Fellows. Program activities for Junior Fellows include:
- two Rare Book School courses: Fellows will study with Rare Book School’s distinguished international faculty during the School’s weeklong seminar-style courses, once per year for two years. During their courses, fellows will receive hands-on, expert instruction by RBS faculty on interpreting the material forms of textual artifacts, from medieval manuscripts and early American hand-press books to born-digital materials. In these 30-hour courses, fellows will have the opportunity to handle, analyze, and interpret materials from RBS’s c.80,000-item collection, from the University of Virginia’s Special Collections, and, in some cases, from the Library of Congress, Yale University, and other major special collections in the United States. One course, on the topic of descriptive, analytical, or textual bibliography, will be required; the other course will be chosen by fellows to suit their research interests. Fellows’ tuition for their two RBS courses will be waived by the fellowship.
- seminars on critical bibliography: Fellows will discuss bibliography and its potential place in humanities teaching and research during their cohort’s orientation and attendance at the SoFCB annual meeting. Fellows will continue to consider the questions raised during these seminars during their bibliography course at RBS. Fellows will receive travel support to attend the orientation at the University of Virginia.
- symposia on critical bibliography: Fellows will each be assigned $500 for use in hosting symposia on topics relating to critical bibliography. These symposia will enable fellows to invite distinguished scholars who are model practitioners of bibliography, book history, and related fields to enrich the ongoing critical conversations at their home institutions. Fellows will be encouraged to collaborate with each other and their local departments, centers, and programs in planning and hosting events.
- bibliographical field school: Fellows will be invited to attend one optional three-day “bibliographical field school,” a targeted visit to major special collections, antiquarian bookstores, conservation labs, auction houses, and private collections in New York City. The field school will be tailored to fellows’ research interests, and will provide them with opportunities to speak with leading professionals regarding resources pertinent to their research.
Eligibility and Application Process
The Society invites applications for the Junior Fellows program from early-career scholars and researchers from all fields, with preference given to first-time Rare Book School participants. We welcome applications from tenure track faculty, Ph.D. candidates, curators, librarians, those in postdoctoral research and teaching positions, and independent scholars. We ask that applicants be Ph.D. candidates or possess the terminal degree appropriate to their field (Ph.D., M.L.I.S., &c.). The Society especially encourages applications from individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, individuals from under-resourced institutions, and individuals working on topics currently underrepresented in the fields of book history and bibliography. Please read a letter of welcome from the Society’s Diversity & Outreach Committee and Council.
Applicants must be available for an orientation at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA on 23 and 24 May 2018. Applicants must commit to participating in two RBS courses: the first before 31 May 2019, and the second before 31 May 2020. One course must be on the topic of descriptive, analytical, or textual bibliography (i.e. drawn from the G-series courses); the other may be freely chosen from any section of the RBS course catalog. Please note that most RBS courses take place in June and July, so it is best to assume that course participation will happen in those months.
The following classes of applicants are not eligible for membership in the Society of Fellows: scholars who received their terminal degrees (Ph.D., M.L.I.S., &c.) ten or more years prior to the fellowship application deadline; students and faculty from institutions located outside the United States; tenured faculty; tenured scholarly professionals, and professionals hired at equivalent levels (e.g., full-time professional curators, associate directors of institutes, &c.); and individuals who have served on RBS’s full-time, year-round staff.
Participation in the fellowship program implies acceptance of the scholarship/fellowship Terms and Conditions. The 2017 application cycle is now closed. When finalists are notified in February 2018, they will be asked to complete a phone interview with the SoFCB Selection Committee and submit two applications for summer 2018 RBS courses as part of the final round of evaluation. We will announce the 2018–2020 SoFCB Junior Fellows in March 2018.
Statement on Diversity
We embrace all members of our extended community regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic background, political or institutional affiliation, and we are fully dedicated to diversifying our voices as we build this Society together. We invite you to read a statement of solidarity from the Society and its allies on the recent events in Charlottesville.
2017–18 Council of the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography
- President: Stephanie Ann Frampton (Associate Professor of Literature, MIT)
- Vice President: Dahlia Porter (Lecturer in English Literature and Material Culture, Glasgow University)
- Secretary: Joseph Howley (Associate Professor of Classics, Columbia University)
- Diversity & Outreach Committee Chair: Rhae Lynn Barnes (Postdoctoral Fellow, USC)
- Program Committee Chair: Caroline Wigginton (Assistant Professor of English, University of Mississippi)
- Selection Committee Chair: Elizabeth Yale (Lecturer in History, University of Iowa)
Committees of the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography
- Diversity & Outreach Committee: Rhae Lynn Barnes (Chair); John Garcia; Jeannie Kenmotsu; Marissa Nicosia; Aaron Pratt
- Program Committee: Caroline Wigginton (Chair); Hwisang Cho; Meghan Doherty; András Kiséry; Megan McNamee
- Selection Committee: Elizabeth Yale (Chair); Damian Fleming; Sonia Hazard; Yael Rice; Rhae Lynn Barnes (ex officio)
Advisory Board for the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography
- Ann Blair (Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor of History and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Harvard University)
- James Green (Librarian of the Library Company of Philadelphia)
- Charles Henry (President, Council on Library & Information Resources)
- Jerome McGann (John Stewart Bryan University Professor, University of Virginia)
- Patricia Meyer Spacks (Edgar Shannon Professor of English, Emerita, University of Virginia; past president of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Modern Language Association)