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2022-23 Fellowship for UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate Students
“The Maynard Adams Fellows for the Public Humanities”

            Carolina Public Humanities (CPH) is pleased to announce the continuation of a fellowship for graduate students in the humanities, arts, and social sciences: “The Maynard Adams Fellowship for the Public Humanities.”  This fellowship honors the distinguished philosopher Maynard Adams (1919-2003), who was a long-time professor at UNC-Chapel Hill and a prominent advocate for the value of the humanities in public life and in public education. He also strongly supported the creation of Carolina Public Humanities, which was established in 1979 to foster faculty engagement with people outside the University and throughout North Carolina. The Maynard Adams Fellowships, made possible by a generous gift from the Taylor Charitable Trust, exemplify this mission and stress the value of the humanities for well-informed participation in contemporary democratic society.

Duties and Benefits of the Fellowship Recipients: Ten fellows will be selected from disciplines in the humanities, fine arts, and social studies in which public engagement is important for graduate education and future careers. The Adams Fellows will join an interdisciplinary graduate workshop that will meet three times in the fall of 2022 (in October, November, and early December) and three times in the spring of 2023 (in February, March, and April). Our October meeting will take place on October 11th, and will include a discussion of the ideas of Maynard Adams and the goals of the public humanities, and our March meeting will be part of the annual Maynard Adams Symposium for the Humanities on March 24-25 (featuring the distinguished CUNY philosopher Miranda Fricker). Our other meetings may include group outings to humanistic events, discussions with public humanists, and other activities aimed at providing rigorous professional development in publicly-engaged scholarship. Fellows’ workload outside of meetings will be minimal (e.g. pre-circulated essays, podcasts, video clips, etc.), and meetings will typically include a shared meal. In addition to participating in our six fellowship meetings, each fellowship recipient will be expected to develop a public outreach project or event. To facilitate the planning for these projects, fellowship recipients will workshop their ideas with the CPH Associate Director for State Outreach, Joanna Sierks Smith. For the 2022-2023 cohort of fellows, projects should be completed no later than May 2024. Upon completion, fellows will be asked to submit brief (2 page) reports on their projects in order to reflect on successes, challenges, and lessons learned about publicly engaged scholarship.

Senior Fellows: There will also be an opportunity for previous Adams Fellows from the Department of Philosophy to apply for the position of Senior Adams Fellow. CPH will appoint up to 2 senior fellows, who will participate in regular fellowship meetings while also serving as mentors to first-time fellows. To learn more about this mentoring role, please contact CPH.

Stipend:  Each Adams Fellow for the Public Humanities will receive a stipend of $2,000 (payable in two distributions) for participating in monthly workshop meetings, attending the Adams Symposium in the spring, and developing a public project or event, and each will also receive an additional $250 stipend upon submission of a final project report. Senior Adams Fellows will receive a stipend of $2,500. There are no fees for meals and there are no required papers, but Adams Fellows will be required to attend all meetings, develop a public project, and submit a brief final project report.

Application Guidelines: Applicants must have completed at least one year of graduate study in a discipline that includes scholarship and teaching in the humanities, social sciences and/or arts. Outside of applicants for the role of Senior Fellow, graduate students are only able to hold this fellowship for one year. Although philosophy will be one of the important fields, candidates in other disciplines are strongly encouraged to apply. The following application materials are required:

  1. The applicant’s current CV.
  2. A statement from the applicant (up to 1,200 words or two single-spaced pages) that describes (1) why and how she/he/they has an academic interest in links between the humanities and public issues, or (2) why and how she/he/they thinks humanists and artists should engage with public audiences, or (3) why and how she/he/they plans to pursue a career with humanistic themes outside academia. Applicants may address any or all of these three themes in their statements. Applicants for a Senior Adams Fellowship should also reflect on their previous work as an Adams Fellow and explain their interest in helping others to develop public humanities projects.

In addition to this summary of interests and themes, the two-page application statement should briefly describe an outreach activity or event that the applicant envisions as a possible in-person or online public humanities project.  This description could become the framework for a project in the coming year (including, for example, a collaboration with a community college, public school, museum or other institution).  Applicants are encouraged to consider innovative approaches and new formats for public outreach.

  1. A one-page letter from the applicant’s graduate advisor, explaining why the Adams Fellowship for the Public Humanities would be valuable for the candidate and how this applicant might contribute to the workshop’s activities.

Applicant Selection Process: Applications are due by 5:00 PM on Tuesday, September 6, 2022; the applicant’s CV and statement of interest should be emailed as a pdf attachment to Dr. Joanna Sierks Smith at Carolina Public Humanities ( The letter from the faculty advisor should be submitted separately by the professor as a pdf attachment to the same email address. The Adams Fellowship Selection Committee will include faculty from various departments, and the Fellowship recipients will be announced by Friday, September 23, 2022.

Carolina Public Humanities helps to create a more humane world by fostering dialogues and new insights that emerge from the humanities. Our programs connect UNC scholars and people across North Carolina through collaborations with museums, bookstores, libraries, K-12 teacher workshops, community colleges, and other community organizations.

Please share this information widely with graduate students and faculty.