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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 sciences 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 2023 (October 10th, November 7th, and December 5th) and three times in the spring of 2024 (in January, February, and March, exact dates to be announced). These 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. Fellows will also take part in the annual Maynard Adams Symposium for the Humanities (featuring the distinguished Northwestern University philosopher Cristina Lafont on April 19th – 20th).

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 2023-2024 cohort of fellows, projects should be completed no later than August 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: Previous Adams Fellows from the Department of Philosophy may apply for the position of Senior Adams Fellow. CPH may 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.

Additional Opportunities: Interested graduate students may also consider applying for the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies Fellowship in the Public Humanities. The fellow in this special role will join the Adams Fellows for meetings and work with support staff at both CPH and the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies to complete a public project. For more information, please contact Alaa Hammouda at

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 by August 2024. Senior Adams Fellows will receive a stipend of $2,500. 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 at UNC 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 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.
  3. A statement from the applicant (up to 1,200 words or two single-spaced pages) that:
    1. Describes their interest in links between the humanities and public issues, why and how they think humanists and artists should engage with public audiences, and how they see this issue playing into their long-term career.
    2. Describes a program that the applicant envisions as a possible in-person or virtual public humanities project. This description could become the framework for a project in the coming year. Strong programmatic proposals will include specific details and may identify potential on- and off-campus partners (including, for example, a collaboration with a public school, museum, or other institution). Applicants are encouraged to consider innovative approaches and new formats for public outreach.
    3. 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.

Applicant Selection Process: Applications are due by 5:00 PM on Monday September 11th, 2023; the applicant’s CV and statement of interest should be emailed as a pdf attachment to Dr. Joanna Flynn 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 Wednesday, September 20th 2023.

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.

Download a printable version of the application