2020-21: CFA—The Anthropocene, Environment, and Modernity

Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society (CCHS)

2020-21: CFA—The Anthropocene, Environment, and Modernity


Bingham Faculty Fellows Program Call for Applications 2020-21

The Commonwealth Center for Humanities and SocietyFaculty Fellows program is organized around an annual theme that provides the foundation for the academic year's scheduled events and for a Humanities Research Lab, involving a bimonthly colloquium. The theme for the 2020-21 academic year will be The Anthropocene, Environment, and Modernity.

The term "Anthropocene" has recently gained increasing traction, since it was popularized by Paul Crutzen in 2000. For those who accept its use, it defines a geological era in which humankind has become the dominant force shaping the planet's environment and climate. Within the Humanities, some wish to push the beginnings of the Anthropocene back to the Industrial Revolution; within the social and natural sciences, its beginnings may be located elsewhere, including the dawn of the nuclear age, or as far back as the rise of agriculture; or the very idea of the Anthropocene may be challenged, with environmentalists and geologists most notably being at odds over use of the term. “Modernity,” meanwhile, implies historical processes marked by significant change, including in both human and nonhuman environments, and producing or constituting a set of conditions under which “the Anthropocene” becomes possible. 

The linked terms “Anthropocene, “environment,” and “modernity” allow for a breadth of responses on topics related to the impact of humankind on our environment and to the terms themselves. Theoretical, empirical, historical, sociocultural, and creative approaches to these concepts are all welcome.

The Commonwealth Center for Humanities and Society invites applications for up to six CCHS Internal Faculty Fellows around the selected theme for 2020-2021, The Anthropocene, Environment, and Modernity:

  • Fellows are required to be in residence during the academic year, to present one lecture or one workshop on their research, and to participate regularly in the activities and organization of the Humanities Research Lab while completing their own research projects.
  • Fellows will play a role in shaping CCHS programming for the academic year, from inviting distinguished guest speakers to finding innovative ways to share scholarship with our arts and culture partners in the community.
  • Fellows will receive one course release.
  • Fellows will receive a supplemental research/travel stipend from CCHS estimated at $1,500.

Applications are due Monday, December 16th, 2019, and require a current CV, a proposal of up to 1,000 words describing the project to be pursued while a Fellow, and a brief letter of support from the faculty member’s department chairperson that guarantees the one course release and comments on the substance of the application.

Please email all materials to the CCHS Director, Alan Golding, . Fellows will be appointed by the Dean, as recommended by the CCHS Advisory Board, and will be named in January 2020.

CCHS seeks to create an intellectually diverse group of faculty fellows who will benefit from conducting their research in a multidisciplinary setting. Fellowships are open to all tenured and tenure-track A&S faculty engaged in humanistic scholarship. CCHS Advisory Board members are not eligible to apply.

The CCHS theme provides the rubric for the Humanities Research Lab. While the theme needn’t be the explicit topic of all research proposals, it is expected that Fellows will position themselves to contribute substantively to scholarly discussion of the theme.

The Humanities Research Lab will be held twice monthly on the second and fourth Friday (typically at 12:00, with lunch provided) and run as a colloquium.