Postdoctoral Fellowships

The deadline for the Barra Postdoctoral Fellowships is November 3, 2023.
The deadline for the Sabbatical Fellowship is December 8, 2023.

The McNeil Center for Early American Studies expects to appoint two postdoctoral fellows for terms beginning in 2024. Each fellow will enjoy private office space in the Center’s building at the northeastern gateway to the University of Pennsylvania campus; library, computer, and other privileges at the university; and access to the Philadelphia area’s magnificent manuscript, rare book, and museum collections. Within the parameters described below, applications are welcome from scholars whose work focuses on any aspect of the histories and cultures of North America in the Atlantic world before 1850. Proposals reliant on research in Philadelphia-area archives, libraries, and museums are especially welcome.

The McNeil Center is strongly committed to the University of Pennsylvania’s Action Plan for Faculty Excellence and Diversity and to creating a more inclusive campus community, where all feel welcomed, supported, and have equal access to networks for mentoring and research. 

Barra Postdoctoral Fellowship 
(24 months, 2024–2026) 

Applications/Letters of Recommendation for Barra Postdoctoral fellowship must be submitted online by November 3, 2023.

This award is for a two-year term beginning 1 July 2024.
Applicants must have earned the PhD no earlier than 2020 in American History, American Literature, American Studies, or a closely allied field and must have completed all requirements for the degree when the appointment commences. If an applicant has extenuating circumstances that mean they earned their PhD earlier than 2020, but are still working on their first book project, they are welcome to apply with an explanation of these circumstances in their application materials. During the term of appointment, the fellow will teach two courses in an appropriate department at the University of Pennsylvania. The remainder of the fellow’s time will be devoted to research and writing. While this fellowship is particularly appropriate for projects designed to turn a doctoral dissertation into a publishable monograph, any proposal falling within the Center’s area of interest will be considered. Candidates who have received McNeil Center funding for a related project at the pre-doctoral stage are not eligible. The Barra Postdoctoral Fellow will receive a starting stipend of $65,000, health insurance, and modest funds for travel and research.
Barra Sabbatical Fellowship 
(9 months, 2024–2025) 

Applications/Letters of Recommendation for Barra Sabbatical fellowship must be submitted online by December 8, 2023.

This award is for a nine-month term beginning 1 September 2024. This fellowship is designed for a scholar in any relevant discipline who will be on leave from a tenured or tenure-track faculty position for the 2024–2025 academic year. Proposals will be entertained for book-length projects falling within the Center’s area of interest at any stage of research or writing, provided that the applicant has not previously received McNeil Center funding for the same or a closely related project. The fellow will have no teaching responsibilities but will be encouraged to provide informal mentoring to more junior members of the McNeil Center community while participating fully in the Center’s seminars and other activities. The award takes the form of a cash grant, paid directly to the fellow's home institution. The amount is negotiable, based on the assumption that the fellow will be receiving benefits and partial salary from the home institution.

Application Instructions

The following items for all three fellowships must be prepared for uploading as .pdf files: a curriculum vitae; a proposal not to exceed 1,500 words, double-spaced, describing the general scope of the project and the specific work proposed during the fellowship term; and an unpublished writing sample related to the project, double-spaced, limited to 7,500 words exclusive of notes.

Two confidential letters of support should be uploaded separately by the letter writers. Please ask recommenders to address the specifics of this application. Do not send generic letters from job placement dossiers. 

Questions may be directed to: 
The McNeil Center for Early American Studies 
University of Pennsylvania 
3355 Woodland Walk 
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4531