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Humanities Forum Grants

Call for Applications: Deadline TBA in March, 2018

Photovoice Project team - October 2016

1) Program Overview

The Humanities Forum at the University of Oklahoma awards up to five faculty grants of up to $5,000 each per year in support of research and other creative activities corresponding to the Forum’s interdisciplinary annual theme. The 2017-2018 Forum theme focuses on “Sovereignty in Performance, Poetics, and Politics.” The 2018-2019 Forum Grants theme will be announced in early spring 2018.

The Humanities Forum encourages faculty projects that are individual or collaborative, that create substantive intellectual exchange among a diverse group of scholars on multiple levels (locally, nationally, and globally), and that engage the “public square.” The grants support creative programs, projects, and events that contribute to a vibrant culture of arts and humanities at the University of Oklahoma.

Forum Grants function as seed money for projects that can lead to external funding proposals (both individual and institutional), and thus help advance the broader strategic trajectory of the humanities at OU. Recipients of Forum Grants can coordinate their external grant-related applications with CRPDE in the Office of the VPR.

Forum Grant recipients will be expected to participate actively in Humanities Forum events that focus on the Forum’s selected annual theme and to help build intellectual community for the arts and humanities at OU. 

2) 2017-2018 Forum Theme: Sovereignty in Performance, Poetics, and Politics: Call for Applications

The Humanities Forum invited individual and collaborative applications from members of the OU faculty for the Forum Grants’ new theme of “Sovereignty in Performance, Poetics, and Politics" (2017-2018). The application deadline is in March.

Up to five grants ($5,000 per project) are awarded per year to support the work of OU faculty members who are engaged in humanistic research on aspects of the annual theme. There are no discipline restrictions so long as the work fits solidly within a humanistic framework.

For 2017-2018 our focus will be on sovereignty, a term with a well-established history in the study of politics that has taken on new relevance for a wide array of humanistic concerns, from questions of cultural autonomy, national identity, and indigeneity in a post-colonial and transnational era, to intensely personal issues of identity, citizenship, and control over one’s body. We invited Forum Grant projects negotiating the performance, poetics, and politics of sovereignty in the following sample areas of enquiry:

  • changing concepts of statehood and supranational institutions;
  • boundaries and border control in the constitution of place;
  • discourses and materialities of sovereignty for displaced or dispossessed peoples;
  • sovereignty over the body, self-determination, and gender politics;
  • indigenous self-governance and cultural autonomy (e.g., in the stewardship of natural resources or sustainable food activism);
  • relations of sovereignty to authorship, intellectual property, and freedom of expression;
  • roles of media and technology in enforcing or destabilizing national sovereignty and cultural identity;
  • the interrelationship or conflict between artificial and organic conceptions of the state and of state authority;
  • staging or challenging state sovereignty through art, architecture, music, film, and literature.

The OU Humanities Forum is supported by the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the Office of the President, with additional support from the OU Libraries.

3) Eligibility

All regular OU faculty members (as per the Faculty Handbook 3.1.1) are eligible to hold a Forum Grant during regular teaching semesters, or during any paid leave (e.g., while on sabbatical or while being supported by a research grant). Forum Fellows may apply for a subsequent Forum Grant after an interval of two years.

4) Budget

Forum Grant proposals may cover up to $5,000, the maximum award for any single or collaborative project with up to three co-applicants. Budget items may include, but are not limited to: public humanities outreach, purchase of materials and research equipment, curriculum development, hosting an interdisciplinary workshop or speaker events at OU, archival research, a writing stipend, a summer research assistant, and other expenses associated with faculty projects in the arts and humanities. Co-applicants should specify how funds are to be apportioned between more than one department/unit. Applications for a Forum Grant may not include requests for course release. Submitted budget items are subject to review by the Humanities Forum Faculty Director and members of the Faculty Advisory Committee. Revisions to proposals and budgets may be requested prior to final funding decisions.

5) Proposal Preparation and Submission

Applicants should submit proposals by midnight on the specified annual deadline in March. The Application Portal allows proposals to be revised before the deadline. No late applications will be accepted, and no extensions will be granted. Before submitting an application, please see the FAQs page.

To apply for a Forum Grant project, please submit a proposal via the Application Portal as follows (parts I – IV as a single PDF file):

I. Cover page

a      Project title

b      Names and positions of OU project organizer(s)

c      Expected timetable of project

d      Confirmation of eligibility for Forum Grant

II. Proposal narrative, no longer than ten double-spaced pages of Times Roman 12-point type or equivalent, and with the following sections in this order:

a      Purpose of the project, including its pertinence to the annual Forum theme and its significance to the arts and humanities

b      Project design and details about the plan of work

c      Projected outcomes of the project (publication, digital materials, etc.); how the project will be promoted and publicized; and how the project relates to plans for future external funding applications         

d      How the results of the project will be evaluated

III. Itemized budget, including additional sources of funding for the project (secured, pending, or still to be solicited), no longer than two double-spaced pages.

IV. Abridged vitae of project organizer(s), no longer than four pages each.

6) Proposal Review Process

The Forum’s Faculty Advisory Committee review the proposals; and the recipients of the Humanities Forum Grants are announced in early April. Forum Grants start in August and run through the academic year.

7) Award Requirements

Fellows are full participants in the activities of the Humanities Forum during the academic year's tenure of their grant, with the following expectations:

a      A presentation on the Forum-supported research at a Fellows seminar; and a public event related to the Forum-supported project

b      Attendance at OU Humanities Forum events pertaining to the annual theme

c      A brief video interview focusing on the research project, to be included on OU promotional websites

d      A brief written summary explaining the Forum project for a general audience

e      A two-page report submitted to the Humanities Forum by the end of the grant period, including a summary of expenditures, activities, and outcomes

f      Acknowledgement of the Humanities Forum in all materials and products based on the Forum grant.

All funds awarded through the grant must be expended by the end of the academic year for which it is awarded.

For Further Information

Please consult the FAQs or contact Janet Ward, Professor of History and Faculty Director of the Humanities Forum (email:; phone 405-325-7021).