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NEH supports humanities scholars through new Omohundro Institute fellowship program

  • The Omohundro Institute, an independent research organization sponsored by William & Mary and Colonial Williamsburg, was awarded one of 13 recent grants funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) American Rescue Plan.
    The Omohundro Institute, an independent research organization sponsored by William & Mary and Colonial Williamsburg, was awarded one of 13 recent grants funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) American Rescue Plan.    
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The Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture (OI) will be doing its part to support humanities posts for underemployed scholars through a new fellowship program aimed at non-tenure-eligible scholars who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The OI, an independent research organization sponsored by William & Mary and Colonial Williamsburg, was awarded one of 13 recent grants funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) American Rescue Plan Humanities Grantmaking program. The grant program was formed to assist cultural and educational organizations and professionals in recovering from the financial impacts of the pandemic.

The OI’s NEH funding will support 16 short-term residential and nonresidential OI fellowships for contingent faculty and scholars in non-academic employment to pursue advanced research on American history and culture. Funds will be awarded as $5,000 per month research stipends to the fellowship recipients. Applications will be accepted online until November 1.

“The pandemic, which closed archives for research and stalled out an already stressed job market, has been extraordinarily challenging for emerging and junior scholars across disciplines,” said Cathy Kelly, interim executive director for the Omohundro Institute. “We are so grateful to be able to help support to early Americanists, whose work is crucial to our field’s continued vitality through the NEH’s grant.”

The fellowship program grew out of conversations with the OI community, as well as many others across the early American field, Kelly explained.

“We have known for a while that junior scholars who are grappling with structural changes in the job market and the profession need more flexibility in fellowship support. Discussions with our colleagues made clear that in the context of the pandemic, the need for direct research support is especially urgent among contingently-employed scholars and those working outside the academy,” she said.

The OI was established by William & Mary and Colonial Williamsburg in 1943 and has since grown into the nation’s leading scholarly organization dedicated to historical research on all aspects of early America.

“NEH is pleased to work with thirteen exceptional grantmaking organizations to distribute American Rescue Plan funding to humanities professionals and cultural and educational institutions suffering financial hardship as a result of the pandemic,” said NEH Acting Chairman Adam Wolfson. “Their specialized knowledge of specific humanities disciplines, professions, and sectors will ensure that these relief funds reach those most in need of assistance, and strengthen the nation’s humanities infrastructure by investing in forward-looking programs and initiatives that contribute to a robust, resilient, and inclusive humanities sector.”