The Institute for the Humanities is a partner in the multi-institutional Early Modern Conversions project. The full title of the project is “Early Modern Conversions: Religions, Cultures, Cognitive Ecologies.” The Conversions project will develop an historical understanding that will enlighten modern debates about corporeal, sexual, psychological, political, and spiritual kinds of transformation. It will identify, analyze, and theorize how and why early modern Europeans changed their confessional, social, political, gender, and sexual identities. These changes were of a piece with intellectual, political, and material transformations in their world—the geopolitical reorientation of Europe in light of emerging relations with Islam and the Americas; the translation and appropriation of the knowledge of Greek and Latin Antiquity, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam; changes in and changing uses of the built environment, including the growth of cities and nation states; the development of science and technology; the reimagining of one’s relationship to God and to the church.
Graduate students working on projects that correspond to some aspect of Conversions are invited to apply for the EMC graduate fellowship for the 2015-16 year. Students from all disciplines and historical periods are welcome to apply.
The project is funded by a large grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRH) and directed by Paul Yachnin, director of the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas at McGill University in Montreal. It brings together participants from McGill and Michigan, as well as other partner institutes and arts organizations in Canada, the United States, England, and Australia, all of them contributing some form of funding and/or cost-sharing. Project participants are scholars, artists, performers and graduate students from the Partner institutions. At Michigan, Steven Mullaney (English) and Valerie Traub (English and Women’s Studies) are co-participants; George Hoffmann (French) and Hussein Fancy (History) are active collaborators and members of the U-M steering committee. Sidonie Smith serves on the project advisory board.
The Institute for the Humanities has committed significantly to the funding of the Early Modern Conversions project. The institute will host the 2016 summer Conversions team meeting and the 2016 summer seminar to be taught by Paul Yachnin and Steven Mullaney. The institute has also committed to supporting one graduate student fellowship per year for three years, starting in Fall 2014. (This Early Modern Conversions fellowship is in addition to the graduate fellowships regularly offered.)
Applicants will follow the guidelines for all IH graduate fellowship applications. In addition to submitting the requisite material for fellowship applications, they should submit a one-page single-spaced statement situating their work within the context of the Early Modern Conversions project. Applications for the Early Modern Conversions Graduate Fellowship will be vetted in the pool with other applicants for graduate fellowships, in consultation, as needed, with UM faculty affiliated with the Conversions project.