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Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Plant Humanities Initiative

Application Deadline: December 15, 2018

In September 2018, Dumbarton Oaks received a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop, in partnership with JSTOR, an innovative digital tool and scholarly programming to expand the field of Plant Humanities. Plants offer remarkable opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and research due to their global mobility and historical significance to human cultures. They are equally important to fields as diverse as medicine, the history of science, environmental studies, and art history, while having potential for visually engaging storytelling as a means of accessing cutting-edge scholarship. The Plant Humanities Initiative will pilot a new model for integrating digital humanities with scholarly programming that has three main goals: (a) to provide innovative research and professional development opportunities for early-career humanists; (b) to create a digital platform that is deeply informed by the insights and needs of both teachers and students as well as librarians and technical experts; and (c) to supplement existing digitized resources with new primary source material, curate and contextualize this content, and disseminate it to advance the emerging field of Plant Humanities.

To support the Plant Humanities Initiative, we seek to make an appointment through June 30, 2021, of a Postdoctoral Fellow with demonstrated subject expertise in garden and landscape studies or the history of science; experience of work with rare book or archival collections, and a commitment to the digital humanities. The Fellow will research and identify specific areas for further study and digitization in the rare book collection; produce content for the digital tool through digitization and metadata input; and oversee contributions to the digital tool by students and researchers. The person appointed will also contribute to teaching and training for Plant Humanities scholarly programming, including week-long residencies for college teachers and a four-week summer program for undergraduate and graduate students.

As the Plant Humanities Initiative progresses, the Fellow will assume increasing responsibility for program management and will help to support partnerships with other humanities or botanical libraries and research institutes. The fellowship will therefore offer ample opportunities for skill-building and will have a strong professional development component, including project management, digital skills, and teaching and research.

The Fellowship offers a stipend of $55,000 per annum and health insurance at the cost established for Dumbarton Oaks Fellows. The incumbent will also have access to the institute’s outstanding resources and become a part of the Dumbarton Oaks community of Fellows and researchers.

Application Requirements

The start date for the fellowship will be on or before July 1, 2019. Candidates must have received the PhD by June 30, 2019, and no earlier than June 30, 2015.

Applicants should submit a resumé; transcript; statement of interest detailing any relevant coursework, research, or teaching experience and describing how this fellowship fits with their intellectual and professional aspirations (no longer than 2,000 words); and two letters of recommendation (sent directly by the recommenders) to by December 15, 2018.


  • PhD in the History of Art and Architecture, History, History of Science, or related field, with a specialization in garden and landscape studies or the history of science and technology.
  • Demonstrable experience of work in an academic library, archive, special collection, museum, or comparable environment.
  • Familiarity with digital humanities methods and the visualization and digitization of print materials is highly desirable, though not required.
  • Some teaching experience is preferred. 
  • The Postdoctoral Fellow will be given an opportunity to learn and strengthen her or his skills and knowledge in all areas listed above as a part of the fellowship.