Scholars-in-Residence Program Fellowship 2024-25

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Criteria and Terms

The Scholars-in-Residence Program offers both long-term and short-term fellowships designed to support and encourage top-quality research and writing on the history, politics, literature, and culture of the peoples of Africa and the African diaspora, as well as to promote and facilitate interdisciplinary exchange among scholars and writers in residence at the Schomburg Center.

Long-term fellowships provide a $35,000 stipend to support postdoctoral scholars and independent researchers who work in residence at the Center for a continuous period of six months. The Scholars-in-Residence Program provides funding for six fellows each year, three of whom are supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Selected fellows can choose to begin their term either in September or in January. Fellows are provided with individual office space and a computer, research assistance, and full access to the unparalleled resources of the Schomburg Center. In addition to pursuing their own research projects, fellows also engage in an ongoing interdisciplinary exchange of ideas, sharing their research with one another in a weekly work-in-progress seminar. While in residence, they are also exposed to the vibrant intellectual life of the Schomburg through its public exhibitions, panels, screenings, and events.

Short-term fellowships are open to postdoctoral scholars, independent researchers, and creative writers (novelists, playwrights, poets) who work in residence at the Center for a continuous period of one to three months. Short-term fellows receive a stipend of $3000 per month. (These short-term fellowships are a recent addition to the Scholars-in-Residence Program, having been offered for the first time in the 2017-18 application cycle; they are funded by an endowment provided by the Ford Foundation and the Newhouse Foundation.)

Both long-term and short-term fellowships are awarded for continuous periods in residence at the Schomburg Center. Fellows are expected to devote their full time to their research and writing. They are expected to work regularly at the Schomburg Center and to participate in the intellectual life of the Scholars-in-Residence Program. Fellows may not be employed during the period in residence, except on sabbaticals from their home institutions. Those selected as Scholars-in-Residence are encouraged to supplement their stipends with funding support from their home institutions or other non-residential fellowships or grants if the requisite approval is received from the Schomburg Center.

The deadline for applications is December 1, 2023. The online system will open for new applications on September 1.  Keep checking this page for updates or sign up for our free enewsletter Schomburg Connection.  If there are any questions, please email


The Scholars-in-Residence Program is intended for scholars and writers requiring extensive, on-site research with collections at the Schomburg Center, the pre-eminent repository for documentation on the history and cultures of peoples of African descent around the globe. Fellows are expected to be in full-time residency at the Center during the award period and to participate in scheduled seminars and colloquia. The Program is intended to support research in African diasporic studies undertaken from a humanistic perspective; projects in the social sciences, science and technology, psychology, education, and religion are eligible if they utilize a humanistic approach and contribute to humanistic knowledge.

Candidates who need to work primarily in the New York Public Library's other research libraries – the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, and the Science, Industry and Business Library – are not eligible for this fellowship, nor are people seeking funding for research leading directly to a degree. (Applications are accepted from current doctoral students, as long as they will defend their dissertation and graduate before starting the fellowship tenure.) Only U.S. citizens, permanent residents and foreign nationals who have been resident in the United States for the three years immediately preceding the application deadline may apply.

Application Instructions

A complete application must include:

  • The Schomburg Center Scholars-in-Residence Application.
  • A 1500-word description of the proposed study.
  • Curriculum vitae (limit to 3 pages).
  • Names of references (long-term fellows must submit three recommendation letters; short-term fellows must submit a minimum of two letters). References will receive an e-mail instructing them how to upload their recommendations.

The deadline for applications is December 1, 2023. Fill out an application here.

Description of Study

In no more than 1500 words the applicant should provide a detailed description of the proposed study, including but by no means restricted to the following elements:

  • A statement of the topic under consideration with specific reference to the major questions, problems, and theses being investigated.
  • An outline of the plan for carrying out the study or project.
  • Discussion of the sources in the Schomburg Center and other research units of The New York Public Library that the applicant plans to use for the study and plans for examining them.
  • Description of research methods.
  • Applicant's competence in the use of any foreign languages needed to complete the study.
  • The place of the study in the applicant's overall research and writing program.
  • The significance of the study for the applicant's field and for the humanities in general.
  • The final objective and expected outcomes of the project. Plans for publications, lectures, exhibitions, teaching, and other vehicles of dissemination should be detailed. Fellows will be expected to share and discuss their research and writing with other scholars-in-residence in the weekly work-in-progress seminar during their residency.

Selection Criteria

Applications for the Scholars-in-Residence Program will be reviewed by a Selection Committee consisting of five external reviewers, a rotating panel of accomplished scholars and writers with expertise across the fields of study covered by the fellowship. The Selection Committee is convened and chaired by the Director of the Scholars-in-Residence Program.

Fellows will be selected on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Relationship of the project to the resources of the Schomburg Center.
  • Qualifications of the applicant.
  • Quality and feasibility of the project plan.
  • Importance of the proposed project to the applicant's field and to the humanities.
  • Relationship of the project to the humanities.
  • Likelihood that the project will be completed successfully.
  • The provisions for making the results of the project available to scholars and to the public at large.

Applicants selected for the Program will be notified in late March.


Photo: Lisa Herndon

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