ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowships

The ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowship Program provides support to small teams of two or more scholars to collaborate intensively on a single, substantive project, which leads to a tangible research product (such as joint print or web publications) for which the collaborators will take equal credit. It is hoped that projects of successful applicants will help demonstrate the range and value of collaborative research in the humanities and related social sciences, and model how such collaboration may be carried out successfully.  

2016-2017 marked the ninth year of the ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowship Program, generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Read more about this fellowship program.

Please note: affiliations shown are as of time of award. Please click on fellows' names for current information.

Related Links

Search for Fellows and Grantees

Watch "Emerging Themes and Methods of Research: A Discussion with ACLS Fellows," an annual meeting session featuring recent ACLS fellows. 

  • Chang’an 26 BCE, from Dreams to Drains  |  Abstract

    Chang’an, capital of the Western Han dynasty, was one of the two greatest cities of the classical era. This project is a richly textured and fully annotated micro-history of the capital region with a sharp focus on the reign of Emperor Cheng (r. 33-7 BC), which saw great changes taking place in the social, political, and religious realms as well as in the palaces where the first imperial libraries were being created. Propelled by wider, cross-cultural questions, this study will integrate information garnered from texts, artifacts, and archaeological sites to understand the role Chang’an played in the late Western Han imperial project and in the formation of the Chinese traditions and promote a sustained dialogue among classicists concerned with Hellenism and ancient Rome. Nylan and Vankeerberghen come to this project as specialists in Early China. Nylan has contributed essays to several books comparing classical civilizations; Vankeerberghen and another collaborator recently received funding from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for their research project “Ancient World Elites: Aristocratic Power in Antiquity.” The collaboration will result in a monograph, which will provide new readings for all major texts relating to late Western Han and include comparisons of Chang’an to its contemporary cultures, Rome and Alexandria. Other outcomes will include a sourcebook and a website (www.changan26BCE.com). Award period: June 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012

    Griet Vankeerberghen
    Griet Vankeerberghen

    Associate Professor, History and East Asian Studies, McGill University

    Michael Nylan
    Michael Nylan

    Professor, History, University of California, Berkeley

  • Discovering Empire: France and the Atlantic World from the Age of Columbus to the Rise of Napoleon  |  Abstract

    Based on original research in more than thirty archives in France, Canada, the Caribbean, and the United States, Discovering Empire explores the interconnected histories of France, Africa, and the Americas from the fifteenth century through Haitian independence in 1804. By the mid-eighteenth century, France claimed nearly a third of North America, ruled over the Caribbean’s most profitable plantations, and controlled a substantial proportion of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In the late eighteenth century, Saint-Domingue produced more wealth than any colony on earth, becoming, like Potosí in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a symbol of the grand possibilities—and great human costs—of colonialism. Encompassing the full scope of the pre-Napoleonic French empire for the first time since the eighteenth century, Discovering Empire offers a wide-ranging reinterpretation of early modern French colonialism and reintegrates France into an Atlantic historiography currently dominated by British and Iberian perspectives. The collaborators’ distinct areas of expertise mirror the dialogue between indigenous and state perspectives that characterized early modern French colonialism. Rushforth has primarily published on the history of French relations with indigenous peoples in North America and the Caribbean, focusing on the seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century histories of Indian and African slavery in the French Atlantic. Hodson specializes in the later eighteenth century, having published widely on the history of the French imperial state and its relationship with colonial populations all around the Atlantic and in France itself. The outcome of the collaboration will be the publication of a jointly authored historical monograph, under contract with Basic Books with an estimated publication date of 2012. Award period: January 1, 2011 – December 31, 2011

    Christopher G. Hodson
    Christopher G. Hodson

    Assistant Professor, History, Brigham Young University

    Brett Rushforth
    Brett Rushforth

    Assistant Professor, History, College of William & Mary

  • Emergent Spacetime in Quantum Theories of Gravity  |  Abstract

    The nature of space and time are perennial and fruitful issues in philosophy, engaging deeply with other disciplines. Relativity was the last revolution in the physics of spacetime; the next one involves quantum theories of spacetime, or 'quantum gravity'. Space and time are not fundamental ingredients of the world, but somehow 'emerge' from deeper, non- spatiotemporal physics. This idea that space or time are not 'real' at the basic level would shatter the current conception of the universe, and hence our place within it. This project will produce the first book-length investigation of such implications by philosophers, explicating the very idea of emergent spacetime in contemporary physics, and showing its impact on many central philosophical ideas. Huggett and Wüthrich both have interdisciplinary backgrounds in philosophy and physics, and the work of both continues to combine the humanities and natural sciences. Huggett has published widely in the foundations of spacetime and quantum theories, and co-edited a book on quantum gravity. Wüthrich works on quantum gravity and has also published on the physics of time travel. In the past they have worked together as speakers and lecturers at conferences and summer schools each has organized. Award period: July 1, 2010 – August 31, 2011

    Christian Wüthrich
    Christian Wüthrich

    Assistant Professor, Philosophy, University of California, San Diego

    Nick Huggett
    Nick Huggett

    Professor, Philosophy, University of Illinois at Chicago

  • Micro-Histories and Nano-Futures: The Co-Production of Miniaturization and Futurism  |  Abstract

    Mody, McCray, and Mills will investigate what they call “exponentiality” in the microelectronics industry and in the rhetoric of high-tech intellectuals. They are interested in the traffic between the instrumental version of Moore’s Law—the 1965 prediction that the number of electronic components that could be crammed on a chip would double every 18 months to two years—and its use as a rhetorical trope for describing the relationships between humans and technology. Since 1965, this "law" has gradually become a self-fulfilling prophecy critical to timing and coordinating technological change in the multi-trillion dollar global electronics industry. In turn, high-tech intellectuals have taken the exponentiality of Moore’s Law—the doubling of capacity per constant unit of time—as the cause of, as well as a metaphor for, transformations in other domains. The idea that technological change at the level of microelectronics is inevitable and accelerating has spurred broad claims that humans are necessarily becoming more connected, longer-lived, and more liberated from bodies, governments, and traditions. The research group has expertise in engineering, biology, history, media, and management studies. Hyungsub Choi, program manager for Electronics and Emerging Technology at The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF), will be an outside collaborator for “Micro Histories and Nano Futures,” coordinating the distribution of the group's findings through outlets supported by the CHF (e.g., web exhibit or series of white papers). The researchers have previously collaborated as members of the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at UCSB (CNS-UCSB), a national consortium of social scientists and humanities scholars funded by the National Science Foundation to study the social context and public perceptions of nanotechnology. Award period: January 1, 2011 – June 30, 2011

    W. Patrick McCray
    W. Patrick McCray

    Professor, History, University of California, Santa Barbara

    Mara Mills
    Mara Mills

    Assistant Professor, English, University of California, Santa Barbara

    Cyrus C.M. Mody
    Cyrus C.M. Mody

    Assistant Professor, History, Rice University

  • The Soviet Home Front: Work, Life, and Loyalty during World War II  |  Abstract

    This collaboration focuses on the Soviet home front and the epic of human sacrifice that sustained the Red Army and helped to win World War II. Unlike World War I, which created social strains that led to revolution, there were no mass uprisings against Stalinist rule. There are many conflicting explanations for this phenomenon, yet almost no research has been done on conditions and the moods of the population. Using archival and other sources, the project focuses on six areas: the evacuation of factories and people; restructuring, reinstallation, and staffing of industry; living and working conditions; improvisation and popular responses; rebuilding industry in liberated territories; and power conflicts among the military, soviets, and Party organizations. Goldman and Filtzer collaborated previously on organizing an international conference on Russian/ Soviet labor history, and editing a volume from its proceedings: A Dream Deferred: New Studies in Russian and Soviet Labour History (Peter Lang, 2008). Both have extensively studied Soviet labor with Filtzer focusing on famine, mortality, diet, and health and with Goldman focusing on women and gender, and political terror in the earlier Soviet period. Employing this complementary expertise, the collaboration will produce an article, and, ultimately a co-written book. Award period: January 1, 2011 – December 31, 2012

    Donald A. Filtzer
    Donald A. Filtzer

    Professor, School of Humanities & Social Sciences, University of East London

    Wendy Z. Goldman
    Wendy Z. Goldman

    Professor, History, Carnegie Mellon University

  • Unsettling the State: A Collaborative Ethnography of Ambiguity and Experimentation in Regional Government in Peru  |  Abstract

    The research takes a major infrastructural development project in Cusco's Vilcanota Valley as a site from which to explore the tensions and ambiguities surrounding new state forms in Peru. Ethnographic research will focus on material and discursive practices involved in the implementation of three specific projects in road building, territorial reordering, and sanitation. In studying these domains of expert and state intervention into the material and social landscape, the project explores how claims to expert knowledge and appeals to international regulatory regimes support and interrupt the idea of regional government as a new state form, which is a form grounded in the promise of regional autonomy and modernity. The collaboration has grown from a long history of research experience in Cusco where Harvey has researched language, state formation, and engineering practice, and Poole has studied indigenism, race, law, and politics. Their different areas of specialization converge around a shared interest in exploring ambiguous domains of power and in developing ethnographic approaches for study of the modern state. In developing collaborative approaches to the study of governance and expertise, the project also draws on Harvey’s work in the anthropology of science and technology in relation to infrastructural projects and public works in Spain and the United Kingdom, and on Poole’s ethnographic and archival research on liberalism, ethnicity, and the state in Oaxaca, Mexico. The collaboration was initially supported by a ESRC-SSRC Collaborative Visiting Fellowship for Poole at the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change in Manchester, UK, which is co-directed by Harvey. Outputs will include a jointly authored monograph on the technical and legal dynamics of regional state practice; an international workshop which will be held in Cusco in 2011/12; and a co-written article reflecting on methods and collaborative anthropology. Award period: January 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012

    Penelope M. Harvey
    Penelope M. Harvey

    Professor, Social Anthropology, University of Manchester, UK

    Deborah A. Poole
    Deborah A. Poole

    Professor, Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University