ACLS awards bolster research and teaching in humanities

UC Berkeley’s humanities programs received an end-of-semester boost as the campus earned a cluster of research and teaching fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies.

This fall the Berkeley faculty will welcome three of 22 recent doctoral graduates selected as ACLS New Faculty Fellows for 2013. The newly minted Ph.D.s — Sarah Keyes, Deirdre Loughridge and John Savarese — will take up two-year positions in history, music and English, respectively.

Brooke Belisle, who earned her Ph.D. in rhetoric at Berkeley, was also selected as a New Faculty Fellow for 2013. Belisle will head to the State University of New York, Stony Brook, where she will take up a two-year appointment in cultural analysis and theory.


In addition to recent graduates, the Council supports the research efforts of more established humanities scholars, each year offering “salary replacement” fellowships designed to allow assistant, associate and full professors to devote up to 12 months to full-time research and writing.

Joanna Picciotto, who teaches in the English Department, was one of 21 associate professors nationwide selected as ACLS Fellows for 2013. Picciotto will receive up to $45,000 in funding to pursue her research exploring the “ecological discourse that flourished” in England during and after the Restoration.

Now in its fourth year, the New Faculty Fellows program aims to help recent graduates in the humanities and related social sciences gain a career foothold in an increasingly tough academic job market.


“The ACLS New Faculty Fellowships give scholars in the humanities the opportunity to pursue their research while teaching in a university context,” said Anthony Cascardi, dean of arts and humanities at Berkeley. “The program also helps guard against the potential loss of entire cohorts of recent graduates, which is especially important given the contraction of the academic job market in recent years.”

Of the 108 scholars who participated in the first two years of the program, 44 fellows earned tenure-track positions following their two-year fellowships¬, according to the Council.


Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Keyes, Loughridge and Savarese, who receive $50,000 stipends plus funds to cover research expenses and relocation costs, were matched with Berkeley on the basis that their subject-matter expertise meshed with campus research and teaching needs.

“New Faculty Fellows are carefully matched with academic departments and bring expertise in areas that may not be covered by the regular faculty,” Cascardi said. “Incoming fellows also model new areas of scholarship for our own graduate students and, of course, contribute vitally to our teaching programs.”


Founded in 1919, the American Council of Learned Societies private is a nonprofit federation of 71 national scholarly organizations representing the humanities and related social sciences.

The Council offers fellowships designed to help doctoral students in the humanities and social sciences in the final year of dissertation writing, with eight graduate students at Berkeley among the 65 awardees nationwide selected as 2013 Mellon-ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellows.

Pursuing research in the fields of art history, English, ethnomusicology, history, linguistics, medieval studies and sociology, each doctoral candidate will receive $25,000 plus additional funding up to $8,000 to cover research costs and university fees.