Fellowship Program

The Fellowship Program is at the heart of the activities of the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute. Started in 1975 as the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, the Institute has annually appointed scholars who conduct individual research for a period of one to two semesters in a wide variety of fields related to African and African American Studies. With a record of supporting more than 300 Fellows since its founding, the Institute has arguably done more in its short existence to ensure the scholarly development of African and African American Studies than any other pre-doctoral or post-doctoral program in the United States.

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Fellows work in a range of fields and interests, including art and art history, Afro-Latin American research, design and the history of design, education, hiphop, African studies, the African diaspora, African American studies, literature, and creative writing.

Many former Fellows became major figures in the field, including George Frederickson (Stanford University), Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham (Harvard University), Nellie McKay (University of Wisconsin), Nell Irvin Painter (Princeton University), Arnold Rampersad (Stanford University), and Cornel West (Princeton University). Additionally, numerous scholars who came to the Institute as junior faculty members are now senior scholars in academic departments throughout the United States, and in Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Latin America, and several African countries.

A residential appointment at the Du Bois Institute offers considerable benefits to any scholar. We provide office space and a computer, use of a research assistant, and Fellows have full access to the extensive research and library resources of Harvard University. The Institute also houses the Image of the Black in Western Art archive and library, and a small reference library which is open to unlimited use during a Fellows’ term of appointment.

At the Du Bois Research Institute, scholars may pursue their research while interacting with other visiting scholars working at Harvard University. Fellows are expected to participate in a number of activities, including Fellows’ Workshops and, importantly, the weekly colloquium. Chaired by the Institute's Director, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the colloquia  offer Fellows the opportunity to share their work with Institute colleagues, Harvard faculty, graduate students, and others. Colloquia also allow Harvard faculty and visitors to present work in progress, and we have hosted presentations by Wole Soyinka, A. Leon Higginbotham, Ira Berlin, Orlando Patterson, Jamaica Kincaid, Hazel V. Carby, Zadie Smith, and many others.

The colloquia occur every Wednesday between 12:00 noon and 1:30 p.m. during the academic year and take place in the Thompson Room on the first floor of the Barker Center. Each presentation lasts approximately an hour, followed by open discussion. Media facilities and staffing are available and Fellows are encouraged to take advantage of the media resources for their presentations. The Harvard community and the surrounding Cambridge and Boston communities are invited and are welcome to bring a lunch. Attendance is required of all Institute Fellows.

Du Bois Fellows also have the opportunity to meet scholars from other Harvard Fellows Programs, such as the Kennedy School of Government, the Center for International Affairs, the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life, the Center for the Study of World Religions, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Humanities Center, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the Loeb Fellows of the Graduate School of Design, and the Nieman Foundation.

Announcing the 2020-2021 Fellows

The Hutchins Center for African & African American Research Announces its Eighth Class of W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute Fellows

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University has announced the 2020-2021 class of fellows.

“We are happy to welcome one of our most distinguished and exciting cohort of W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute Fellows,” says Gates. “We look forward to an extraordinary range of artistic and scholarly work next academic year. Queer visual cultures in the African diaspora; migratory routes and artistic practices in the Black Mediterranean; the “monstrous” aesthetics of black women’s work; dialect in the early Anglophone Caribbean; the history of Norfolk Prison Colony, the first “community prison”; postmillennial technologies and the practice of race; black diasporic women's engagement with digital and social media; cruciform churches in Medieval Ethiopia as architectural palimpsests and products of cross-cultural exchange; the intersections of race, space, and the law in the construction of race and citizenship; and Stuart Hall’s unfinished manuscript The Symbolic World. Meaning and Power are among the important projects which the 2020-2021 Class of Fellows will be pursuing at the W. E. B Du Bois Research Institute, housed in the Hutchins Center.”

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2020-2021 Fellows

C Keith Harrison

C. Keith Harrison

Associate Unit Head and Chief Academic Officer, University of Central Florida
Fall 2020: Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow

C. Keith Harrison is Professor of Business, Hip Hop, and Sport at the University of Central Florida as well as...

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Scott Heath

Scott Heath

Visiting Assistant Professor of English, Loyola University
Spring 2021: Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow

Scott Heath specializes in African American literature, black public culture, and speculative race theory. He is the author of Head Theory: How Hip...

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Bindman

David Bindman

Emeritus Professor of the History of Art, University College London
2020-2021: Image of the Black Archive & Library Fellow

David Bindman is Emeritus Durning-Lawrence Professor of the History of Art at University College London. Author of many distinguished...

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Darius Bost

Darius Bost

Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of Utah
Fall 2020: Richard D. Cohen Fellow

Darius Bost is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies in the School for Cultural and Social Transformation at the University of Utah, and co-editor of ...

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Hutchins Facade

Alessandra Di Maio

Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities, University of Palermo
Spring 2020: Richard D. Cohen Fellow
Alessandra Di Maio is Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities at the University of Palermo, Italy. In residence as the Cohen Fellow for Spring 2021... Read more about Alessandra Di Maio
Eve Dunbar

Eve Dunbar

Associate Professor of English at Vassar College
Fall 2020: W. E. B. Du Bois Fellow

Eve Dunbar is an associate professor of English at Vassar College (NY) and author of ...

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Belinda Edmondson

Belinda Edmondson

Professor of English and African American and African Studies, Rutgers University
Fall 2020: Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow
Belinda Edmondson teaches in the Departments of English and African American and African Studies at Rutgers-Newark. She is an elected member of the Johns... Read more about Belinda Edmondson
Garrett Felber

Garrett Felber

Assistant Professor of History, University of Mississippi
2020-2021: Hutchins Fellow

Garrett Felber is an assistant professor of History at the University of Mississippi. His research and teaching focus on twentieth-century African...

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C Keith Harrison

C. Keith Harrison

Associate Unit Head and Chief Academic Officer, University of Central Florida
Fall 2020: Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow

C. Keith Harrison is Professor of Business, Hip Hop, and Sport at the University of Central Florida as well as...

Read more about C. Keith Harrison
Scott Heath

Scott Heath

Visiting Assistant Professor of English, Loyola University
Spring 2021: Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow

Scott Heath specializes in African American literature, black public culture, and speculative race theory. He is the author of Head Theory: How Hip...

Read more about Scott Heath
Mikael Muehlbauer

Mikael Muehlbauer

Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
Spring 2021: Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow

Mikael Muehlbauer is a specialist in the architecture of Medieval Ethiopia and Egypt. He earned his PhD in Art History and Archaeology from Columbia...

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William Pruit III

William Henry Pruitt III

Doctoral Candidate in the Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University
2020-2021: Dorothy Porter & Charles Harris Wesley Fellow

William Henry Pruitt III is a PhD Candidate in African and African American Studies at Harvard University. His primary field is English, and his secondary...

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Bill Schwarz

Bill Schwarz

Professor of Modern Literature and History in the School of English and Drama, University of London
Fall 2020: Stuart Hall Fellow

Bill Schwarz teaches Caribbean literature at the School of English and Drama, Queen Mary University of London. Most...

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Jesse Shipley

Jesse Weaver Shipley

John D. Willard Professor of African and African American Studies and Oratory, Dartmouth College
2020-2021: Genevieve McMillan-Reba Stewart Fellow

Jesse Weaver Shipley is a writer, ethnographer, and filmmaker whose work explores the links...

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Justin Steil

Justin Steil

Associate Professor of Law and Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2020-2021: W. E. B. Du Bois Fellow

Justin Steil is an Associate Professor of Law and Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research examines legal and...

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