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John E. Sawyer Seminars in the Comparative Study of Culture

Announcement:  Call for Applications

John E. Sawyer Seminars in the Comparative Study of Cultures


The John E. Sawyer Seminars program provides an opportunity for faculty, international visitors, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students to come together from a variety of fields, normally from the arts, humanities, and interpretive social sciences, for intensive multi-disciplinary and comparative study of subjects chosen by seminar participants. Seminars normally meet for one year (though some have continued for longer.)

Funds available:  The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will provide a maximum of  $175,000 USD.  Seminar plans and budget must provide for one postdoctoral fellow and for the dissertation research of two graduate students. The Foundation fully expects that graduate students will be active participants in the seminars (although seminars are not intended to be credit-bearing courses.)

How to Apply:  The Jackman Humanities Institute (JHI), in collaboration with the Research Services Office (RSO), is managing the application process.  The Mellon Foundation has invited UofT to submit one proposal, based on an internal peer review process.  Those wishing to apply should take note of the following steps and follow the timelines:

  1. Express your interest in applying by Monday, January 20th:  Submit your Notice of Intent (NOI) through the JHI website.  The NOI is a single, short document that contains the following information:   the title of your proposed seminar, a brief description, and a list of University of Toronto faculty members who will be involved. To submit your NOI, please click HERE.
  2. Submit your Draft Proposal to the Jackman Humanities Institute by Wednesday, February 5th:  A Draft Proposal is comprised of:   an abstract of your Seminar (one page maximum) including the title, estimate of your budget request and a brief description, names of your key co-applicants (those who will assist in running the seminar), and short CVs (two pages maximum) for you and your key co-applicants.  Submit your proposal HERE.
  3. An internal University of  Toronto interdisciplinary peer review panel will select the proposal to move forward:  The applicant chosen to submit their Seminar plan to the Mellon Foundation will be notified by the JHI by February 10th.
  4. Final deadline for chosen proposal:  The successful applicant's proposal will receive editorial review from the JHI and Research Services during the period leading up to Monday, February 24th, at which point the final version of the proposal is to be submitted to JHI.   The University of Toronto will provide a letter of  institutional support and submit the application to the Mellon Foundation in time for their March 1st deadline.

More Information:  You can read more about the Mellon Foundation's Sawyer Seminar programs, including those previously funded on their website:


If you have any questions, you can also contact the JHI at humanities@utoronto.ca or (416) 978-7415, or Research Services at keti.dzamova@utoronto.ca or (416) 946-3723.

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