2021-2022 Digital Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship

Call for Applications

Deadline for applications: 30 November 2020


The Jackman Humanities Institute (JHI) at the University of Toronto, with support from the Council of Library and Information Resources (CLIR), offers a twelve-month Postdoctoral Fellowship in Digital Humanities, with a project that fits the JHI’s annual theme, “Pleasure”


2021-2022 Annual Theme: Pleasure

Whether understood as light amusement or passionate pursuit, as pure enjoyment, sensual gratification, bliss or hedonism, pleasure may be the most agreeable motivator. Yet pleasure has been described as “curious and appalling,” one of modern civilization’s most deadly poisons. Through its diverse manifestations – as intellectual satisfaction and the pleasures of knowledge, across studies of media audiences, addiction, virtual sex – when, and how, has pleasure become divorced from ideology, politics, and power? Uneasiness concerning pleasure resonates readily with humanists’ tendencies to formulate our subjects of study as constellations of problems, but is there space in our discourses for unironic joy?


The Digital Humanities Network

The Digital Humanities Network builds research and teaching strengths at the University of Toronto through programming, mentorship, and advocacy. We define digital humanities broadly, to include both critical praxis and the analysis of digitality. As of 2020 our primary focus is on critical digital humanities, a version of DH that places anti-racist, decolonial, feminist, and queer/trans/non-binary work at its core, and which understands our current historic shift in digital technology as an opportunity for social and political transformation. At the University of Toronto, Critical Digital Humanities foregrounds creative praxis, co-creation, public engagement, and community-based research.

The JHI DH Postdoctoral Fellow will have an established track record in their own discipline and/or the digital humanities. They will pursue their own research while at the University of Toronto, while working to foster the JHI’s DH Network at the University of Toronto. They will receive training, research, and networking opportunities through CLIR.



The JHI DH Postdoctoral Fellow will be supported to attend the CLIR’s Postdoctoral Fellowship program’s mandatory week-long seminar in early August 2021 at Bryn Mawr College and other CLIR events. The JHI DH Postdoctoral Fellow will draw upon their disciplinary expertise and upon training provided by CLIR, the JHI, and UofT Libraries to connect and strengthen DH projects across the tricampus university. Specifically, depending on their own skill set and research interests, the JHI DH Postdoctoral Fellow will spend 15 hours per week as a member of the DHN Executive Team, where they will:

  • establish and maintain online spaces where members of the DH Network can share information about their research and discuss matters of common interest;
  • run regular roundtables and workshops at the JHI and with UofT Libraries on digital humanities topics;
  • organize, facilitate, and participate in other tricampus DH training initiatives;
  • facilitate introductions and connections between researchers within the DH Network;
  • in consultation with digital librarians, provide one-on-one and group consultancy to humanities researchers seeking to make use of infrastructure for digital scholarship in and beyond the University of Toronto; and
  • participate in planning the future shape and directions of the DHN.

While working with the DHN, the Fellow will also be part of the JHI scholarly community and will participate in weekly JHI fellows lunches every Thursday from the beginning of September to the first week of May.

The JHI DH Postdoctoral Fellowship is a twelve-month position, from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022, supervised by Professor Elspeth Brown (Director of the DHN and Professor of Historical Studies) and Alison Keith (Director of the Jackman Humanities Institute and Professor of Classics and Women’s Studies). The JHI DH Postdoctoral Fellow may seek additional research supervision from within UofT according to their own interests. They will have access to equipment and collaborative digital working space at JHI. This fellowship award provides an annual stipend of $54,636 (CAD) plus benefits. The incumbent is welcome to seek up to two one-semester courses as a sessional instructor with the appropriate unit(s) at the University of Toronto. The JHI DH Postdoctoral Fellow will be expected to pursue their own research relevant to the JHI’s annual theme, Pleasure.


Eligibility and Attributes

Applicants must have completed their doctorate within five years of the beginning of the fellowship on 1 July 2021. Applicants who will defend their thesis before the end of May 2021 are eligible, but a letter from their supervisor or Chair may be requested. Any award will be conditional on a successful defence. Applicants who received their Ph.D. prior to 1 July 2016 are ineligible. Applicants who are graduates of doctoral programs at the University of Toronto are eligible. This position is not open to those who hold a tenure-track position.

The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate excellence in teaching and research and have an established track record in the digital humanities. They will understand the history, development, and current state of the field; be able to assess institutional processes and policies; be willing to work with a range of scholars in and outside of their own field; desire to learn and pursue research in an interdisciplinary, collaborative environment; and be committed to open source development and open access scholarship.

The JHI Postdoctoral Fellowship in Digital Humanities is open to citizens of all countries. The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ+ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas. Engagement as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto is covered by the terms of the CUPE 3902 Unit 5 Collective Agreement.



You must have an account on the JHI website to apply. Click on Calls for Funding to see the description of the fellowship and application procedures. The application form is located at the bottom of this page, when you click Apply Now!

You will be asked to upload the following documents in your application (please see our FAQ section below for further information about length and content):

  1. Letter of Application
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. Project proposal
  4. Statement of Digital Humanities Research Interest
  5. Research Sample

All documents must be in .pdf format.

The size limit for a complete application including all four documents is 8 mb. If your application is too large, you will see an error message; please adjust the size of your files and try again.

You will also be asked to provide the names and email addresses of two referees, whom we will contact to request confidential letters of reference.



All applications must be made online at www.humanities.utoronto.ca by 30 November 2020 at 11:59 p.m. (EDT). Faxed, emailed, and paper applications will not be considered.




Frequently Asked Questions about applying for the DHN postdoctoral fellowship


What are JHI’s expectations in terms of length, format and content for my submitted documents?

ANSWER:  You MUST submit all files in pdf format.  This is necessary in order to ensure that they will be readable when they arrive.  Please do not send files with security settings that prevent printing. Beyond that, here are some general suggestions and guidelines.

JHI receives applications from across many disciplines and from around the world. Standards vary, and we would prefer not to set rigid rules in the matter. Please know that you will not be disqualified from applying if your documents do not comply with the following guidelines.

Make your documents easy to read: use 11 or 12 point type, and 1.5 or double spacing. Avoid unnecessarily complicated fonts.

  1. Letter of Application (1-2 pages): Introduce yourself and explain briefly why you are interested in digital humanities research at the University of Toronto, and how your research will respond to the annual theme of Pleasure. Consider this to be an overview summary of the arguments that you will develop with greater detail in your other documents.
  2. Curriculum Vitae (as long as necessary): this is your full academic record. Please include all publications (both peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed), research presentations, and previous digital humanities work of any nature. The focus here is more on research than on teaching.
  3. Project Proposal (4-6 pages): Explain in detail what you would like to accomplish while you are a fellow. Your project should be relevant to the annual theme of Pleasure. Tell us about your anticipated goals and timeline for this project, and about the methodology that you will use to do it. It is perfectly acceptable to propose a thesis-to-book overhaul.
  4. Statement of Digital Humanities Research Interest (2-4 pages):  Tell us how your work fits into the field of digital humanities. Describe any organizational experience that might support your work building the Digital Humanities Network. What kinds of DH are you interested in fostering during your fellowship, and how might you go about doing this? What might be your own goals in DH for the fellowship year?
  5. Research Sample (length varies with content): This could be a chapter from your thesis, or a published article, or an example of DH work that you have created or taken a leading role in such as a digital publication or portfolio. You can upload a sample of your writing or provide a brief introduction and a URL (or multiple URLs) that show your DH work – but you should provide this information within the frame of a pdf file that can be uploaded.


It says I need an account in the JHI website, but it looks like this is only for University of Toronto people.  What do I do?

ANSWER: University of Toronto affiliation is not required. The fields with the red star are mandatory; you can skip everything else. If you do not find a discipline in the list that matches what you do, select Other. Account information is not considered in the selection process; only what you provide in your application is considered.


I’m having a problem with the website. My account information may not have saved, or I am not sure whether my application was successfully submitted.

ANSWER: Contact Dr. Kimberley Yates, Associate Director at the JHI, for troubleshooting: jhi.associate@utoronto.ca. If you have missed the deadline (30 November 2020) due to technological difficulty, we will make alternative arrangements to take your application.


Can I save a partial application and then go back into it, or swap my documents for updated versions later?

ANSWER: No.  This is not a technological possibility with the JHI website.  You must upload your application in one go.  If you have uploaded an incorrect document, contact us before the deadline, (jhi.associate@utoronto.ca) and we can exchange it for a corrected version from the admin side. We strongly recommend that you submit your application before 4:30 pm on the deadline date, so that if you have a technical issue, you will be able to contact the JHI for support during office hours. If your documents are complete, it should take about 20 minutes at most to set up your account and perform the application upload.


I will be finishing up my thesis in the spring, and I am not sure if my defence will take place before or after 1 May.  How will this affect my eligibility?

ANSWER:  You are eligible to apply. If you receive an offer of this fellowship, it will be contingent on your having completed all outstanding doctoral work before 1 July 2021. This means that if you apply but have not defended, we will be in touch with your Chair or supervisor to confirm your defence date (it must be before 1 May 2021) and post-defense status. If you defend and have revisions to make, you must complete them successfully before 1 July 2021.


I graduated from my doctoral program in June 2016.  Am I eligible to apply? Does a month matter?

ANSWER: You are not eligible to apply.  This fellowship is offered with a five-year eligibility that tracks from the date when the fellowship begins on 1 July 2021.  We are sorry but this is the rule.


When will I be required to be in Toronto? Can I do research off-site at certain times during the year?

ANSWER:  The JHI will require your attendance at a fellows’ lunch each Thursday from the beginning of September until the end of April (there are two weeks in December when the University will close for the holidays). The DHN may require you to help with events during the summer; if you are also teaching, please check for the dates when you must be in Toronto with your unit.
This fellowship is also affiliated with the Council of Library and Information Resources (CLIR). This means that you will be required to attend a one-week training in August 2021, and to participate in monthly teleconferences with the other CLIR postdocs in your cohort.


Is any funding beyond the award for this position available for travel, moving expenses or research?

ANSWER:  There is a small amount ($500 CAD) of research or travel funding available upon request to the Director. There is no funding for moving expenses. You are welcome to apply for up to two one-semester courses of sessional teaching in any unit appropriate to your field of doctoral study. Sessional job postings will appear here: