Harvard University Davis Center Fellowships

Fellowships at the Davis Center: 2015-16

"Mobility, Boundaries, and the Production of Power in Eurasia"

Deadline: January 8, 2015
More information on our website
Opportunities to learn more:
Q&A session with convening faculty at ASEEES Convention:
Saturday, 11/22, 12 p.m. in Conference Room #5
Online info sessions (register by writing to
Thursday, November 6, 1 p.m. EST
Wednesday, December 3, 1 p.m. EST
Monday, December 22, 11 a.m. EST

The Davis Center Fellows Program brings together scholars at early and later stages in their careers to consider a common theme spanning the social sciences and humanities.  The program is coordinated by faculty from across Harvard University whose research interests include aspects of the selected theme. 

Professors Kelly O’Neill (History) and Timothy Colton (Government) will coordinate the 2015–2016 program.
Types of Fellowships
  1. Postdoctoral Fellowships: Junior scholars who will have completed a Ph.D. or equivalent by September 2015 and no earlier than September 2010. Stipend of up to $39,000.
  2. Senior Fellowships: Senior scholars who have made a significant contribution to the field and have completed a Ph.D. or equivalent by September 2010 and hold an academic appointment. Stipend of up to $28,000 to bring salary to full-time level.
  3. Regional Fellowships: Senior scholars who have completed a Ph.D. or equivalent by September 2008 or policy-makers, journalists, and specialists. Citizens of Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Caucasus may apply. Stipend of up to $47,000.
Scholars with outside or sabbatical funding who wish to be in residence at the Davis Center in 2015–2016 should also apply using the fellowships application and indicate that they do not require Davis Center funding.
In addition to pursuing their own research, Davis Center Fellows participate in a bi-weekly interdisciplinary seminar series with sponsoring faculty and advanced graduate students. The seminar for 2015–16 will explore the importance of the various forms, practices, and implications of human mobility, past and present. We invite participants to consider the politics of mobility and the ways in which individuals, communities, and states have derived power from their ability to influence movement across the regions once dominated by the tsarist and Soviet regimes. We are equally interested in the meaning of mobility and in the role it plays in the development of cultures and economies. We aim to explore the tension between stasis and motion, and to study the contexts and implications of the circulation of human beings, objects, ideas, animals, diseases, contaminants, capital, etc.
Mobility has long been a crucial force across Eurasia. Migration, for example — coerced and voluntary, temporary and permanent, nomadic and agricultural, domestic and transnational — has shaped the social, political, economic, and cultural contours of the region. Yet this is only one of many manifestations of Eurasian mobility. Following the lead of a growing number of political scientists, geographers, historians, economists, biologists, literary scholars, archaeologists and others, we will focus our inquiry around three broad topics:
1. Institutions, infrastructures, and technologies. These include everything from passport policies and land surveys to highways, marketing campaigns, pilgrimage routes, GPS systems, pasturing practices, and social media. Who controls the infrastructures of mobility? Are they flexible? Do they serve as connective tissues or as mechanisms for reinforcing boundaries of one kind or another?
2. Manifestation and documentation. We are interested in scholarship that sheds light on the range of ways in which inhabitants of rural and urban spaces of Eurasia have experienced, documented, studied, and imagined the experience of mobility. How are episodes of displacement expressed through journalism or commemorative ritual? How is social mobility inscribed in the built environment or represented in film, literature, and art? How have scholars used archival or cartographic material to reconstruct the borders, boundaries, and hierarchies that inform(ed) daily life?
3. Mobility as a multi-scalar phenomenon. “Mobility” is, among other things, an analytical tool for expressing relationships. Those relationships can exist within or across scales: between the individual and the communal, private and public, local and universal, organic and inorganic. How do attempts to maintain connections with family members or recreate cultural practices impact immigrant communities? Is it possible to map both the emotional and the economic costs of environmental disasters? What can we learn by linking the study of the particular aesthetics of a place to the study of road networks and traffic flows that transect and connect it?  
In sum, can thinking about movement and mobility help us better understand the individual states that occupy the Eurasian landmass, as well as the connections among them, their neighbors, and the global community? To this end, we invite participants to explore new methodologies, pose new questions, and develop new modes of presenting research to the academic world and beyond. Because this theme has a distinct spatial component, we encourage applications from scholars who integrate GIS and other forms of spatial analysis into their work, and anticipate building on the research outcomes of the 2014–2015 Mapping Cultural Space Fellows Program. 
The application for “Mobility, Boundaries, and the Production of Power in Eurasia” is available at
Date: 2014-11-01