Frederick Douglass Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

New York, United States
Competitive Salary
Oct 26, 2020
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

The Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies (FDI) at the University of Rochester invites applications for two residential postdoctoral fellowships for 2021-2022 to help support scholars who advance the Institute’s mission and this year’s theme of AntiBlackness. The postdoctoral fellowships are awarded to scholars who hold a PhD degree in a field that contributes to African and African-American studies. Applicants must have their PhD in hand before the fellowship begins in September. The position carries a stipend of $48,750 for one year, possibility of one year of renewal, and a $3,000  fund for research-related activities during the year.

Scope for 2021-2022 Fellowship Period: This summer and fall, our city is reeling from the killing of Daniel Prude in the hands of Rochester, NY police officers. Daniel Prude was fatally injured in March 2020—at the onset of a citywide Covid-19 lockdown—when officers responded to a mental health call with extreme acts of citizen detainment. City residents would not learn of the events surrounding Mr. Prude’s death until early September— after local BLM organizers, working with Mr. Prude’s family, obtained access to the police camera footage after stalling from people in power including the police chief and mayor. The protesters who gathered in the following days of summer 2020—like others nationwide in the wake of state-sanctioned violence that ended the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others, named and unnamed—were met with militarized policing (tear gas, pepper balls, noise cannons). Rochester and cities across the nation, continue to grapple with what justice, policing, democracy, and progress should look like for Daniel Prude’s family and so many others who suffer under hyper-segregation and perpetual acts of anti-black violence. On the University of Rochester campus, faculty, staff, and students, grapple with the role of the university in addressing these questions—both in terms of community engagement and research. 

Recognizing the importance and need of scholarly work and community-engagement which addresses the broad reach of antiblackness, for the 2020-21 cycle of postdoctoral applications, FDI is ONLY inviting scholars who work within this specific field. Scholars in the humanities and social sciences, who take seriously questions of antiblackness (including, but not limited to schools, policing, prisons, neighborhoods, everyday life, literature and/or music) are strongly encouraged to apply.

Responsibility/Expectations: Fellows will participate in the intellectual life of the Institute, pursue his or her own scholarship, and teach one course in his or her area of specialization. Fellows will have the opportunity to present their work at the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, the Humanities Center, and the FDI Work-in-Progress Seminar Series.

All Fellows receive office space in the Institute, full access to the University's facilities, and opportunities to interact and collaborate with scholars relevant to their projects within the University. Fellows must be in full-time residence during the tenure of their awards and they are required to be engaged in scholarly activity on a full-time basis. Fellows are expected to be available for consultation with students and colleagues, make at least one formal presentation based upon their research, and contribute generally to the intellectual life of the Institute.

Deadlines: Review of applications will begin on December 16, 2020. The Fellowship awards will be announced in early March.

How to Apply: Application materials should be submitted by December 15, 2020 to

  • A cover letter describing a) applicant’s research and how it relates to the yearly theme, and a specific goal for the fellowship year, b) applicant’s teaching experience and a brief description of a proposed course you would offer (100 or 200-level undergraduate elective in African and African-American Studies)
  • Writing sample related to the theme of AntiBlackness
  • A curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of recommendation (submitted via the online system or emailed to that comment upon the value and feasibility of the work proposed

Contact: For more information about our fellowships, contact us at