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Call for Faculty Fellows

Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Seminar on Space
Call for Faculty Fellows

“I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”

–Vincent Van Gogh

About our Theme

From the beginning, we have looked to the skies with wonder, fear, hope, and curiosity.  Archeological evidence from across the globe shows early humans trying to make sense of the stars, sun, and moon—mysterious celestial bodies that seemed to guide the changing seasons and offer insight into the future.  Most religious traditions imagine their central deities living in the wondrous sky: the Egyptian Ra, the Pawnee Tirawahat, the Hindu Sirya, and the Roman Sol—the latter historically linked to the rise of the great monotheistic religions.  The sky could be both heaven and hell, the home of the gods or a great battleground between light and darkness.  No matter the cultural differences, the stars seemed to shape all human fate.

In the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, we began to see the heavens differently: not as the home of the gods but as part of a vast universe.  Peering through telescopes and crafting ingenious mathematical concepts, scientists like Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler steadily moved humans from the center of all things to a tiny blue dot spiraling near the edge of just one galaxy among at least 200 billion others.  Carl Sagan invited us to see the wondering in this alienating expanse, while science fictions writers like Gene Rodenberry and Octavia Butler dared us to imagine space as a new human home.  Now we see space as the edge of a “new frontier” and our planet as a fragile home amid nearly innumerable others—some of which almost certainly contain alien life.

Throughout the 2024-25 academic year, TU’s Oklahoma Center for the Humanities will explore the theme of space by looking to the past, crossing cultural boundaries, and working across disciplines to forge unexpected connections.  This theme will also look to the way humans have sought to organize space on this planet, from the design of homes and cities to the drawing of maps and the fashioning of virtual environments.

The Center’s work will be broadly interdisciplinary and draw on the distinctive tools of the arts and humanities while also weaving them together with science, law, business, medicine, and engineering.  Fellows will pursue their own research and help design a robust array of public programs at 101 Archer, including exhibitions, lectures, performances, and more.  Faculty will pursue this work alongside specially selected students as well as members of the larger Tulsa community who will bring their own expertise and perspectives to bear.

About the Fellowship

The Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Seminar sponsored by the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities at the University of Tulsa seeks to generate new research, inspire innovative teaching, create campus community, engage the city of Tulsa, and break through silos by supporting interdisciplinary work on topics of timely public and intellectual interest. This year, a group of approximately eight participants will be chosen to collaborate in a series of weekly seminar discussions running throughout the fall semester.

Faculty fellows will receive research stipends to support research, travel, course development, and publication. Such work could include scholarly papers, course design, creative projects, or efforts designed to spur civic action and participation. Additional funding will be available to help create public programs hosted by the Center and its partners.  All full-time TU faculty are eligible to apply.

Application Instructions

Applications for participation in the seminar should include the following.

  • A current CV, including contact information.
  • Full responses to the three application questions listed below.

Applications should be sent by electronic attachment to

Application Questions (no more than 1,500 words total):

  1. What is it about the concept of space (broadly conceived) that most interests you? What are the questions that you would like to see addressed in the seminar?
  2. How will participation in the seminar contribute to your teaching, writing, creative, and/or other kinds of work?  What kinds of projects do you envisage arising out of your participation in the seminar?
  3. Provide a short list of works (books, images, performances, films, articles, etc.) that you have found important or provocative in relation to the seminar’s theme.

To get a sense of the OCH’s public humanities initiatives, please visit our website.  If you have questions about the seminar and the application process, please contact Sean Latham ( // x2857 // @seanplatham).