Call for Public Fellows: Space - Oklahoma Center for the Humanities
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Call for Public Fellows: Space

Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Seminar on Space
Call for Public 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, while also helping design a robust array of public programs at 101 Archer, including exhibitions, lectures, performances, and more.  Fellows will pursue this work alongside specially selected students and faculty 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 promote engaged discussion, creative expression, and informed public programming about topics of pressing public interest.  Each year, we select a group of faculty, students, and community members beyond TU to collaborate in a series of seminar style discussions that will lead to larger projects, undertaken collectively or individually. These might include performances, creative works, lectures, conferences, exhibitions, or activities designed to spur civic action and service.  The admissions committee judges applications based on an assessment of the proposal’s originality and potential for sparking dialogue encompassing diverse backgrounds and beliefs. 

Public fellows must be based in Tulsa and will receive modest stipends to support their work, commuting, and childcare expenses while in the fellowship. 

Application Instructions 

Applications for participation in the seminar should include the following.  

  • A short resume or CV, including contact information. 
  • A brief letter of reference. 
  • Full responses to the three application questions listed below. 

Applications should be sent by electronic attachment to   

Application Deadline: May 17, 2024 

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

  1. What is it about the concept of space (broadly conceived) that most interests you and how does it connect your civic, professional, intellectual, personal, or artistic interests? 
  2. How would participation in this seminar contribute to your own work, interests, practice, or profession? What kind of project do see coming out of your participation in the seminar? 
  3. What are some of the key works (books, images, performances, films, articles, etc.) that you believe raise important issues about the theme.  Please simply list 10-12 items. 

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).