The Ransom Center has awarded 56 fellowships for the upcoming year to postdoctoral, dissertation and independent researchers from around the world. The 2020-2021 fellows reflect the global stature of the Center’s collections, representing 15 U.S. states and eight countries, with more than half traveling from abroad.
While the Center remains temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has remained focused on its core research and teaching mission, offering modified research services and finalizing fellowships for the coming year.
“During this current global emergency, it is reassuring to think about and anticipate that day when the Center will reopen and we will welcome these researchers,” says Stephen Enniss, Betty Brumbalow Director of the Harry Ransom Center. “Until then, these awards may serve as a reminder of the interconnectedness of that national and international research community that the Ransom Center welcomes, and a reminder of future work to come.”
This year’s research fellows will study such diverse topics as African American theater history, Victorian astrophotography, Early Modern recycled books, women’s contributions in Hollywood’s studio system, and much more.
The Center is internationally renowned for its extraordinary collections, which include nearly 1 million rare books, more than 42 million manuscripts, 5 million photographs and 100,000 works of art. Fellowships provide an opportunity for intensive scholarly research for projects that span the Center’s collections in literature, performing arts, film, photography, and art.
Over the past 30 years, the Center’s Fellowship Program has supported more than 1,270 research projects requiring extensive onsite use of its collections (read more). This research has resulted in hundreds of published books, journal articles and doctoral theses.
Fellowship types vary, including one- to three-month fellowships, travel stipends and dissertation fellowships. Several individual donors and organizations fund the program (learn more).
“We ask questions of literature, art, film, photography, books and manuscripts, material culture and so much more, to discern and interpret and share diverse stories,” Associate Director for Research Gretchen Henderson said. “The Fellowship Program supports this activity at the Center, and research acts as a heartbeat that pulses new life into the collections. I am excited to see how these scholars contribute to this collective activity.”
Henderson was appointed last month to lead the Center’s Research Division and to oversee the Fellowship Program. She emphasizes that her vision for the program is to build more around the meaning of the word ‘fellowship’ – community.
“Fellowships offer the opportunity to engage with other fellows, to exchange work in progress, to share questions and our collective enterprise as researchers,” Henderson said. “We will be reshaping the Ransom Center’s Fellowship Program to better reflect the meaning of this word.”