Nicholson Graduate Fellowship Application Guidelines

Summer Institute at Cornell School for Criticism and Theory

Applications are invited from full-time graduate students for the Nicholson Graduate Fellowship, which allows two Sponsored Participants selected by the Unit for Criticism to participate in the School of Criticism and Theory (SCT) at Cornell University. We welcome applications from graduate students whose research centers on critical and interpretive theory or the interdisciplinary study of culture and the arts.

Applicants should send their materials by Monday, January 14, 2019 at midnight

General Information 
The Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory will once again offer two graduate student fellowships to the School of Criticism and Theory (SCT) at Cornell University. Currently directed by Hent de Vries, the Paulette Goddard Professor of the Humanities at New York University, the SCT is a six-week summer institute that has existed for more than thirty years and provides the opportunity for graduate students and faculty members to take seminars with some of the world’s leading critical theorists. The SCT provides an unparalleled opportunity for advanced training in critical theory and for making connections with an international cohort of peers and world-class scholars. Read the full School of Criticism and Theory 2019 brochure here.

This summer’s SCT will take place between June 16-July 25, 2019 and will feature the following six-week seminars, from which participants must pick one (full descriptions here):

Linda Martín Alcoff – “Decolonizing Epistemology”
Cathy Caruth – “Rethinking Trauma Theory”
Niklaus Largier – “Figures of Possibility: Figuration, Imagination, and the Phenomenology of Rhetorical Effects”
Alexander G. Weheliye – “Black Life”
Additional mini-seminars for all SCT participants will be given by Robert Brandom, Daphne Brooks, Rahel Jaeggi, and Dale Jamieson. Visiting guest lecturers include Jimena Canales, David DamroschAnkhi Mukherjee, and Catharine Stimpson.
More information about the SCT and more detailed seminar descriptions are available on their website
Under the SCT’s “Sponsored Participant” program, the Unit for Criticism will be able to select two graduate students this year to send to Cornell; with the help of funds from the Nicholson Gift Fund, LAS, and the Graduate College, we will pay for the entire SCT tuition, and also contribute $1,600 for housing, food, and transportation costs. (On campus housing at Cornell costs $1,100, but less expensive options in town are also possible.) The Sponsored Participants chosen by the Unit do not have to go through the SCT application process; they simply file an abbreviated application and are generally guaranteed the seminar of their choice.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Nicholson Graduate Fellowships, Alana Ackerman (Anthropology) and Jamillah Rasheda Gabriel (Information Sciences)! 

See how previous Unit fellows enjoyed their SCT experience: 

Lettycia Terrones and Anirban Mukhopadhyay on their experiences as SCT 2018 fellows. 

Eman Ghanayem and Peter Thompson on their experiences as SCT 2017 fellows.

Jennifer L. Thomas and Daniel F. Johnson Mardones on their experiences as SCT 2016 fellows.

Jeffrey Okla Elliot and Roman Friedman on their experiences as SCT 2015 fellows.

Andrew Santana Kaplan and Brenda Sanya on their experiences as SCT 2014 fellows.

Julie McCormick Weng and Brandon Jones on their experiences as SCT 2013 fellows.

Ben Bascom and Michael Uhall on their experiences as SCT 2012 fellows.

Chase Dimock and Claire Barber on their experiences as SCT 2011 fellows.

Ergin Bulut and Austin Riede on their experiences as SCT 2010 fellows.

Melissa Free and Zia Gluhbegivic on their experiences as SCT 2007 fellows. 

1. Applicants must be full-time graduate students enrolled in a degree-granting program at UIUC who will either return to UIUC in Fall 2019 or graduate in May 2019. 
2. Applicants must be affiliated students of the Unit for Criticism, but Unit applications can be submitted prior to the deadline. See our website for procedures for affiliation.

Students who would like to apply to be one of the Unit for Criticism’s Nicholson Fellows/Sponsored Participants should read the guidelines below and submit the necessary materials through the link below NO LATER THAN January 14, 2019 at midnight. 
The fellowships will be awarded soon after and applications and other materials are due at Cornell by February 1. Fellowships will be awarded by a selection committee made up of the Unit’s multidisciplinary advisory committee. Please note that the SCT recommends that students be in their post-coursework phase of scholarship and that preference will be given to more advanced students. However, all students who meet the Eligibility Criteria described below are eligible to apply. 
Application Materials: 

1. A short cover letter that includes the following information:

            a) the names of two Illinois faculty references (Please note that faculty members will not necessarily be contacted for references). 

            b) the title of the six-week seminar the student would like to attend. 

2. A statement of approximately two pages single-spaced describing current scholarly interests and plans and description of how the SCT might further these goals. The statement should include information about courses taken in critical theory and about ongoing and projected research projects. It should also clarify what your current status is in your program (i.e. ABD, taking courses, etc.). Please be sure to connect your interests and research to the particular seminar you would like to attend. This is the most important part of your application. 

3. A current c.v.

Guidelines for Enrollment in SCT: 
If your application is accepted by the Unit for Criticism, you will need to submit a truncated set of application materials to the SCT by February 1, 2019.  
(The Unit’s Sponsored Participants’ will automatically be given special consideration by the SCT).
If you have any questions about this program, please contact Unit for Criticism Director Susan Koshy ( after consulting the Unit's website which includes testimonials from previous Unit students who have attended SCT.

Nicholson Graduate Fellowship Application Form