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Robert Penn Warren Center

Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities

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Visiting Faculty Fellowship

2016/2017 William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellowship 

"Working for Equality and Justice: Theorizing from and with Lived Resistance to Economic Inequality and Injustice"

Program co-directors: Brooke Ackerly (Associate Professor of Philosophy) and Melissa Snarr (Associate Professor of Ethics and Society, Divinity School)

The Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities will host a year-long interdisciplinary seminar on the theme "Working for Equality and Justice: Theorizing from and with Lived Resistance to Economic Inequality and Injustice" during the 2016/2017 academic year. 

One of the key challenges to the moral and political legitimacy of nation-states, international orders, corporations, organizations, families, and communities is economic inequality and injustice. Economic inequality is a timeless topic recently invigorated by social scientific scholarly work such as Thomas Piketty’s Capital and Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman’s analysis of U.S. tax records. Qualitative and quantitative social sciences continually bring new data to bear on the problems of economic inequality, spawn myriad discussions on the nature and dynamics of varied political economies, and raise pressing issues for ethics and politics.

The Warren Center seminar will turn to the humanities for the study of inequality and injustice in two ways. First, we will consider how scholarship in the humanities can be informed by the experiences of those people who are living with the inequalities and injustices we are exploring.  Secondly, we will look to humanistic scholarship to tell us how to do this work well .

What might we learn--in and through the humanities--by listening to, researching with, and documenting those persons and organizations that resist economic inequality and injustice? How might our theory building about equality and justice be challenged, enhanced, and expanded when this “lived resistance” is a primary site for our academic work on these issues? What research methodologies are appropriate for a humanities scholar who wishes to engage with lived experience? What does it mean to listen to, to research with, and to observe those struggling to survive and transform economic inequalities and injustice?

Engaged research has a long history in the social and biomedical sciences. With great respect for these methods, we seek to cultivate and enjoy a community of humanities colleagues who would like to further, develop, and interpret what engaged humanities scholarship requires.  The Warren Center will cultivate a space of collegial exploration and scholarly production that addresses a timely and vital ethical, political, and academic challenge. 

We invite applications for the William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellowship from scholars in all disciplines whose lively presence will help to focus our work and stimulate discussions.  We anticipate that the successful applicant will have completed the terminal degree in her/his field at the time of application and will have a record of scholarly publications. The seminar meets weekly and will allow the Visiting Fellow ample time to pursue a major research project.  The combined interests of the Visiting Fellow and the Vanderbilt Faculty Fellows will determine the form and content of seminar discussions.

The Visiting Fellow is provided with a spacious office within the Warren Center's own building. The fellowship pays a stipend of up to $50,000 and provides $2000 in moving expenses. Complete applications must be submitted by January 18, 2016.




For more information please contact:

Mona Frederick, Executive Director,

Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities
VU Station B #351534, Nashville, TN 37235-1534
(615) 343-6060