Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at University of Kansas

The University of Kansas invites applications for an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in conjunction with the University’s 2019-2020 Sawyer Seminar, Chronic Conditions: Knowing, Seeing, and Healing the Body in Global Africa. The 12-month appointment will commence on July 1, 2019 and carries a $50,000 salary for the year, plus benefits. The fellow will be affiliated with the Kansas African Studies Center, the Hall Center for the Humanities, and the Spencer Museum of Art. These units will offer opportunities for the fellow to work closely with their faculty affiliates, visiting scholars and artists, graduate students, guests, and community partners.

Bold Aspirations

We seek a scholar whose work focuses on a topic that relates to health and medical humanities in African and African-descended communities. The goal of KU’s Sawyer Seminar is to offer novel ways of thinking about the historical, cultural, and structural processes that have given rise to chronic health conditions among Africans, African immigrants, and African-Americans. Through a focus on communities that share African roots, Seminar participants will trace how legacies of slavery, colonialism, and segregation have rendered black bodies particularly vulnerable to misapprehension, oppression, and exploitation in medicine. The Seminar will show how the enduring effects of this shared history are manifested in people’s exposure to and experiences living with chronic health conditions.

The Postdoctoral Fellow will assist with the coordination of the Seminar series and will contribute to tasks related to attracting participants, assessing its content and audience, and disseminating the findings, including developing promotional materials and the website. There will be a one-course teaching requirement in the fellowship year. The Fellow also will contribute to the curation of the Spencer Museum of Art’s exhibition, Healing, Seeing, Knowing the Body (to open at the conclusion of the Seminar), and the organization of talks by external scholars. The Fellowship will include a $3,000 research and travel fund that the Fellow can use to attend conferences, to travel to archives or research sites, or to purchase research-related resources.

Job Description

The Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow will work closely with the co-directors of the Sawyer Seminar, Drs. Kathryn Rhine (AAAS/GEOG), Abel Chikanda (AAAS/GEOG), and Cassandra Mesick Braun (SMA) to develop, implement, and evaluate programming related to the 2019-2020 Sawyer Seminar.

Duties will be as follows:

45% Programming and Administration for the Sawyer Seminar: Assist with the coordination of the Seminar including tasks related to attracting participants, organizing presentations by external scholars, assessing the Seminar’s content and audience, developing promotional materials and website, disseminating findings, and contributing to the curation of the Spencer Museum of Art’s exhibition, Healing, Seeing, Knowing the Body (to open at the conclusion of the Seminar).
30% Research: Conduct research on a substantial, publishable project while in residence at the University of Kansas. Participate in the intellectual environments of the Kansas African Studies Center, the Hall Center for the Humanities, and the Spencer Museum of Art by attending seminars, colloquia, and other relevant scholarly development programs. Present on research at conferences of national or international status.
20% Teaching: Teach a semester-long undergraduate course in the Department of African and African-American Studies.
5% Other Duties as Assigned in support of the Seminar.

Required Qualifications

  1. Ph.D. in a related field at the time of appointment

NOTE: To be appointed at the Postdoctoral Researcher title, it is necessary to have the PhD conferred at the time of hire. Appointments made without a diploma or certified transcript indicating an earned doctorate are conditional hires and are appointed on an acting basis not to exceed 6-months. Upon verification of degree the appointment will be extended to its full duration.

Contact Information to Applicants

Kathryn Rhine

Additional Candidate Instruction

To apply, please submit the following materials:

  1. A cover letter containing a description of your research interests and a proposed work plan for the fellowship year.
  2. A current curriculum vitae
  3. A writing sample (approximately 25 pages)
  4. A course proposal: 2-3 page proposal for an undergraduate course
  5. Contact information for two referees

Review of applications will be on March 18, 2019 and continue until a qualified candidate pool has been identified.

Advertised Salary Range


Application Review Begins


Anticipated Start Date


Limited Term End Date


Work Location

University of Kansas – Lawrence





FLSA Status

Professional (Salaried)

Employee Class

U-Unclassified Professional Staff

Work Schedule

40 hours/week

Job Family


Conditions of Employment

Contingent on Funding, Limited Term


The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university’s programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access,, 1246 West Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY 9for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses); Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS 66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas medical center campuses).


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