The National Park Service (NPS) and the National Park Foundation (NPF) invite scholars who are no more than three years beyond receipt of the doctorate to apply for a two-year National Park Service Mellon Humanities Postdoctoral fellowship, potentially renewable for one additional year. The Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement will begin in September 2018. This fellowship is made possible by support from the National Park Foundation through a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

NPS has followed up the Civil War to Civil Rights commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with an ongoing national effort to research and commemorate the many struggles for Civil Rights in America, with the intent to provide public opportunities to connect learning about the past to relevant issues today. NPS recognizes that the public humanities can both expand personal and societal knowledge and encourage the creative imagination needed to address social challenges rooted in history. NPS is committed to the transfer of knowledge to many publics through national parks and programs. The agency is also committed to sharing knowledge within the workforce, supporting our mission by providing learning and development for staff.  The national park system has expanded significantly with the addition of new park units providing opportunities for NPS to tell more comprehensive national stories of all Americans.  The Fellow’s research will assist new national park units, creating connections between them and other cultural and historical national parks to tell national stories more effectively. NPS is committed to developing effective audience-centered interpretation and K-12 educational materials to engage visitors (physical and virtual) in these stories, even when those stories can be contested and uncomfortable.

The Fellow will work with NPS mentors and as a member of a collaborative humanities research team of three Fellows. The Fellow will have a faculty mentor from the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi. There are four project outcomes expected, each determined in consultation between the Fellow and their NPS and academic mentors.

  1. Research. A. Baseline summary: The Fellow will assess and summarize current relevant scholarship, including explanation and assessment of a variety of theoretical orientations and varying perspectives, in order to make recommendations to the NPS about further humanities research that would support stewardship and educational needs pertinent to the theme of the fellowship. B. New or applied research: The Fellow will undertake research relevant to the theme of the fellowship.
  2. Online seminars. The Fellow, as part of the research team, will make presentations to NPS staff service-wide via quarterly online seminars.
  3. Interpretive or Educational products. The Fellow will develop interpretive or educational products based on their scholarly research.
  4. Career-focused research and product. The Fellow will dedicate up to 20 percent of their time to pursue research on a career-centered project.

Applicants must possess US citizenship and have a Ph.D. in the humanities or humanistic social sciences by August 2018 (history, museology, archaeology, philosophy, ethnic studies, women’s studies, American Studies, anthropology, or related disciplines). Applicants must demonstrate comfort with working collaboratively and across disciplinary boundaries; excellent research, writing, and communication skills; flexibility and the capacity to learn quickly; and a strong interest in public scholarship. Selective factors include the merit of scholarship and promise, commitment to the public humanities, and capacity to complete research successfully. Fellowship is contingent upon a successful security background check.

Application: Applications must be submitted in pdf format by email only to with the subject line: last name, first name – 2018-Legacy of Civil Rights Movement.  For best consideration, apply by January 17, 2018.


  1. cover letter stating interest and vision for the fellowship (letters may include a summary of the dissertation, a statement of personal research interests and plans, discussion of past engagement with public humanities, discussion of willingness to participate fully in NPS research and education programs);
  2. comprehensive curriculum vitae;
  3. writing sample accessible to the general public;
  4. confirmation of Ph.D. award by August 1, 2018; and
  5. three letters of recommendation. The letters of recommendation should be sent directly by the recommender to with the subject line: LETTER last name, first name – 2018-Legacy of Civil Rights Movement.

The two-year Fellowship begins September 1, 2018 and ends August 30, 2020. The location is Washington, DC. NPS will provide the Fellow with a workstation. Compensation is $60,000 for year one and $61,800 for year two plus an annual $7,000 allowance for health benefits as well as research costs (conferences and publications) of $3,000 per year. One-time moving expenses of $1500 will be provided. Travel funding is provided for three NPS meetings per year and two additional trips to research-associated parks.  The Fellowship may not be held concurrently with any other fellowship or grant, or employment (part-time or full-time).