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Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

In partnership with Penn State’s Africana Research Center, the Richards Center has established a competitive, one-year postdoctoral fellowship, commencing in the 2012-2013 academic year. The fellowship rewards recently graduated PhDs studying aspects of the African American experience from slavery to Civil Rights. While in residence, the fellow has access to the Center’s and the ARC’s professional resources, receives guidance from a mentor, and participates in a series of professional development workshops. The fellow will present his or her research to the graduate community and will invite senior scholars in their field to the university to comment on his or her work. 

Application and Submission Process

PSU# 73737: Postdoctoral Scholar, History

Richards Civil War Era Center/Africana Research Center, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

The Richards Civil War Era Center and the Africana Research Center invite applications for a one-year postdoctoral scholar in African-American history, beginning July 1, 2018. All research interests spanning the origins of slavery through the Civil Rights movement will receive favorable consideration. Proposals that mesh with the Richards Center’s interests in slavery, abolition, and emancipation, as well as comparative or Atlantic history, are especially welcome. During their residency, the scholar will have no teaching or administrative responsibilities. He or she will be matched with a mentor, attend professional development sessions and other relevant events, and will be expected to take an active part in Penn State’s community of Africana researchers. The scholar also will invite two senior scholars to campus to read and comment on the scholar’s project.  Successful applicants must have completed all requirements for the Ph.D. within the previous four academic years. Salary/benefit package is competitive. To be considered for this position, submit complete application packets including a cover letter describing your research and goals for the scholarship year, a curriculum vita (6 page maximum), and a writing sample of no more than 30 double-spaced pages. Review of materials will begin November 15, 2017 and continue until the position has been filled. Three letters of reference should be addressed to the attention of the ESSS Selection Committee and submitted as email attachments to richardscenter@psu.edu.  Please direct questions about the process via e-mail to richardscenter@psu.edu.  Apply online at https://psu.jobs/job/73737.

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2017-18 Postdoctoral Fellow

Alaina Roberts, 2017-18 Postdoctoral FellowAlaina Roberts received her PhD in June from Indiana University’s History Department. She received her Bachelor of Arts in History with honors in 2011 from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and in 2013 obtained her Master of Arts in History from Indiana University. Alaina has received research grants from the American Philosophical Society and the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society. Her research interests in Chickasaw freedpeople and the historical context of African American and Native American cultural connections stem from her own family background--her paternal great great grandparents were slaves of Chickasaw Indians.

Alaina's research explores the lives and identity discourses of the African American former slaves of Chickasaw Indians. Her dissertation delves into the intersection of Civil War and Reconstruction in the Chickasaw Nation and the actions of Chickasaw Freedpeople to gain Chickasaw or U.S. citizenship, establish schools for their children, and stake claims on land within the Chickasaw Nation that they and their families had come to call home. Alaina is also interested in tracing the way dialogues about Chickasaw Freedpeople and Afro-Chickasaws have been maintained through family oral histories.


Postdoctoral Fellowship Funding

The postdoctoral fellowship was made possible by the generous support of Richard and Angela Clark, Bobby and Bonnie Hammel, Tracy and Ted McCourtney, and Howell and Sandy Rosenberg. The fellowship significantly enhances the Center’s position as a national leader in advancing innovative scholarship in the Civil War era. Focused on African American history, the fellowship promotes research in a traditionally under-studied aspect of the history of this period.