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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# 66440: Postdoctoral Fellowship, History Richards Civil War Era Center/Africana Research Center, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

The Richards Civil War Era Center and the Africana Research Center invite applications for a one-year postdoctoral fellowship in African-American history, beginning August 2017. 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 fellow 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 fellow also will invite two senior scholars to campus to read and comment on the fellow’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 fellowship 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, 2016 and continue until the position has been filled. Apply online at Three letters of reference should be addressed to the attention of the ESSS Selection Committee and submitted as email attachments to  Please direct questions about the process via e-mail to

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2016-17 Postdoctoral Fellow

Amira Rose DavisAmira Rose Davis received her doctorate in History from Johns Hopkins University in 2016. Her research interests include African-American gender history, sports, politics, and the history of black institutions. Her dissertation, “Watch What We Do: The Politics and Possibilities of Black Women’s Athletics, 1910-1970” examines the intellectual and institutional development of recreational, competitive and professional sporting opportunities for black women in the United States. In tracing the long history of black women’s athletic participation, this research explores the ways in which gendered power dynamics, particularly intra-racial ones, mediated black Americans’ engagement with athletics and physical culture. The study draws on a wide array of sources including black newspapers, black college and university records and oral histories. Her article “No League of their Own: Baseball, Black Women and the Politics of Representation,” is forthcoming from Radical History Review. She will spend her fellowship year completing follow up oral history interviews, working on an article on black college protests in the 1920s and revising her dissertation for publication.

Amira Rose Davis' manuscript workshop on Jan. 27, 2017Dr. Amira Rose Davis' (Richards Center Postdoctoral Fellow) manuscript workshop: "Watch What We Do": The Politics and Possibilities of Black Women's Athletics, 1910-1970, with invited scholars Frank Guridy, Associate Professor at Columbia University and Elsa Barkley Brown, Associate Professor of History & Women's Studies and Affiliate Faculty in African American Studies & American Studies at the University of Maryland. 

Postdoctoral Fellowship Funding

The postdoctoral fellowship was made possible by the generous support of Dick and Angie Clark, Bobby and Bonnie Hammel, Tracy and Ted McCourtney, and Hal 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.