Earning the Newcombe
I heard about the Newcombe fellowship from one of the professors on my dissertation committee, Rebecca Walkowitz. The program supports research related to religion and ethics, and she thought my project would be a good fit.
The application process involves pitching your work to an interdisciplinary group of readers. You submit a description of your dissertation, a statement of its relevance to the study of religion and ethics, and letters of recommendation.
A dissertation in its middle stages is so shape-shifting and messy you can easily get lost in the details—or at least I did!—so applying for a fellowship is actually a helpful process for writing the dissertation itself. It forces you to articulate in a limited number of words the major argument and significance of your project.
My dissertation, “Narratives of African Improvement: Missions, Humanitarianism, and the Novel,” looks at the resources literature provides for debates about humanitarian intervention and the relationship between Africa and the West.
I was thrilled and honored to hear that my fellowship application was selected. The feeling that keeps coming back to me, though, is one of deep gratitude to the professors on my dissertation committee: Rebecca Walkowitz, John McClure, and Stéphane Robolin. I feel so fortunate to have this wonderful team of supporters, who I have depended on throughout grad school.