Job Opening – Post-doctoral Fellowships (08/2011)

2011 August 26

2012-13 Post-doctoral Fellowships at the Center for Cultural Analysis
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, New Jersey

Form and formalism are terms that cut across nearly every discipline in the humanities and social sciences: from literary studies, music, and art history, to philosophy, law, and political science. Each field reserves a place for formal analysis or methods. On one definition, formalism refers to a consideration of aesthetic artifacts apart from the intentions of whoever created them, the responses they provoke, or the contexts in which they appeared. On another, formalism refers to the evaluation of ethical or legal actions independent of their circumstances and consequences. On still another, formalism refers to a way of modeling or representing a process, institution, or object in order to analyze its parts or predict its behavior. Formalism is sometimes used as a pejorative term, as the opposite of theory or historicism or simply as what remains once we subtract intention, outcome, context, content, and subject matter from the analysis. As academic, social, and artistic movements, however, the diverse formalisms have also presented opportunities for the promotion of particular values or ways of being. Our goal for the year will be a comparative discussion of formalism across the disciplines and an attempt to answer a seemingly intractable question: what do we talk about when we talk about form? The question is as old as Plato, but ripe for a renewed interdisciplinary conversation.

What does formalism look like now? What should it look like? In recent years, literary study has seen a fledgling attempt to define a new formalism in contrast to the widespread historicism of the discipline. How is this formalism different from what has preceded it? Can one identify a new formalism in ethics, law, or the social sciences? Can we generalize about the desires that drive the emergence of form as a concern or value? The CCA invites applications from all disciplines, including the literatures, art history, music, philosophy, and law.

In 2012-13, CCA will sponsor two external fellowships with awards of $45,000. CCA also awards non-funded associate fellowships. All fellows will have access to the Center’s resources during the tenure of the fellowship and will be expected to participate in and to present their work to the Center seminars, which meet regularly throughout the academic year.

Applications are invited through our new online portal:

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