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Post-Doctoral Fellowships in the Environmental Humanities

Applications are invited for two twelve-month post-doctoral fellowship for research and study in the Environmental Humanities at the University of Cape Town, one funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation and the other by the National Research Foundation (NRF), commencing in February 2016.

About the Environmental Humanities: 
Debates about ecology, energy and natural resource management in Southern Africa are often trapped in a polemic between ‘development’ and ‘the environment’. With the goal of reimagining and reconfiguring the terms of such exchanges, and exploring the specific ways in which they take form in the global south, the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Cape Town is launching a new interdisciplinary research initiative to support the emergence of an Environmental Humanities of the South.  Supported by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, the Initiative is grounded in a new taught M.Phil specialising in the Environmental Humanities, and it encompasses the research group ‘Environmental Humanities South'.
With topics ranging from scientific modelling to government policy, from social justice movements to the creative arts, the programme will examine questions of sustainability, wellbeing and the environment in their broadest sense.  In a 21st-century context of increasing pressure on the biosphere, the environmental humanities provide a vital intellectual space that enables researchers, students, artists, writers, scientists, policy-makers and practitioners to reflect critically on the concepts that underlie environmentalism in a time of climate change.

Of particular interest would be research projects that address environmental concerns related to the following themes, as viewed through any field including the creative and performing arts, literature, film and media, historical studies, sociology, anthropology, African studies, law and health:
  • Race and the making of an environmental public
  • The militarisation of conservation
  • The anthropocene amid the challenges of the decolonising South
  • Nature and democracy 
  • Space, place, land and infrastructure  
Academic Criteria and Requirements: 
Applicants are required to have obtained a PhD in a relevant field of study within the previous five years.  

Duration and Value of Awards:

1) NRF post-doctoral fellowship: Only available for South African citizens; renewable for one year.
2) Mellon post-doctoral fellowship: For any nationality; for one year.
A modest additional grant will be available for research costs for each Fellowship.

Conditions of the Award: 
  • The Awards will be made in support of the completion of a substantial publication project, with preference for the development of a book manuscript relevant to one of the themes of the Environmental Humanities research project. For more information on research interests of the collective, please see the website:
  • The Post-Doctoral Fellows will be required to participate in the two core courses of the M Phil in Environmental Humanities, and in the Environmental Humanities Seminar Programme.
  • Post-Doctoral Fellows must be able to supervise student dissertations in this field.
  • The Post-Doctoral Fellows will be appointed on the standard terms and conditions applicable to psot-doctoral fellows at UCT, and will be expected to contribute actively to the development of the field at UCT in various teaching, research, supervisory, editorial and/or administrative capacities, up to a maximum average of twelve hours per week.  
  • The Fellows will be required to contribute at least one research-based article to popular media per annum, and have at least one article in press in a peer-reviewed journal by the conclusion of the fellowship.

Application for the Post-Doctoral Fellowship
Due date:
The final date for applications is the 31st October 2015.  Applications will be evaluated competitively by a selection committee and announcements will be made by 30 November 2015

Application process: 
  • To apply for the Fellowship, please send the following documents to a cover letter describing why you wish to study in this area; a 750- 1000-word description of a research interest or specific project that links with the Environmental Humanities in the South; and the names of three referees together with their telephone numbers and email addresses, together with a detailed curriculum vitae and transcripts of your academic record.
  • Upon acceptance by the selection committee, you will be asked to register.  For information on UCT post-doctoral fellowships and relevant forms, please visit .
  • More information on the processes and requirements can also be found at: 
  • For further information, please contact A/Prof Lesley Green at Please use “Environmental Humanities post-doc enquiry ” as the subject line.
About Post-Doctoral Fellowships in South Africa:
Postdoctoral Research Fellowships are normally awarded to individuals within five years of having achieved a doctoral degree. Postdoctoral Research Fellows are individuals who undertake research and gain professional experience for a future academic career, under the supervision and mentorship of a Principal Investigator. The purpose of the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship is to provide an opportunity for experiential learning in research, which may serve as a path for further academic and professional development.
Useful links:
•    UCT Environmental Humanities website:
•    The UCT Post Graduate Funding Office website:  
•    UCT Online application forms:
•    A step-by-step guide to the application process: