Just Transformations Postdoctoral Fellowship

Just Transformations Postdoctoral Fellowship

The Pennsylvania State University is in its third year of a 3.1-million-dollar grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support its Just Transformations Initiative. This grant allows the University to expand existing programs and develop new initiatives focused on Black studies, racial justice, and diversifying academic communities and pipelines. The College of the Liberal Arts (https://la.psu.edu/) seeks applications from scholars who wish to advance their research or expand their digital and public-facing scholarship.

Up to six Postdoctoral Fellowships will be available for the 2024-25 Academic year. These are one-year, term appointments from the date of hire with a possibility for renewal.

We seek applicants who have a deep and demonstrated commitment to diversity in the academy whose research also focuses on the consequences of racial inequities, barriers to racial equality, and democratic social change and transformation. Scholars from historically underrepresented racial minority groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

As Just Transformations Postdocs, fellows will identify a department or research center/institute (as detailed below) with which to affiliate. Please indicate your preferred affiliation in the opening lines of your cover letter and provide any additional materials that may be required for consideration, as described below. Postdocs affiliated with a Center will also have the opportunity to become affiliated with a department.

Just Transformations Postdocs will enjoy the support of the College of the Liberal Arts' Office of Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship team (including the Initiative's Digital Liberal Arts Designer) and will have access to advanced training in digital methods as appropriate to their scholarly projects. No teaching responsibilities are required for these fellowships; however, teaching opportunities may be made available if the scholar wishes to pursue them.

Departments and research centers available for the Just Transformations Postdocs to affiliate with include:


  • Center for Black Digital Research/#DigBlk Fellow Affiliation: The Center for Black Digital Research (#DigBlk) is a public-facing research center that is committed to bringing the histories of nineteenth-century Black organizing to digital life through collaborative scholarship and project-based research. The Center is home to the award-winning Colored Conventions Project, Douglass Day, and the Black Women's Organizing Archive. Postdocs who join #DigBlk will work with an interdisciplinary, cross-institutional team of 25-30 members who meet regularly on collaborative research projects that include digital archive-building, exhibit-making, crowd-sourced transcription projects, community-arts partnerships, and scholarly and digital editions. Applicants for #DigBlk are encouraged to explain their interests and experience in working on team-based, archive-building projects that use digital methods to introduce new scholarly and public audiences to the history of Black organizing in the long nineteenth century.

  • Humanities Institute Affiliation: The Humanities Institute is dedicated to supporting research and teaching in the humanities that is shaped by a collaborative spirit and is alert to how humanities scholarship is crucial for broader conversations about pressing social issues. Several initiatives housed in the Institute are grounded in this mission, including organizing lectures, conferences, and workshops; a “public humanities initiative” for students and faculty whose humanities work connects to socially important questions (including the production of a televised documentary series); and support for collaborative research groups. Just Transformations Postdoctoral Fellows will be invited to participate in events, activities, or initiatives that resonate with their research interests.

  • Departmental affiliation: Departmental affiliations are available with the departments of African American Studies, English, History, and Philosophy.

More information on the Just Transformations Initiative can be found at https://www.psu.edu/news/research/story/mellon-foundation-awards-31-million-broad-diversity-education-initiative/

Applicants should have their Ph.D. in hand by August 2024. Applications should include (1) a cover letter indicating what department, Center, or Institute you seek affiliation/placement with, (2) a CV, (3) contact information for two references, and (4) a letter describing your work; how you would contribute to the goals of the Just Transformations Initiative and the Department, Center, or Institute you are seeking to join; and how your participation in this project would further your professional development.

Successful applicants will be distinguished by their scholarly excellence, commitment to social justice research and work, and by how their interests align with those of the Department, Center, or Institute that they become affiliated with, along with its values and mission. In addition, successful candidates must either have demonstrated a commitment to building an inclusive, equitable, and diverse campus community, or describe one or more ways they would envision doing so, given the opportunity.

It is expected that the Postdoctoral Fellows will work at Penn State's University Park, Pennsylvania, campus for the full academic year and contribute to the Just Transformations Initiative by participating in the intellectual life of the campus, working with faculty and students, attending symposia and events, and contributing to Just Transformations or affiliated Center/Department meetings and discussions.

Apply online at Penn State's Job Posting Board. (https://psu.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/PSU_Academic/job/Penn-State-University-Park/Just-Transformations-Postdoctoral-Fellowship_REQ_0000050562-2) Please note: system limitations allow for a total of 5 documents (5mb per document) as part of your application. Please combine materials to meet the 5-document limit. Review of applications will begin after January 9, 2024, and continue until the fellowships are awarded.

More information on the benefits offered with this position can be found at https://www.research.psu.edu/opa/benefits.

Penn State is committed to and accountable for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of its forms. We embrace individual uniqueness, foster a culture of inclusion that supports both broad and specific diversity initiatives, leverage the educational and institutional benefits of diversity, and engage all individuals to help them thrive. We value inclusion as a core strength and an essential element of our public service mission.


Pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act and the Pennsylvania Act of 1988, Penn State publishes a combined Annual Security and Annual Fire Safety Report (ASR). The ASR includes crime statistics and institutional policies concerning campus security, such as those concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. The ASR is available for review here.

Employment with the University will require successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with University policies.


Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. If you are unable to use our online application process due to an impairment or disability, please contact 814-865-1473.

Apply online at https://psu.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/PSU_Academic/job/Penn-State-University-Park/Just-Transformations-Postdoctoral-Fellowship_REQ_0000050562-2?q=REQ_0000050562

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