Interseminars Graduate Fellowships

Interseminars is designed to prepare graduate students to be adept at both navigating and actively shaping the kind of higher education landscapes and cultures they want to see in the 21st century.

The third and final call for Interseminars graduate fellows has closed. The information posted here is for reference only.



The Interseminars fellowship is an eighteen-month interdisciplinary graduate experience that runs from the summer of 2024 through the fall of 2025. Students in the fellowship receive a full academic year of support (2024–2025, $25,000) plus two summer stipends (summer 2024 and 2025, $5,000 per year), and an additional $2,250 in research funds.

Interseminars welcomes applications from graduate students in all disciplines across the arts and humanities whose research or creative practices connect with the 2024–2025 theme: Collisions across Color Lines. Applicants should be in coursework during the 2024–2025 academic year and prepared to enroll in one Interseminars course each semester. The fellowship also includes a week-long intensive workshop each summer and culminates in a public-facing event in fall 2025. We are especially interested in fostering interdisciplinary work between the humanities and the arts that is committed to social, racial, economic, and gender justice. Students from populations historically underrepresented in graduate education are particularly encouraged to apply.


Interested in applying for the fellowship but want to learn more? View a recording of the October 2023 information session.

2024–25 HRI Interseminars theme: Collisions across Color Lines

Collisions across Color Lines is an invitation to work collectively in a critical interrogation of deeply embedded intersecting structures of race and inequality and how they periodically erupt in the Americas, if not the globe. In the best tradition of the humanities, we will work across our methodological and theoretical differences, to develop an intersectional, interdisciplinary, queer, and global framework to these ends. At stake in our Interseminar are the collisions between lived experiences of race and racism; their relation with the movement of people, ideas, and revolutionary imaginaries that span the hemisphere; and the structures within which knowledge is produced and reproduced. We envision “collisions” as a productive lens for critically exploring how activists, artists, and other intellectuals reckon with the regional epistemes and (re)making of race and racism as they relate to anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, the vexed and complicated position of other impoverished and racialized mestizo or other “Brown” communities, particularly migrants and those otherwise crossing international boundaries, and related formations of oppression, gender and sexualities foremost among them.

Collisions across Color Lines will be student-centered. We envision a creative and collaborative space beneficial to graduate students in the coursework stage of their programs. They will actively take part in designing the Interseminar and in shaping what they believe graduate education should look like. Additionally, we will devote significant attention to discussions of navigating higher education, grant writing, and career planning, both in and outside of academia. Given these objectives, the Interseminar fellowship will provide interdisciplinary skills beneficial to students as they pursue subsequent graduate work and career possibilities.

Forging a broad and inclusive community of intellectuals from across the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences, committed to transforming graduate education, to advancing social justice, and to building a better future world constitute key objectives of our Interseminar. We recognize that activists locally, nationally, and hemispherically, involved in anti-racist and related struggles, produce knowledge, generate critique, and spawn liberatory imaginaries. To this end, we will disrupt the ideological divides between town and gown, taking the seminar off campus and inviting community-based practitioners to campus bearing in mind the critical and problematic legacies such practices have incurred. Situating our Interseminar in wider communities seeks to recapture the politics of solidarity and insurgent politics embedded within the histories of ethnic studies and gender and women’s studies, as well as other critical currents found in the humanities and arts. We are especially committed to bringing together graduate students from historically underrepresented communities and a diverse range of national origins both within and beyond the Americas to draw from and contribute to these intellectual, affective, and embodied genealogies and traditions.

Mentoring will be critical to forging our community and to advancing interdisciplinarity, critical thinking, globality, justice, and social transformation. We understand that mentoring extends beyond the basic tasks of advising or directing and includes activities and assistance that supports graduate students through their graduate careers and beyond. Convened by three interdisciplinary scholars whose work is grounded in African American Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, Latina/Latino Studies, History, and Political Science, our Interseminar builds on our commitment to activist research, pedagogy, artistry, and performance that mobilizes the university and redistributes its resources towards liberation and a better future world.

What to Expect:

Fellows will enroll in an Interseminar course each semester during the 2024-25 academic year, as well as week-long summer intensive workshops in Summer 2024 and 2025. Students will engage in study and struggle with a cohort of students from across the arts and humanities disciplines across multiple semesters. The fall 2024 and spring 2025 seminar courses will integrate theory, method, and practice in our critical examination of collisions along color lines across the Americas. In each course faculty and students will explore texts and creative works that grapple with pressing social issues and the multiple methods used in conducting and presenting research. The fall semester will emphasize experimentation, interdisciplinary research skills, and theoretical grounding as students collaboratively produce writing and creative work on a weekly basis in response to textual and creative prompts. The spring semester course will be used to specify case studies and engage in active collaborative research.

Students will have the opportunity to engage with an array of visiting scholars, activists, and artists and will co-design a Fall 2025 culminating event.

Collisions across Color Lines will involve two week-long workshops in Summer 2024 and Summer 2025. The 2024 summer intensive workshop is an opportunity to get to know one another and co-create the syllabus of each Interseminars course. The 2025 summer intensive will focus on finalizing the culminating event to be held in fall 2025.

The Interseminars Project Faculty will work closely with fellows through the entire fellowship period, offering individualized and group mentorship and accompaniment through case study research. Students will be expected to actively participate in all Interseminars-sponsored activities.

The Interseminars Initiative is supported by the Mellon Foundation, the Graduate College, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Fine and Applied Arts, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation.

Application Deadline Date


Champaign-Urbana campus PhD, DMA, and MFA graduate students from across the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences are eligible to apply for this fellowship opportunity. Please note that students in combined MA/PhD programs are eligible to apply, while those in master’s-only programs outside of an MFA are not. Graduate students from self-supporting programs, such as an MBA or MLIS, are ineligible. Applicants should be in the coursework phase, since the Interseminars fellowship requires participation in an Interseminars course in both fall 2024 and spring 2025. Graduate students from historically underrepresented backgrounds are particularly encouraged to apply. Fellowship support is intended to provide full funding and is a tuition waiver-generating appointment during the 2024–25 academic year and corresponding summers. Fellowship support is intended to fully support graduate fellows for the academic year without need for other research or teaching appointments.

All Interseminars Fellows are required to maintain residency on the Illinois campus (residing within a 20-mile radius) during the 2024–25 academic award year, be available in person for the summer 2024 and 2025 week-long intensive workshops, and participate in all elements of the fellowship.


  • Fellowship stipend of $25,000 for the 2024–2025 academic year, including a tuition and partial fee waiver.
  • A summer fellowship of $5,000 per graduate student fellow per summer for two years (2024 and 2025), dispersed over the course of three months, from May 16–August 15 each year.
  • Research funds of $2,250 per student (which can be used for travel, books, and other research-related expenses). These funds will be managed by HRI.
  • Fellowship support is intended to obviate the need for other tuition waiver-generating appointments during the 2024–25 academic year. Except in rare cases, the Interseminars fellowship should not be held concurrently with any other waiver-generating appointments.

Application Guidelines

The application must be completed and submitted via the application form no later than 11:59 p.m. on November 15, 2023.

Apply now

Applicants must submit the following materials as a single PDF (documents should be in 12-point Times New Roman font, with one-inch margins; materials that exceed the required length will not be considered):

  • 1000-word research or artist statement identifying how your work connects to the theme of Collisions across Color Lines. What theories and methods are you interested in learning, contributing, practicing? How would you describe the stakes of your research interests?
    • Include your commitment to racial and social equity. This may take the form of a description of how your work engages with these themes or a personal statement describing your commitment to these subjects.
    • Conclude by confirming your willingness to participate in all Interseminars activities, including two summer workshops (summer 2024 and 2025), a course each semester of 2024–2025 academic year, and a culminating event in fall 2025.
  • A current curriculum vitae, including a list of all U of I graduate courses taken, papers published, presentations made, assistantships and fellowships held, and any relevant skills one brings to interdisciplinarity (photography, design, DJing, languages, hardware/software, etc.) (maximum 5 pages).
  • Work sample that is representative of your scholarly or artistic interests. This can take the form of an excerpt from an academic paper (between 5–10 pages), a portfolio, or performance. This sample should be exemplary of your academic or artistic practice but does not need to engage the theme of Collisions across Color Lines.

Selection Criteria

The applications will be reviewed by the Interseminars team and Advisory Committee, who will make their award recommendations to HRI; the HRI Director and the Assistant Director for Education and Outreach/Interseminars Coordinator serve on the committee in an ex officio capacity. 

Submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria: the applicant’s scholarly/artistic promise and relationship to the theme of Collisions across Color Lines, commitment to racial and social justice, strong interest in interdisciplinary studies, and the case made for how the Interseminars experience would be beneficial to the student. 


All applications will be acknowledged via email, and all applicants will be notified December 20th, when the search has concluded. Please do not contact HRI about the status of an application unless you are having difficulties with online submission; because of the volume of applications HRI receives, we are unable to answer questions about the suitability of particular research topics or the progress of the review and selection process.


Questions about these fellowships may be sent to the Interseminars account.