Postdoctoral Fellowships

To submit your POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION online for either fellowship, please CLICK HERE

The POSTDOCTORAL Fellowship deadlines have passed for 2019-2021. Please check back in August 2019 to apply for the 2020-2022 postdoctoral fellowships.


The McNeil Center for Early American Studies expects to appoint postdoctoral fellows in two distinct categories for terms beginning in 2019. Each fellow will enjoy private office space in the Center’s building at the northeastern gateway to the University of Pennsylvania campus; library, computer, and other privileges at the university; and access to the Philadelphia area’s magnificent manuscript, rare book, and museum collections. Within the parameters described below, applications are welcome from scholars whose work focuses on any aspect of the histories and cultures of North America in the Atlantic world before 1850. Proposals reliant on research in Philadelphia-area archives, libraries, and museums are especially welcome.

Barra Postdoctoral Fellowship
(24 months, 2019-2021)

This award is for a two-year term beginning 1 July 2019. Applicants must have earned the PhD no earlier than 2014 in American History, American Literature, American Studies, or a closely allied field and must have completed all requirements for the degree when the appointment commences. During the term of appointment, the fellow will teach two courses in an appropriate department  at the University of Pennsylvania. The remainder of the fellow’s time will be devoted to research and writing. While this fellowship is particularly appropriate for projects designed to turn a doctoral dissertation into a publishable monograph, any proposal falling with in the Center’s area of interest will be considered. Candidates who have received McNeil Center funding for a related project at the pre-doctoral stage are not eligible. The Barra Postdoctoral Fellow will receive a starting stipend of $48,900, health insurance, and modest funds for travel and research.

Applications for the Barra fellowship must be submitted on line by 1 November 2018 (links above for completing the online application forms).

Barra Sabbatical Fellowship
(9 months, 2019-2020)

This award is for a nine-month term beginning 1 September 2019. This fellowship is designed for a scholar in any relevant discipline who will be on leave from a tenured or tenure-track faculty position for the 2019–2020 academic year. Proposals will be entertained for book-length projects falling with in the Center’s area of interest at any stage of research or writing, provided that the applicant has not previously received McNeil Center funding for the same or a closely related project. The fellow will have no teaching responsibilities but will be encouraged to provide informal mentoring to more junior members of the McNeil Center community while participating fully in the Center’s seminars and other activities. The award takes the form of a cash grant, paid either monthly directly to the fellow or in a lump sum to her or his home institution. The amount is negotiable, based on the assumption that the fellow will be receiving benefits and partial salary from the home institution.

Applications for the Barra Sabbatical fellowship must be submitted on line by 10 December 2018 (links above for completing the online application forms).

The following items for both fellowships must be prepared for uploading as .pdf files: a curriculum vitae; a proposal not to exceed 1,500 words, double-spaced, describing the general scope of the project and the specific work proposed during the fellowship term; and an unpublished writing sample related to the project, double-spaced, limited to 7,500 words exclusive of notes.

Two confidential letters of support should be uploaded separately by the letter writers or submitted by email to Please ask recommenders to address the specifics of this applications. Do not send generic letters from job placement dossiers.

Questions may be directed to:

The McNeil Center for Early American Studies
University of Pennsylvania
3355 Woodland Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4531

The online submission deadline for Barra Postdoctoral fellowship applications is 1 November 2018.

The online submission deadline for Barra Sabbatical fellowship applications is 10 December 2018.