Visiting Fellows Program

Applications for the 2020 Humanities Research Centre Visiting Fellowship Program – on the theme of 'Liberalism(s)' – are now open.

The concept of ‘liberalism’ or ‘liberal culture’ is central to modern social and political thinking, as it is to the content and conduct of the humanities generally. At different times, both the provenance and authenticity of liberalism as a coherent philosophy or ideology have been contested, as has the desirability of liberalism’s principles and institutions. Today, liberalism is once again under threat, and many of its structuring principles and institutions – individualism, pluralism, internationalism, secularism, freedom of speech, free trade, representative democracy, and the rule of law – face escalating challenges in one country after another. As the middle class, the core constituency of liberalism, experience stagnation and frustration in the Global North, can the emerging middle class in the Global South still be considered agents of liberalisation?

In 2020, the Humanities Research Centre is inviting scholars from all over the world to explore the history and philosophy, politics and prospects of liberalism. We will begin by asking what exactly is liberalism – or should we be talking about ‘liberalisms’ in the plural? Is there a set of internally consistent ideas that adds up to what we can call ‘liberalism’ and, if there is, how did liberalism develop in the lead up to the early nineteenth century, when select people and parties first began characterising themselves as ‘liberal’? Scholars are invited to explore fictional and non-fictional texts, along with other historical and contemporary socio-cultural phenomena, which can be identified as sites in and through which the liberal subject has been projected and cultivated. How does liberalism balance the desire for individual freedom with the need for collective authority? Is freedom of expression in the humanities and the creative arts only possible within a liberal culture – or is liberalism, at some level, antipathetic to the arts? Can liberalism explain and engage the emotions? Can it accommodate illiberalism? Have extreme forms of liberalism, like neo-liberalism, with its stress on self-interest and its reduction of all values to those of the market place, disrupted or destroyed the development of a liberal future?

The HRC looks forward to your contribution to a debate of vital importance to the future of the humanities.


Fellowship Categories

• Visiting Fellowships (with grant) The standard period of tenure for an HRC Visiting Fellowship is from a minimum of six to a maximum of twelve weeks. The grant covers travel and accommodation. The maximum contribution for travel is $3,000 AUD. Accommodation is in a one bedroom, self-contained apartment on the university campus. (This financial assistance for travel and accommodation expenses is not a salary replacement. No stipend or living allowance is attached to this fellowship.) While participating in seminars and other activities at other Australian universities is encouraged, Visiting Fellows are not expected to be away for more than 7 days on any one occasion during their fellowships.

• Visiting Fellowships (without grant). Academic staff from other Australian universities, as well as from national or international cultural institutions, may apply to use the facilities at the HRC and contribute to its intellectual life during their periods of research leave (e.g. sabbatical). These awards do not provide financial assistance and are dependent on the availability of office space in the Centre.

Visiting Fellowships, HRC-ANU Gender Institute (with grant) The HRC offers a dedicated HRC ANU Gender institute (GI) Fellowship as part of its annual round. The ANU Gender Institute was established in 2011 as a cross-campus virtual Institute to provide a focus for existing activity on issues of gender and sexuality and a catalyst to develop and deepen them. The Gender Institute has two distinct but related tasks. One is to support and deepen research, education, and outreach on gender and sexuality across the University, in particular promoting collaboration and linkages in this area across the seven Colleges. The second is to support the employment and retention of women and LGBTI people at all levels, in all disciplines, across the University. To do this it works closely with ANU Diversity and Inclusion Unit on programs to support the attraction and retention of women staff. This fellowship enables the GI to showcase and involve a visitor whose work intersects with the focus of the Institute and the nominated theme of the HRC. Interested applicants should look at the research areas of focus identified by the GI and in their application suggest which node/s of the GI they would best intersect with (it may be more than one). See: The standard period of tenure for a GI Visiting Fellowship is 12 weeks. The grant covers travel and accommodation. The maximum contribution for travel is $3,000 AUD. Accommodation is in a one bedroom, self-contained apartment on the university campus. (This financial assistance for travel and accommodation expenses is not a salary replacement. No stipend or living allowance is attached to this fellowship.)



Applicants for fellowships must have an institutional affiliation to a University or equivalent research or cultural organisation, and generally have at least a higher research degree (or equivalent professional experience), research experience, and publications. These fellowships are not offered to independent scholars, nor to students working to complete a higher degree. International applicants are strongly encouraged. Visa documents, if required, are the responsibility of the applicant. The ANU will offer a formal letter of invitation to successful applicants which may be used for visa purposes.

Visiting Fellows are expected to participate in the programs of the Centre and the College, meet regularly with other fellows, make public presentations of their research at the Centre’s weekly seminar series, possibly offer to contribute to a graduate seminar/master class, and avail themselves of other opportunities for scholarly exchange. Visitors must be in residence for at least 75% of their appointment.


Assessment Process

The criteria for assessing nominations include academic distinction demonstrated by the standard measures of academic level and place of appointment, record of publication, honours and awards; the relevance of the proposed research to the annual theme; referee contact details; potential or identified links with researchers and programs and activities in other parts of the Australian National University, especially in the College of Arts and Social Sciences.

Selection of Visiting Fellows for the 2020 program will be announced by 30 June 2019. The HRC strives, in its selection process, to have a mixture of early career scholars along with more established researchers, and to achieve a gender balance. While preference will be given to those whose work is relevant to the 2020 annual theme, fellowships occasionally may also be awarded to scholars working elsewhere in the broad field of Humanities.

The Centre does not discriminate for or against any applicant on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, age, medical record, marital status, impairment, disability, nationality, or sexual preference.


Application procedure

1. Application Form:

Applicants should submit a completed application form.

2. CV

Your CV should include a list of publications and/or professional activities.

2. Project Proposal

Applicants should provide a one to two page description and the title of their planned research project.

3.  Referees’ contact details:

Applicants need to identify and provide the contact details of two to three referees. The referees of shortlisted applicants will be contacted directly by the HRC.


Application Form

Applicant Guidelines


The deadline for applications and comments is 31 May 2019. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Application outcomes wil be announced by 30 June 2019.


Please email your application to:

Ms Penny Brew

Senior Centre Administrator, Humanities Research Centre



Enquiries to:

Professor Will Christie

Head, Humanities Research Centre


T: +61 2 6125 0151




Updated:  5 April 2019/Responsible Officer:  Head, Centre/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications