The Folger Institute is pleased to announce the 2022-2023 cohort of research fellows. Two years of virtual fellowships and programming have taught us the importance of supporting not only collections-based research, but also the various forms research support must take to create more equitable access to funding opportunities. Our virtual fellowships have supported and will continue to support time to write, summer teaching releases, caregiving responsibilities, digital humanities initiatives, and the creation of undergraduate course materials, in addition to time to consult online resources or request the digitization of materials. As the Folger building renovation project turns the corner from excavation to construction proper, the Institute continues in our commitment to support and foster increased equity in and diversity of early modern scholarship.
The 2022-23 cohort of 51 virtual fellows is an important snapshot of emerging foci and methodologies within our research communities. Respect for the environment and concern over environmental degradation, recovering indigenous histories, connections between culture, difference, race, and power, histories of oppression and prejudice, and disability and queer studies, in addition to new approaches to addressing the limits of the archive, are just some of the many important topics our fellows will engage with this year.
The Artist Research Fellowship program has been an important mechanism for expanding the community of researchers and supporting the vital research that underlies creative projects. In 2022-2023, nine Artist Research Fellows bring exciting perspectives and innovative ways of making to topics ranging from eating disorders in Tudor England to indigenous objectification, the dialogue between LGBTQ history and a Folger manuscript grimoire, and the Black founder of Chicago. These projects also span an impressive range of artistic genres, including poetry, conceptual art, theatre, screenwriting, and filmmaking.
Folger MS V.b.26 (1), p.164, Book of Magic
Another important aspect of this year’s program is a focus on maximizing the impact and use of available online books and manuscripts as well as digital methodologies and approaches. For example, a digitized genealogy, geography, economics and law and a recipe for a heartease cordial on LUNA form the foundation of two of our fellows’ projects. The first engages with Native Studies and Critical Indigenous Studies to rethink colonial and domestic land-relationships, while the second remakes an early modern cordial to explore the significance of botanicals in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In consultation with the Folger’s Digital Media and Publications department several fellows will also harness the power of digital humanities methods to unlock early modern handwriting, prepare bulk data sets for scholarly and public use, and build a digital repository of LatinX Shakespeare.
Folger MS V.a.452, p.75, “Cordialls”
Community building and opportunities for public engagement remain integral parts of our virtual fellowship program. In addition to quarterly Zoom meetups, partnerships with members of the Folger Researcher Services team, the opportunity to share work by writing for The Collation, and casual chatter on a dedicated Slack channel, Institute staff will coordinate two new platforms for engagement this year. The first will be a series of weekly public-facing spotlights on @FolgerResearch, dubbed “#FellowsFriday.” This series will highlight the individual projects of our fellows and give them the opportunity to engage with public audiences. The second new program we are piloting is a year-long academic writing group, which will provide fellows with weekly accountability meetings and the opportunity to engage in monthly interdisciplinary feedback sessions.
As always, our goal is to meet the needs of scholars and our communities, which is why we will continue to offer virtual fellowships alongside residential fellowships upon the Folger’s reopening. Now in our third year of virtual fellows, we will build on our experience and former fellows’ feedback to expand, experiment, and energize our fellowship offerings with an eye toward the Folger’s re-opening in Fall 2023. Stay tuned this fall to learn more about our exciting new fellowship models! We are looking forward to the creative, challenging, and expansive perspectives this new cohort will bring to the Folger community in the coming months. To stay current on updates from our fellows, be sure to sign up for the Institute’s bi-monthly Research Bulletin newsletter and follow us on Twitter @FolgerResearch.