Institute for the Arts and Humanities

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Postdoctoral/MFA Fellowship

Postdoctoral/ MFA Fellowship: 2014-15

For artists and humanists, these are extraordinary times: our sense of “the human” is undergoing remarkable transformations, with implications for the future of all life on the planet. But has “humanism” been part of the problem all along? How should we think differently–about the biosphere and the social world–if we are going to avoid realizing our deepest dystopian fears?

The Penn State IAH welcomes applications from scholars and artists who have received their terminal degrees (PhDs in the humanities, MFAs in the fine and performing arts, Masters or beyond in design fields such as architecture) within the past three years (after May 1, 2011). Terminal degrees must be in hand by July 1, 2014. Applications should include a CV, contact information for two references, a project description of 1000 words, and (for applicants in the arts or design) a hyperlink or other access to a digital portfolio. The fellowship stipend is $46,000 plus benefits and a $4,000 research fund. An office will be provided at the Institute. The successful candidate will be asked to teach a course, lead a faculty/graduate student research group, and/or organize a symposium. Further, it is expected that the fellow will take part in the intellectual life of campus by working with faculty and students, attending symposia and events, and contributing to meetings and discussions presented by IAH.

All application materials must be submitted through by January 15, 2014.

For more information, call (814) 865-0495 or write to

Employment will require successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with University policies. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workforce.

2013-14 IAH Postdoctoral Fellows

Craig Eley Craig Eley
“Hearing Humans Hearing Nature”

Craig Eley earned his Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa. His project while at the IAH is "Hearing Humans Hearing Nature," which comes out of research for his recently completed dissertation, "Making Silence Audible: Sound, Nature, Technology, 1890-1970." That project focuses on the history of commercially released environmental sound recordings and their impact within a broad range of technological and cultural practices, including film sound, museum display, ornithology, psychoacoustics, experimental music, and environmental activism. He is currently working on expanding and transforming portions of that dissertation into a digital humanities project on the history of the sonic boom. He is also working on Field Noise, an online commons for sound studies research and pedagogy.

In the spring semester, Craig will teach a class called "The Nature of Sound / The Sound of Nature," which will be a historical and theoretical inquiry into how humans have historically defined "natural" sounds and their relationship to them. In addition to traditional coursework, the class will include the opportunity for students to engage with and critically examine contemporary environmental sound practices such as field recording and sound walking.

Craig Eley's Class

Ida Meftahi Ida Meftahi
"Body National in Motion"

Ida Meftahi earned her Ph.D. in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations from the University of Toronto, and holds a Master’s in Dance from York University, Canada. Ida has presented and published in fields ranging from Iranian and Middle Eastern Studies to Dance Studies.

During Ida's fellowship, she will be co- organizing a lecture series on Tehran, while developing a book built upon her Ph.D. dissertation. Through a transdisciplinary historiographical exploration of the dancing body, and discourse on dance in the twentieth-century Iran, Ida's research offers a genealogy of modern Iranian biopolitics and the political economy of public performance and entertainment.

In the spring semester, Ida will teach an interdisciplinary historical course on the performing arts in the Middle East. Utilizing literature on history and the performing arts of the Middle East; the pertinent theoretical perspectives on nationalism, modernity, gender and representation; and a variety of multimedia materials, the course will encourage the students to question and possibly revisit their understanding of the region.

Ida Meftahi's Class


View Past IAH Fellows