Beyond Disinterestedness: The Value of Skill-Building and Career-Building Opportunities for Future Leaders in the Humanities

Saturday, January 5, 2019: 4:10 PM
Spire Parlor (Palmer House Hilton)
Yota Batsaki, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection
Yota Batsaki will examine why skill-building opportunities strengthen and broaden the prospects of early-career humanists, whether they are considering becoming college professors or pursuing other traditional humanities professions. The reasons include the direct usefulness of a wide spectrum of practical skills within the academy, and the urgency of identifying and supporting future leaders who will make the broadest and most compelling cases for the humanities, and who will adopt humanistic, qualitative, and interpretive approaches in whatever careers they choose to pursue. Batsaki will then offer examples from the array of fellowship opportunities, from the undergraduate to the post-doctoral stages, developed at Dumbarton Oaks. The 75-year-old residential fellowship program forms the heart of the research institute, which has raised its support of advanced research to historically high levels. But over the past decade, the institution has also enlarged its mission to encompass fellowships that provide skills in areas such as pedagogy (through Teaching Fellowships in collaboration with local universities); exhibition and collection development (often with partner institutions in D.C.); editing and translating scholarly texts for publication (through the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library); public programming and outreach (with regional nonprofits and public schools); and digital humanities projects. Building upon this overview, Batsaki will describe the fellowship models and guidelines that Dumbarton Oaks has found most fruitful in setting up project-based fellowships.