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University of Southern California Fellowship Program: The Transformation of the Human 2018, USA

Publish Date: Nov 20, 2017

Deadline: Jan 05, 2018

USC Berggruen Fellow: The Transformation of the Human

Fellowship Seeks Innovative Thinkers

USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Berggruen Institute will sponsor up to five (5) fellowships at the University of Southern California for the academic year 2018-2019. The selected USC Berggruen Fellows will work on the topic area of “The Transformation of the Human”:

New technologies are changing how we understand ourselves as individuals, in relationships, and as a species. Humans have historically defined themselves by contrast to machines and animals, by having language and intelligence, and by the idea of a soul. Just as earlier changes such as the evolution of language, literacy, and better nutrition changed what it means to be human, so are new technologies changing our material realities and thus destabilizing old definitions of the human. We are interested, for example, in artificial intelligence and gene editing, as well as developments in neuroscience, bio-engineering, and interventions into the human microbiome. At the same time, we recognize that changing social and cultural norms are part of the process of redefining of the human, not least as different civilizational traditions inform and challenge each other.

USC Berggruen Fellows need not be academics, but they must be committed to intellectual work of the highest quality. We seek academics with an existing appointment (most likely for a sabbatical year). We also seek intellectuals without an existing academic appointment, for whom the Berggruen Fellowship may serve as a retreat from work in industry, government, or the arts. Applicants should have a terminal degree or commensurate research expertise in appropriate field of study.

USC Berggruen Fellows will be provided with an office in the Downtown Los Angeles headquarters of the Berggruen Institute, and will have access to the scholarly resources of the University of Southern California. They will also participate in a working group focused on the theme of the transformation of the human. Fellows with academic appointments will be paid half of their annual academic year salary, up to $75,000 with the expectation that their home institution will make up the remainder. Fellows without sabbatical half-salary or a similar particle remuneration package can be paid up to $90,000, depending on position and seniority.

Founded in 2010, Berggruen Institute’s mission is to develop new ideas for shaping social and political institutions in the current era of Great Transformations. We study these transformations not only by looking at how new technologies are remaking the world, but also by considering cultural and religious shifts, upheavals in politics and efforts to reform governance, changes to the structures of economic organization, and environmental change. And we consider the scales of changes at everything from the level of human beings themselves; to social groups and other forms of collective identity; to human interaction on a planetary scale.

To Apply

In order to be considered for this position, all candidates must apply via the "Apply" link at the top or bottom of this page.  Please upload the following materials:

I. Full curriculum vitae

II. Project Statement

Your project statement, up to 750 words, should answer two questions:

Question #1:  What is your proposed project?

Concisely describe the work you plan to do during your fellowship years:

  • Explain the intellectual agenda of your project: what does the project imply for our thinking about the changing relation between technology and the human? What literatures or conversations is it most deeply engaged with? What is most innovative about the proposed work?
  • Address the public dimensions of this project: How will your project “make a difference”? How would you propose collaborating with the Berggruen Institute to raise public awareness of your topic and work?

Question #2:  What is your most important work to date?

Identify your most important book, book chapter, or article and explain why it was important—how it corrected a misconception in the literature, how it advanced thinking in some important way, and/or how it filled in an important gap in knowledge.

III. Two reference letters

At least one letter should be from an expert in your area of interest.

IV. One writing sample

Please provide the link to one short writing sample, such as an article, essay, or book chapter.

The application deadline is January 5, 2018.  Awardees will receive notification of their fellowships by mid-February, 2018. Inquires can be addressed to .

USC is an equal-opportunity educator and employer, proudly pluralistic and firmly committed to providing equal opportunity for outstanding persons of every race, gender, creed and background. The University particularly encourages women, members of underrepresented groups, veterans and individuals with disabilities to apply. USC will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities unless doing so would result in an undue hardship. Further information is available by contacting .

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

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