NEH Summer Seminar 2012
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Application Instructions

Applicant Profile

The ideal participant for this Seminar will be a faculty member at a university or college, or an advanced graduate student, working in the humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences with an interest in research on medieval medicine. The NEH requires that applicants be United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for the last three years.

The Seminar is designed for those with no prior background in medical history. Similarly, it does not presuppose any advanced training in the biological sciences. As the Seminar will not focus on one geographic area, scholars working on any aspect of medieval Europe or the Mediterranean, and in any discipline, are encouraged to apply. Also, because our understanding of Europe will be expanded by thinking comparatively, scholars with expertise in other premodern cultures (e.g., pre-Columbian Americas or China) will be welcome, as will scholars in the sciences who wish to be introduced to the methods of humanistic investigation of disease and disability. The archeologist with experience in studying the Plague of Athens, who now wishes to study the Black Death; the literary scholar who has investigated the role of the body in Arthurian texts but is trying to understand the import of medicine for her research; and the microbiologist who has been investigating the epidemiology of leprosy, but is interested in its interface with the social history of physicians and the Church as well as the meanings of leprosy in disability history would all be ideal candidates. All readings in the Seminar will be in English. But because a large portion of the medieval medical corpus has never been edited or translated, a comfortable command of medieval Latin and/or any medieval vernacular language (including Arabic or Hebrew), along with paleography and codicology, will greatly facilitate participants' ability to engage deeply with the collective work of the Seminar and their own research projects.

Application Procedure and Deadline

PART 1: is submitted directly to the NEH
Fill out the initial application form online at the NEH website:
This part is for the NEH's internal records and is the necessary first step of processing your file. Please PRINT OUT this form since it will also be necessary for Part 2 of the application.

PART 2: The remaining application materials are sent to us directly via e-mail or snail-mail address provided (see Contact Us page).

Application Deadline: March 1, 2012

Notification: April 2, 2012

The complete application package should be sent directly to the Directors of the Seminar—not to the National Endowment for the Humanities (ONLY the NEH cover sheet should be submitted online to the Endowment). Include the information requested below, either as hardcopy sent via snail-mail or as e-mail attachments in MS Word or PDF versions. Ignore the NEH instructions about sending multiple hardcopies; we will scan all hardcopy submissions and circulate them as PDFs to the evaluation committee. Please label each attachment with your last name and file description, such as “Smith CV.doc.”

Your completed application should include the following four (4) parts, with the letters of recommendation being sent separately:

  1. NEH cover sheet, found here:
    Complete this online. (It is sent electronically to the NEH, thus fulfilling Part 1 of the application.) Then, before closing the window, print it out or scan it into a PDF document to include with the rest of the application you send to us.
  2. A c.v. (not exceeding five pages)
  3. An essay of 1,000 words or fewer (roughly four double-spaced pages) which covers the following:
    • Your reasons for applying for the Seminar
    • What goals you wish to target through the Seminar, including any individual research projects
    • What relationship the Seminar may have to your teaching or other professional responsibilities
    • Any personal and academic details you deem pertinent
    • Your facility with medieval languages (e.g., Latin, Old High German, Arabic, etc.) and your experience with paleography. If applicable, also note your training in physical anthropology and/or microbiology.
  4. Two letters of recommendation from colleagues familiar with your professional accomplishments, as well as your ability to contribute to and benefit from the Seminar. If you have participated in an earlier NEH Institute or Seminar, a letter from the Director or lead scholar(s) would be useful. Applicants who are current graduate students should secure a letter from a professor or advisor. Letters should be sent directly to the Seminar Directors via e-mail or snail-mail at the address provided (see Contact Us; if sent by e-mail, please ask your referee to put “NEH Seminar letter of recommendation” in the subject line.

Selection Criteria

A selection committee will read and evaluate all properly completed applications to ensure selection of the most promising applicants and to identify a small number of alternates. The selection committee includes the two Seminar Directors and an external expert in medieval medical history. While recent participants are eligible to apply, selection committees are charged with giving primary consideration to applicants who have not participated in an NEH Seminar, Institute, or Landmarks Workshop in the last three years (2009, 2010, or 2011).

The most important consideration in the selection of participants is the likelihood that an applicant will benefit professionally and contribute meaningfully to the objectives of the Seminar. This is determined by committee members from the conjunction of several factors, including the following:

  • Quality and commitment as a scholar of the humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences
  • Intellectual interests, both generally and as they relate to the Seminar
  • Special perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the Seminar
  • The conception and organization of the applicant's independent project
  • The likelihood that the Seminar would enhance the applicant's scholarship and/or teaching
  • Commitment to participate fully in the formal and informal life of the Seminar

For more information, see the “Dear Colleague” letter from the Directors and the general instructions from the NEH.

Participant Stipend and Housing

Click here to view Participant Stipend and Housing details.