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Einaudi-SSRC Dissertation Proposal Development Program

SSRC 2019 awardees at summer workshop
Einaudi SSRC 2019 awardees at the fall workshop after pursuing international summer research.

PhD students are invited to apply to the Einaudi-SSRC Dissertation Proposal Development Program, offering seminars, workshops, and faculty mentoring to sixteen social sciences or humanities students. Applications open October 1. Find out how to apply below.

This year's theme, The Art and Politics of Migration, dovetails with Cornell's Global Grand Challenge on Migrations: Researching, Teaching, and Building for a World on the Move. We invite you to think creatively and expansively about migration's diverse subjects and far-reaching impacts as you develop your dissertation project. Your proposed research may be international or domestic.


Theme 2020: The Art and Politics of Migration

Migrating birds flying at sunset

Contemporary politics are increasingly animated by struggles over who can live in which places and under what conditions. We are in a world on the move, where migration is not always voluntary. Threats to food supplies and ecosystem health, for example, have led to unprecedented movements of flora and fauna on our planet. Similarly, human migration may be forced by political crises. These movements exist within an interconnected web of geography, history, and political and social contexts. This program aims to interrogate the art and politics of human and non-human migrations across a range of spaces and historical moments. 

In doing so, we are motivated by a series of questions including:

  • How are migration patterns informed by histories of colonialism, racial hierarchy, patriarchy, and material exploitation?
  • What are the linkages between migration and ongoing urbanization?
  • Urbanization, though dominant, has not displaced migration to rural areas. What factors and conditions create a countermovement away from urban centers?
  • How are rural communities transformed by migration?
  • How do political crises influence patterns of migration for humans, plants, and animals?
  • How does the idea of "home" play a role in migration, and what rights do living things have to return to one?
  • Fundamentally, how do migrants interpret their own socio-spatial trajectories?
  • How is migration affected by climate change?
  • What factors condition how migrating humans, fauna, and flora are received in a new region?

This program will explore these and related questions as we work collectively towards developing and refining students’ dissertation proposals. In aiming to foster deep interdisciplinarity, we welcome applications irrespective of methodological, regional, or historical focus.


Program Eligibility

Second- and third-year graduate students who are enrolled full time in PhD programs are eligible, including all humanities, social sciences, and allied fields that incorporate the movements of plants, animals, and objects. Applicants are expected to have completed all or most of their required coursework and be ready to begin planning for dissertation research. First-year graduate students who have completed master’s degrees and fourth-year students who have not yet undertaken dissertation research may be eligible.


Up to $5,000 for summer research. Workshop and seminar costs are also covered.


November 15, 2019

To Apply

Log in to the Funding Application and navigate to the Einaudi-SSRC Dissertation Proposal Development Program (application opens on October 1, 2019).

Program Details

Participants will attend seminars and mentoring sessions at Cornell, as well as intensive workshops at Cornell in May and September 2020. They will also receive up to $5,000 for summer research.

The Einaudi Center coordinates the program in collaboration with the Graduate School; College of Arts and Sciences; College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; College of Architecture, Art, and Planning; Faculty of Computing and Information Science; Institute for the Social Sciences; Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability; Center for the Study of Inequality; and Society for the Humanities.

The Einaudi-SSRC Dissertation Proposal Development Program is part of the University Initiative of the Social Science Research Council, which is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.