Publication Date

September 1, 2012

Applications must be received by November 1, 2012

The National History Center is now accepting applications from early-career scholars to participate in the eighth international summer seminar on decolonization, which will be held for four weeks, from Sunday, July 7, through Saturday August 3, 2013, in Washington, D.C.

As in the previous seven seminars in the series, the participants will engage in the common pursuit of knowledge about various dimensions of 20th-century decolonization, primarily in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean.

The 15 participants selected to participate in the four-week seminar will receive a small stipend to cover daily living expenses (food, local travel, and so on). The Center will arrange and pay for participants' accommodation in Washington. The Center will also reimburse (subject to limits) travel costs incurred by the selected participants for traveling between their workplace or place of normal residence and Washington, D.C., and back.

The seminar will be an opportunity for the participants to pursue research at the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and other repositories of historical research materials in Washington, D.C., on projects within the overarching theme of decolonization; to exchange ideas among themselves and with the seminar leaders; and to produce a draft article or chapter of a book with the guidance of the faculty leaders, who, together with the participants themselves, will offer comments and critiques on the evolving draft papers.

That is, the seminar will have three equally important and intertwined aims:

  1. to provide opportunities to mine the rich research repositories of Washington, D.C.;
  2. to enable intensive and continuing discussion of research with other scholars pursuing similar or resonant themes and with the seminar faculty;
  3. to facilitate the refinement of writing skills through group and individual critiques of content and style of an evolving draft.

Wm. Roger Louis, Kerr Professor of English History and Culture and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin (and the founding director of the National History Center), will direct the seminar. Other seminar leaders will be Dane Kennedy (George Washington Univ.), Philippa Levine (Univ. of Texas at Austin), Jason Parker (Texas A & M Univ.), Pillarisetti Sudhir (AHA), and Lori Watt (Washington Univ. in St. Louis).

Applicants should preferably have a recent PhD and be at the beginning of their careers. Applications from advanced PhD students who are nearing completion of their dissertations are also encouraged.

Applicants should note that all the academic activities (including discussions and written work) will be in English. Applicants must, therefore, be fluent in English.

Those selected will have to agree that they will actively participate in the seminar, including all required meetings and events, for its entire duration.

The Application Process: Applications should contain the following items:

  1. a cover letter of not more than two pages that includes a brief (100 words) statement about the proposed research project relating to the history of decolonization;
  2. a c.v. of not more than two pages;
  3. a statement of not more than 1,000 words outlining the research project and indicating in particular:
    (a) the research already done by the applicant;
    (b) the aims of the proposed project;
    (c) the hypotheses or conjectures, if any, that the applicant expects to test or research;
    (d) the project's relationship to the theme of decolonization;and
    (e) the major sources the scholar proposes to consult or use;
  4. a one- to two-page select bibliography of sources relevant to the proposed research.

Applicants should also have three letters of recommendation in support of their application sent directly to the address given below. The letters of recommendation should follow the guidelines.

When preparing their applications, applicants may find it helpful to consult the following guides to research resources in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere:

Applications and all supporting materials should reach the Associate Director of the National History Center by November 1, 2012. They should be e-mailed to or to If e-mailing is impossible, the applications may be mailed to Decolonization Seminar 2013, The National History Center, 400 A Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003-3889.

Foreign participants must make their own arrangements to obtain the necessary U.S. visas, but the National History Center will provide any documentation that may be required.

The international seminar, organized by the National History Center in collaboration with the American Historical Association and the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

More information about the seminar series is available online at

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