For nearly fifty years, the Center for 21st Century Studies (C21) has led the way in imagining, defining, and creating the fields of 20th and 21st century studies. A UW System Center of Excellence, C21 focuses on the intersection of the humanities, arts, and sciences (social and natural) with issues of compelling concern. The center brings scholars into contact and collaboration with one another, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee community and the world beyond.
Each year, the Center constitutes a group of UWM Fellows, as well as one or two external Fellows, who are provided release time from teaching to pursue their research interests and to participate in biweekly seminars. All of these activities contribute to C21’s mission to constitute the emergent field of 21st century studies.
The Center organizes its research and public programs around three ongoing areas of interdisciplinary humanities research:
- Critical humanities: the continuation of the Center’s historical focus on critical and theoretical interdisciplinary scholarship and research
- Public humanities: both the communication of humanities research outside the walls of the university and the humanistic engagement with local, regional, and global communities
- Digital humanities: research that focuses on the remediation of print texts and artifacts in digital formats, as well as on the creation of new critical methodologies for analyzing digital media
The Center provides each Fellow with access to office space on the ninth floor of Curtin Hall and with research assistance (library assistance, duplication, etc.) as resources permit. Each Fellow is expected to participate in the biweekly Center Fellows’ seminar and to attend all C21 public programs throughout the year. Fellows are expected to give a public presentation on his or her research no later than the academic year following the fellowship. Fellows will be required to produce at least one grant proposal from their fellowship year, with support from C21 and the Office of Sponsored Research. No one may hold a Center fellowship more than twice in a five-year period.
Faculty and academic staff are invited to propose research topics that fall under one or more of the Center’s three areas of research in critical, public, or digital humanities. Preference will go to the strongest applications, but every effort will be made to ensure distribution across these three focus areas. All projects should involve substantive academic research, but the final products could take the form of the traditional scholarly article or book, the creation of public-facing events like exhibitions or performances, community programs, or the development of digital interfaces, archives, or artifacts.
UWM Faculty and Staff
UWM faculty Fellows receive a reduction in their teaching responsibilities sufficient to bring their course load down to one course each semester, as well as being relieved from committee work. Faculty in all departments who hold the rank of assistant, associate, or full professor may apply. C21 will work with academic staff on a case-by-case basis to provide compensation for participating in the fellowship program. No one may hold a C21 fellowship more than twice in a five-year period.
UW System Faculty
One faculty member from the UW System is also selected to be part of the Center’s fellowship program. Terms of the fellowship are the same as those that apply to UWM faculty.
In conjunction with its 50th anniversary year in 2018-19, the Center for 21st Century Studies awarded six graduate-student scholarships named for long-time Center Deputy Director Carol Tennessen. Tennessen Scholars attended all C21 events, helped foster engagement among the Center’s active graduate student community, and contributed critical responses and reflections to monthly events to the Tennessen Scholars blog.