Bennett-Polonsky Humanities Labs

Call for Proposals

Application Deadline: EXTENDED TO December 2, 2019


All full-time faculty on continuing contracts in the Humanities and the Arts at NYU are invited to submit proposals for a program of collaborative and interdisciplinary research. Partnerships with faculty in other disciplines and schools are encouraged, as are partnerships with outside experts, practitioners or groups.

If you have questions about your eligibility, or would like to discuss your application prior to submission, please contact Molly Rogers, Associate Director of the Center for the Humanities.


Proposals selected will receive up to $50,000. Budgets may include the following:

  • One course release each for up to four participating faculty members. Each release to cost no more than $7,500 and be paid to the faculty member’s home department when teaching replacement is secured.
  • Up to ten summer or J-term graduate student stipends of $1,500 for each graduate student who wishes to devote that time to research related to the H-Lab topic.
  • Funds for graduate students to teach the undergraduate practicum(s) offered in conjunction with the undergraduate course(s).
  • Funds to pay for research materials, software, web development, invited speakers, events, or other goods or services that facilitate the lab’s research program and dissemination of findings.

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals should include the following:

  1. A cover sheet with the name of the proposed lab, the names and department/program affiliations of the lab team, and a project abstract.
  2. A short narrative (3-pages maximum) of the H-Lab project, detailing its intellectual significance and laying out the ideas, problems or questions to be explored by the lab and the methods for doing so. The narrative should provide intellectual justification for the proposed H-Lab, addressing the contributions it hopes to make and indicating how the findings will be disseminated.
  3. Descriptions of H-Lab courses:
    • Graduate Course [optional]: If the first semester will be set up as a graduate-level course, so that graduate lab members may receive credit, please provide the course title, names of instructors, sponsoring department, and a brief description of course content.
    • Undergraduate Course(s): Provide the course title(s), names of instructors, semester offered, and a brief description of course content developed from the lab’s first semester findings. Students enrolled in the course are expected to participate in research, analysis and present their findings in the final course project.
    • Undergraduate Practicum(s): Provide a brief description of the 2-point practicum(s) that will accompany the undergraduate course(s) proposed above. Please explain what distinguishes this as a lab practicum.
  4. A budget of no more than $50,000 which follows the guidelines noted above. Please indicate whether the lab will be able to draw on any additional funds (e.g., through existing projects or grants, department funding, etc.), or if there will be a need/opportunity to raise additional funds. A budget template is provided here.
  5. Brief statements of support from the relevant Department Chairs. These should indicate approval of any possible course releases under the terms outlined above.

Application Instructions

Complete proposals must be submitted electronically via the online application as a single pdf or word file by December 2, 2019. Approval/support letters from Chairs may be included with the proposal or submitted separately to

Letters mailed to should use the subject line “Humanities Labs Letter of Support for <Applicant’s Name>”. Letters must be submitted by the application deadline of December 2, 2019.

Questions regarding applications should be addressed to

Application Review

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee comprised of NYU Center for the Humanities Advisory Board members. Committee members will be asked to rate proposals based upon the following criteria:

  • The potential and/or need for the proposed topic to be investigated through multiple disciplines; its engagement with diverse fields and methodologies.
  • The soundness and rigor of the scholarly research supporting the proposal and of the pedagogical approaches deriving from it.
  • The originality of the approach and the extent to which it leverages NYU’s and New York City’s assets.
  • The experience of the team (faculty leads, graduate students, people from outside NYU) as well as their potential for intense, collaborative work; the team’s ability to foster interdisciplinary conversations.
  • The lab’s capacity to engage graduate students as both lab researchers and teachers.
  • The lab’s capacity to integrate the research of the lab into NYU’s undergraduate curriculum through existing or newly-created courses, as well as to 2-point practicum courses.
  • The lab’s potential for public engagement and for generating projects that will put humanities theory into practice.
  • The likelihood of a significant contribution to the fields the lab engages.


All funded H-Labs will be asked to submit a brief report before June 1 (for labs running on the academic year) or December 1 (for labs running on the calendar year). The report should include descriptions of outcomes, meetings and other activities, attendance and participation at these events, and an accounting of all expenditure.

This form should be completed by a faculty member on behalf of the H-Lab faculty organizing group.

Applications for the 2019-2020 academic year are now open.