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Post-Doctoral Fellow in Democracy and Landscape (Mellon Initiative)

Position Title: Post-Doctoral Fellow in Democracy and Landscape, a Mellon Initiative of the Garden & Landscape Studies Program at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library


Garden and Landscapes Studies at Dumbarton Oaks seeks an early career postdoctoral fellow in environmental history with a research focus on race, indigeneity, and/or the Global South as revealed in a people's history of place and land. Dumbarton Oaks is a research institute affiliated with Harvard University that supports research in Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and Garden and Landscape Studies and is home to a museum with world-class collections of Pre-Columbian, Byzantine, and European Renaissance art, and a historic garden designed as a work of art by Beatrix Farrand.

The Garden and Landscape Studies program, with support from the Mellon Foundation’s Humanities in Place program, seeks to both challenge and expand the boundaries of landscape and garden histories and narratives. Our initiative “Democracy and Landscape: Race, Identity, and Difference” contributes to the re-shaping of how we come to understand and share people's histories in place and on/with land, building on our NEH Summer Institute Series "A People's History of Landscape". We seek to steward a community of scholars engaged in reframing narratives of landscape history by means of a deeper inquiry into questions of, among others, race and identity, territory and sovereignty, empire and decolonization, social hierarchy, and democracy as they are revealed in place and through land use practices contributing to a fuller and more truthful history of people and place. 

 The Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Democracy and Landscape is intended for:

  • a scholar of environmental history located within or between the disciplines of architectural, art, or landscape histories, Indigenous studies, American studies, Ethnic studies, Critical geography, and/or ecology, among other relevant fields of research;
  • open to any period, region, or location; and
  • with attention given to those who would benefit from programs and collections at Dumbarton Oaks:

The post-doctoral fellow would be engaged in three areas:

  • Facilitate program activities that advance the field of environmental histories with a focus on democracy, race, identity, and difference. These might include organizing colloquia, workshops, midday dialogues, and public lectures. This will be done in collaboration with the Mellon Initiative Program Assistant.
  • Serving as an assistant editor for Dumbarton Oaks publications in environmental and landscape histories comprising the GLS symposium series and a proposed monograph series.
  • Design, plan and, if appropriate, lead activities designated for undergraduate curriculum that explore how environmental histories might expand our understanding of place in the making of democracy. While teaching a course will not be a part of the fellowship, developing curriculum and teaching materials will be an opportunity to frame how environmental history might be taught.

The Fellowship will include approximately 60% of effort towards the institutional project and 40% of time on the fellow’s own scholarly project. As a part of their institutional focus, the Post-Doctoral Fellow will assist with community building of Mellon Fellows and outreach to potential scholars interested in pursuing scholarship at Dumbarton Oaks. As part of the Garden and Landscape/Democracy and Landscape team, the Post-Doctoral Fellow will work closely with the study programs—Garden and Landscape, Pre-Columbian, and Byzantine—on joint events and scholarly content as well as interacting with the Library, Museum, Gardens, Publications, and other departments at Dumbarton Oaks. This fellowship offers opportunities to build career skills in environmental humanities, special collections, and innovative pedagogical tools, while benefiting from the unique resources of Dumbarton Oaks and its community of scholars.


  • PhD in the humanities and humanistic social sciences with a focus on environmental histories. History, Architectural History, Landscape History, Art History, History of Science, and the Environmental Humanities among others are pertinent areas of inquiry.
  • Experience working with special collections and digital repositories.
  • PhD must have been completed prior to start of the fellowship and no earlier than April 31, 2019.


  • Curriculum experience, either at high-school or undergraduate level.
  • Editorial experience, in print or digital publications.
  • Experience in one of the core study areas of Dumbarton Oaks—Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, or Garden and Landscape Studies is welcome, though not required. 
  • Excellent writing skills.
  • Excellent research skills.


This is a one-year fellowship, with the possibility of renewal for up to two additional years. The Post-Doctoral Fellow will have access to the outstanding resources of the institute and become part of the larger research community at Dumbarton Oaks. The Fellowship carries a stipend of $65,000 per year with an additional $1,000 annual, taxable research allowance. The Post-Doctoral Fellow will be eligible for medical insurance through the Dumbarton Oaks Fellows’ plan. The Fellow will be provided an office space, access to the library and museum collections, and complimentary lunches in the refectory on weekdays, among other privileges of our community of fellows.

Applications must be submitted by December 15, 2023, to Applicants should submit a cover letter, résumé, a statement of interest describing their professional and academic experience (1000 words) and should secure two letters of recommendation.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Dumbarton Oaks views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.