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Post-Doctoral Fellow in Plant Humanities

Position Title: Post-Doctoral Fellow in Plant Humanities

Dumbarton Oaks is a Harvard research institute that supports research internationally in Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and Garden and Landscape Studies. Dumbarton Oaks encompasses a museum with world-class collections of Pre-Columbian, Byzantine, and European Renaissance art, and a historic garden designed by Beatrix Farrand. Since 2018 we have pursued an initiative in the emerging interdisciplinary field of the Plant Humanities, which explores the extraordinary significance of plants to human cultures. A key outcome is the Plant Humanities Lab, an open-access digital site that features visually engaging, interactive narratives on plants from the perspectives of race, colonialism, environmental justice, foodways, indigenous knowledge, evolution, and biodiversity loss in the Anthropocene. Dumbarton Oaks is committed to further developing and enhancing the site as a tool for innovative pedagogy, online sharing of collections, and communicating the importance of plants and multispecies interactions to a broad audience.

As part of the Plant Humanities team, the Post-Doctoral Fellow will focus on three main areas:

  • Research, Content Creation, Editing

The Fellow will research and produce new cultural histories of plants for the Plant Humanities Lab, using the rare book collection at Dumbarton Oaks and other special collections, as well as large digital repositories such as iDigBio and the Biodiversity Heritage Library. It is expected that the research will also generate public-facing articles, (e.g. for JSTOR Daily where we publish a Plant of the Month feature) and peer-reviewed articles. The fellow will also help manage the editorial process for external submissions.

  • Support and Development of Open Access Digital Resources

The fellow will collaborate with software developers to maintain and enhance the Plant Humanities Lab, by supporting the development of new resources such as an open access video course and a series of instructional resources for faculty and students. The fellow will also work with faculty at diverse institutions to support the adoption of the Plant Humanities Lab in the classroom.

  • Teaching and Public Outreach

The fellow will contribute to research, development, and implementation of education and public outreach projects related to the Plant Humanities Initiative that may include online exhibitions, development of syllabi and lesson plans, an onsite or digital museum and garden tour focused on plants, etc. The Fellow will also teach in the Plant Humanities Summer Program.

This fellowship offers unique opportunities to build career skills in digital humanities, special collections, and innovative pedagogy, while participating in a growing interdisciplinary network of researchers at Dumbarton Oaks, nationally, and internationally. The Fellow will participate fully in Dumbarton Oaks’ dynamic community of scholars, working collaboratively with all three programs of study as well as the Museum, Library, and other departments, and will devote 20% of the fellowship time to personal research.


  • PhD in the humanities and humanistic social sciences with a focus on plants and people. History, Art History, History of Science, Literary Studies, Anthropology, Food Studies, Ethnobotany and the Environmental Humanities are all pertinent areas of inquiry, but we welcome applications from other fields provided that candidates have a strong commitment to humanistic modes of inquiry and interpretation.
  • Excellent writing skills.
  • Excellent research skills.
  • Experience working with special collections and digital repositories.
  • Teaching experience, especially at the undergraduate level. 


  • Experience writing for diverse audiences.
  • Some editorial experience, in print or digital publications.
  • Digital skills, including mapping and visualization software and Linked Open Data, would be useful but the fellowship with provide training as needed.
  • Experience in one of the core study areas of Dumbarton Oaks—Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, or Garden and Landscape Studies is welcome, though not required. 


This is a one-year fellowship, with the possibility of renewal for 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 with 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 November 20, 2023, to the attention of Dr. Yota Batsaki at 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. The Fellowship may begin in January 2024 or later, by mutual agreement. Applicants must have fulfilled all the requirements for the PhD by the time of application and must have received the PhD no later than December 15, 2023, and no earlier than July 31, 2019. 

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.