You are here:Home/Research/ Mellon Initiatives/ Plant Humanities Initiative/ Faculty Residencies

Faculty Residencies

Weeklong summer residencies pair college instructors and faculty from a broad spectrum of institutions, including four-year teaching institutions and community colleges, with library and curatorial staff.

Out of an abundance of caution due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we will not offer faculty residencies during summer 2020. We plan to offer residencies during summer 2021.

Dumbarton Oaks, a Harvard research institute located in Washington, DC, invites applications for one-week summer residencies. The residencies aim to provide opportunities for professional and intellectual enrichment to college teachers from a broad spectrum of institutions, and we particularly encourage applications from faculty teaching at four-year teaching institutions and community colleges. The residencies will focus on the historical significance of plants to human culture through engagement with the rare book collection, digital tools, the library, and the historic garden at Dumbarton Oaks. Participants will receive support to research and integrate primary sources into their classroom teaching, explore tangible examples of how to integrate plants into their curriculum, and have time and resources to develop engaging lesson plans.

The program is offered in the context of a new initiative at Dumbarton Oaks, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to further the field of plant humanities. Plants have shaped human culture in a myriad of ways, from agriculture and medicine to art and science; few topics offer such interdisciplinary breadth, reaching into the history of science and empire, art and the environment. Among the aims of this initiative is to research and narrate the fascinating stories of plants and integrate them into broader questions of ecology, culture, and history, to help redress our tendency to ignore plants in our environment and our inability to discern their diversity and significance. We welcome interest from faculty who want to explore the potential of using plants in local and world history, art history, literature, environmental studies, and other courses with a humanistic bent.

Participants will receive support by curators and librarians in the use of rare and unique materials focusing on plants in the Dumbarton Oaks rare book collection and will have access to the Dumbarton Oaks garden and research library, and the electronic resources of Harvard University. Participants will also receive training in the use of a new digital tool that Dumbarton Oaks is developing in collaboration with JSTOR Labs to connect primary and secondary resources on plants and facilitate their inclusion into college teaching curricula.

Dumbarton Oaks will reimburse travel up to $600, offer accommodations and weekday lunches on campus, provide a stipend of $250, and welcome participants into a vibrant community of researchers and scholars. The Plant Humanities team will work with successful applicants to schedule these one-week residencies at a mutually optimal time during the month of June.


Prospective candidates are invited to submit by email, as a single PDF, a résumé and a statement of interest describing their teaching and administrative duties and how they hope to integrate plants into their curriculum. Applicants should also arrange for one letter of recommendation to be sent to Dumbarton Oaks by the deadline. Priority will be given to candidates who demonstrate an interest in integrating both primary sources (such as rare books and prints) and digital tools (such as JSTOR Global Plants or the Biodiversity Heritage Library) into their teaching. Information on applying for the 2021 faculty residencies will be available later in 2020.