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25 Years

ICGC-Mellon Scholar Fellowships

The ICGC-Mellon Scholar Fellowships are a collaborative program of ICGC and the Center for Humanities Research (CHR) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in Cape Town, South Africa, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the University of Minnesota. ICGC-Mellon Scholar Fellowships support graduate students whose research interests emphasize humanistic and interpretive social science perspectives. In addition, this fellowship is particularly relevant for students who expect to conduct a portion of their dissertation research in South Africa or the southern Africa region and would benefit from time at the University of the Western Cape.  Nominees should have backgrounds and interests that identify them as outstanding students who are clearly committed to the interdisciplinary study of the global south in the context of global change. We encourage nomination of exceptionally capable students especially but not only from the global south, particularly Africa, and U.S. communities of color.


To be considered for an ICGC-Mellon Scholar Fellowship, applicants must:

  1. Hold at least a bachelor’s degree
  2. Have applied and been admitted to a graduate or professional degree program at the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota in the following category:
    • doctoral programs in the Colleges of Biological Sciences; Education and Human Development; Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences; Liberal Arts; the School of Public Health or the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
  3. Receive a nomination for these fellowships by the program, department or college in which they will be enrolled

In reviewing nominees ICGC gives priority to demonstrated academic excellence and commitment to the issues of the global south and disadvantaged communities.

Award Description

Awards vary in amount, duration, and format for the first year of study. Transportation costs to Minnesota are not covered. The student's home department typically guarantees support in the form of 50% teaching or research assistantships in the second and third years of study, and tuition and health insurance benefits for four years. Upon successful completion of all coursework and of oral and written doctoral qualifying examinations, research year support is provided through a combination of ICGC dissertation research support and/or home department research support.

As part of their funding, ICGC-Mellon Scholars are required to spend approximately two months at the University of the Western Cape participating in the intellectual community and our partnership activities. This will provide ICGC-Mellon Scholars an opportunity to become engaged in theoretical and methodological debates on the production of knowledge, the role of public intellectuals, and the new ways of thinking about reconfiguring archives that form part of the core curriculum at the CHR. A portion of this time could also be used to conduct field research in South Africa or adjacent countries, and to work closely with faculty members who have conducted extensive research in these areas.

In addition, recipients of ICGC-Mellon Scholar Fellowships are eligible to enter a competition for ICGC Pre-Dissertation Research Grants to undertake preliminary exploratory travel to the area of their proposed dissertation research.

ICGC-Mellon Scholars’ research must also connect to the set of broad substantive themes framing the ICGC-UWC collaboration, including:

  • the ways in which diversity is lived, represented, and contested through categories of gender, race, religion, and class, among others, in a context of heightened awareness of cultural differences globally;
  • the politics of cultural memory and its relationship to conflicts over community identity, space, and resources;
  • the social and cultural bases of insecurity of communities;
  • the need to critically rethink categories and concepts that have come to be seen as foundational, such as culture and cultural practices and products, including literature, in a transnational context; and
  • contested views of the adequacy of multiculturalism, post-coloniality, and notions of cultural sovereignty in the current context of diverse but linked “crises,” including crises in the academy such as in the humanities.

As an integral part of their award, all fellowship recipients participate in the interdisciplinary seminars offered each year by ICGC and designed specifically for them. ICGC Scholars are required to enroll in these courses for credit; the courses partially fulfill requirements for the Ph.D. Minor in Development Studies and Social Change. Students have the opportunity to present their own research and interests in informal seminars and also meet in weekly gatherings with other ICGC Scholars and faculty as well as to participate in ICGC research and scholarly activities.

Application Process

Deadline: February 7, 2022 by 4 p.m. 

Please note: Applicants must be nominated by their departments to be considered for fellowship. If prospective students wish to be considered for a fellowship, they may request that their admitting department/program nominate them for the ICGC fellowship. Prospective fellows may make this request by following the process outlined below:

  1. Send a completed Request for Departmental Nomination form along with your application for admission to graduate study to the department or school of intended enrollment (generally before mid-December of the year you are applying)

*Electronic submission of form is required for the 2022 competition. For alternative formats, requests can be made to icgc@umn.edu or 612-624-0832.