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CLIR Receives $2.75 Million Mellon Foundation Grant for Data Curation Fellowships in African American and African Studies

Contact: Kathlin Smith

Washington, DC, September 20, 2018—The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded CLIR $2.75 million to help establish sound data management in African American and African Studies by building a professional cohort of knowledgeable specialists through postdoctoral positions. The grant will support two overlapping cohorts of five fellows each, starting in summer 2019, working at U.S. or Canadian institutions with strong programs in African American and African Studies.

African American and African Studies incorporates modes of inquiry from numerous fields within the humanities and social sciences, including history, sociology, cultural anthropology, literature, religion and religious studies, art, political science, and urban studies. CLIR Fellows will focus on methods and processes pertaining to the execution of research in African American and African Studies, including how research data are produced from original sources, how they can be described most effectively and contextualized in cases where they document histories of racism and oppression, how they can be made accessible for and susceptible to reuse by the broad range of people whose interests intersect with these data, and how institutions, organizations, and individuals can collaborate to sustain these data over time.

“This marks a significant, vital new focus within our data curation postdoctoral fellowships, while connecting us to a multidisciplinary and critically important community of practice,” said CLIR president Charles Henry.

“African American and African Studies are vibrant interdisciplinary fields, making important contributions and exciting broad public interest,” said Donald J. Waters, senior program officer for Scholarly Communications at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “CLIR’s postdoctoral fellowships will advance these fields, generate a more sophisticated understanding of the production, management, and re-use of research data, and contribute to the human and technical infrastructure needed for future research. In addition, this award complements and extends other Mellon Foundation investments in the fields of African American and African Studies.”

The CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowships in African American and African Studies are integrated into CLIR’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, which trains and establishes cohorts of professionals with subject expertise who possess a more expansive understanding of digital information and its integral role in research and teaching. CLIR launched its Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in 2004. To date, it has educated and placed 189 fellows at 81 host institutions across the United States, Canada, and Hong Kong.

CLIR is currently soliciting host institutions for fellows in data curation for African American and African Studies with a deadline of November 15, 2018. Host institutions may include any academic, independent, public, or government library, archive, or museum, or any partnership or consortium made up of the same, provided it has demonstrable need of the fellow’s subject expertise to pursue a project or initiative commensurate with its mission. Additional details and the host application form are available at

CLIR will post fellowship openings in early December 2018 at The candidate application deadline will be January 4, 2019, with fellows announced in June 2019.

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning.


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