A program to bring young, cutting-edge scholars from around the world to U of T’s Jackman Humanities Institute received a $1.5-million boost recently from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York City.
The gift, one of many the foundation has made to U of T over the years, will fund post-doctoral fellows to conduct research at the institute and teach for two-year periods. “These fellows will explore the leading edge of humanities research and make connections among a wide range of disciplines,” says Robert Gibbs, a philosophy professor and the institute’s director.
Bradley Rogers, a post-doctoral fellow from the University of California, Berkeley, was appointed a fellow of the institute and received a $50,000 Mellon grant under an earlier round of funding. Rogers, 30, has devoted the past two years to conducting research and teaching four undergraduate courses in theatre studies and literary theory. His groundbreaking scholarship has focused on exploring the cultural implications of artists who first made the transition from theatre to movies generations ago.
According to Kimberley Yates, the institute’s associate director, these fellows will make a profound and lasting contribution to the university by sharing their knowledge with undergraduates in small, seminar-like classes. “The fellowship program provides the university with a chance to attract fresh, bright scholars who can bring their unique blend of training, teaching and insight not only to the institute, but to lucky undergraduate students,” Yates says.
The Jackman Humanities Institute was designed to act primarily as a portal where undergraduate and graduate students, professors and post-doctoral fellows from a variety of faculties and academic disciplines meet, share and cultivate ideas around an annual prescribed theme. (The theme this past academic year was “Location/Dislocation.”)
For Rogers, who will be soon taking a faculty fellowship at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and admits to leaving U of T with a “leaden heart,” the institute has offered a hospitable place to pursue his research. “I can’t speak highly enough about my time at the institute,” he says. “Bringing all these ideas and people together in one place is something that I will dearly miss.”
A U of T lab is working with actors, writers and directors on how they could harness AI and other emerging technologies to generate new ideas and – just maybe – reinvent theatre