Global Religion Research Initiative

Global Religion Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame

The Global Religion Research Initiative (GRRI) of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society (CSRS) at the University of Notre Dame (IN, USA) invites applications for one or two (1-2), two-year sociological postdoctoral residential research fellowships in the study of global religion, starting academic year 2018-2019 (2-3 additional fellowships will be advertised and awarded the following year — in total, four will be awarded over the life of the program).

The post-doctoral fellowships are intended to support the early development of scholars who show promise of distinguished research careers in the social scientific study of contemporary global religions, especially religions in the “global south,” beyond the North Atlantic world (i.e., not the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe). The fellowships also intend to help over time to better integrate the study of religion into mainstream social sciences, and in the process to enhance the intellectual community and scholarly activity of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame.

Each fellowship will provide $48,000 per year in salary for two years (i.e., $96,000 total salary for 24 months), university health insurance, and modest research and conference travel funds. Post-doctoral fellows will be expected to spend the entirety of their two-year fellowships in residence at the CSRS at the University of Notre Dame, IN, to participate actively in the intellectual and scholarly life of the Center (workshops, seminars, social events, etc.), to present their research at sociology department colloquia, and to teach one undergraduate course related to their research per year.

Fellows will enjoy official positions at Notre Dame granting access to university library, web, educational, and athletic facilities. The University of Notre Dame is one of the most richly resourced universities in the world for the social scientific and interdisciplinary disciplinary study of religion.

Besides their teaching obligations, postdoctoral fellows will be expected to work full-time on their own research and publishing, to position themselves for maximum career success following the postdoctoral fellowship. Postdoctoral fellows will be expected to produce as end products of their fellowships major publications, such as university press books or top journal articles.

The start date for the Round 2 postdoctoral fellowship is August 1, 2018. The Global Religion Research Initiative is funded by the Templeton Religion Trust of Nassau, Bahamas.

For the Postdoctoral Fellowship applications ONLY, the application deadline is December 18, 2017. (The deadline for all other programs is October 16, 2017).

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants for Round 2 must (1) have or will have defended their doctoral dissertations between August 15, 2016 and July 10, 2018 and not have begun a tenure-track job; (2) have dissertations focused primarily on a religion or religions in a region of the world other than North America and Western Europe; and (3) have work that fits the selection criteria listed below.

Applications will be received and considered from scholars in all countries around the world studying sociology, but also possibly scholars in political science, anthropology, economics, psychology, religious studies, or area studies that are arguably highly sociological in approach.

Dissertations and research agendas using all appropriate sociological methodologies, both qualitative and quantitative, are eligible. (Quantitative studies, however, must go beyond merely identifying statistically significant variables to naming, describing, and testing the causal mechanisms believed to explain those associations; ethnographic studies must include enough mixed-methods evidence to contextualize their findings).

Research using traditional methods in the humanities — analyzing texts, telling purely historical narratives, interpretive studies of works of art and performance — are not eligible. Applicants must have sufficiently strong English language skills to be able successfully to participate in the intellectual life of the CSRS and to teach their own undergraduate course in religion at Notre Dame.

Selection Criteria

Global Religion Post-Doctoral Fellowship applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria. The applicant’s written and defended dissertations and proposed post-doctoral research must be:

  1. Focused on a contemporary religion or religions (or relatively recent cases, not on ancient, medieval, or early modern religions) in one of the following world regions:
    • Asia, including East, Southeast, and South Asia
    • The Middle East and Turkey
    • Eastern Europe
    • Africa
    • Latin America
    • The Caribbean
    • Pacific Islands
  2. Empirical, not purely theoretical
  3. Methodologically and analytically sound
  4. Well-grounded in and contributing to the development of important, discipline-appropriate theories and literatures
  5. Promising for producing the publication of a significant book and/or major journal articles
  6. Promising in their ability to address issues of importance within and influence and help integrate the study of religion into the mainstream of their respective disciplines

The applicant must be available and committed to spend the full 24 months (not merely two 9 month academic years) of the funded fellowship period in residence at the Notre Dame CSRS (South Bend, IN, USA). In addition, the applicant must be able to teach one excellent undergraduate course per year at Notre Dame related to religion and their area of research expertise.

For a more elaborate list of evaluation criteria, click here. (Note: Depending on the volume of applications received for this fellowship, the GRRI may not be able to provide applicants specific ratings or feedback from the evaluation process.)

Application Requirements

Post-Doctoral Fellowship applications must include the following materials to be considered for funding:

  1. Online application: fill out and submit contact, applicant, and proposal information in the application portal
  2. Cover letter: two (2) pages (single spaced) as a personal statement briefly explaining the dissertation topic and research question(s) and proposed post-doctoral research agenda, why and how they fit this fellowship’s selection criteria, dissertation-committee faculty members, the dissertation publication strategy, dissertation defense date, and (post- post-doctoral fellowship) career plans or goals
  3. Curriculum vitae
  4. Official graduate school transcript
  5. Dissertation description: a concise 7-10 page summary (exclusive of references, double-spaced) of the dissertation research question(s), scholarly significance, research design, data and methods, analytical approach, major findings, publication plan, etc.
  6. Writing sample (a representative dissertation chapter or journal article; no specific length requirements)
  7. Proposed course description: a one-page description of or syllabus for the undergraduate course that the applicant proposes to teach twice during the fellowship
  8. Confidential letters of recommendation: three (3) letters, one from the dissertation chair and two from dissertation committee members. The letters must describe in specific terms (a) the overall quality and promise of the post-doctoral applicant; (b) the applicant’s dissertation’s quality, scholarly significance and contribution, and promise of influence; and (c) an explicit description of the stage of the dissertation in its development, progress, or defense date confirming the applicant’s readiness to begin a postdoctoral position by the start date. Letters of recommendation should be sent directly by their writers (not through the application portal) by email attachment to or as hard copy mailed to: Dr. Christian Smith, GRRI, 4020 Jenkins-Nanovic Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, 46556, USA.

All application materials must be submitted in English. Applicants are responsible to submit all required materials by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be evaluated for possible funding. Each researcher may not submit proposals to more than two GRRI programs in any given year.

Application Procedure

The application for Round 2 is closed. The Round 3 application period will open in August 2018. Please contact with any questions about submitted applications.



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