Each year, approximately 20 scholars are selected as Members in the School of Social Science. A completed doctorate or equivalent is required by the application deadline. Memberships are awarded at both the junior and senior levels and for the full academic year only. Members are expected only to pursue their own research and participate in the weekly seminar. The School is not wedded to any particular intellectual or disciplinary approach. While there is an organizing theme each year, each class of accepted fellows includes some who represent that thematic focus and others who do not. Applications are strongly encouraged from scholars across the social sciences, whether or not their research corresponds to the theme. Funding for Member stipends is individually negotiated, taking into account the applicant’s base salary and the level of sabbatical and other grant support that he or she can secure. In setting compensation, the School attempts to provide half of the current academic base salary for all Members, up to a maximum stipend of $65,000.


Applications must be filed electronically through the Institute’s online application system. They will be accepted beginning June 1. The deadline is November 1. It is expected that the selection process will be completed by mid-January, 2015.

The application requires online submission of a writing sample. The sample must be in English, no longer than 50 pages, and in Adobe Acrobat format. If you only have a hard-copy, such as a book, we suggest that you submit the PDF of a single chapter.

CLICK HERE FOR REFEREE INSTRUCTIONS. Please send your project statement along with a copy of our referee instructions to your three referees. Instruct them to email your reference letters  as a PDF attachment to , and to put “Reference for YOUR NAME” in the subject line. Also, remind them to be sure to include their own name, title and institution within their letter. Reference emails must be received by November 1.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ONLINE APPLICATION, to begin or continue work on your application. When you have completed the application and are ready to submit it, remember that you will not be able to make any changes after submission. IMPORTANT: You should receive an email confirmation that the application has been received. If you have not received an email confirmation within one day, please email an inquiry to .

In the upcoming academic year, the Institute will again take part in a program sponsored by the American Council of Learned Societies: the Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars. Thanks to funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, these fellowships support more adventurous, more wide-ranging, and longer-term patterns of research than are current in the humanities and related social sciences. Applicants must submit to ACLS a research plan typically covering a 3 - 5 year  period, during which time one year could be spent as a Member at the Institute, either in the School of Historical Studies or the School of Social Science. Qualified candidates who would like to apply for affiliation with either School of the Institute for Advanced Study under the auspices of this program should visit ACLS’s website (



"Rising Cairn," by Celeste Roberge, Portland Museum of Art; Photo: D. Fassin.

Theme for 2015-16

The external limits of territories (borders) and the internal delimitations within societies (boundaries) have long been thought of in different terms: immigration, nationality and citizenship in the first case; racial, ethnic, religious, caste and class differentiation in the second. If globalization has hardened rather than abolished borders it has also produced new realities and anxieties concerning social boundaries. The immigrants of yesterday have often become the minorities of today. Whether one considers the parallel rise of xenophobia and Islamophobia in an increasingly integrated Europe, the links between undocumented immigrants and Latino politics in North America, the conflicts between neighboring countries involving oppressed minorities in Asia, the repression of ethnic or religious groups in Africa, or the transnational circulation of terrorist networks, the reconfiguration of borders and boundaries in both war and peace raises anew classical problems of state formation, nation-building and social contract. This is not to say that these phenomena are unprecedented: on the contrary, their genealogies and histories, colonial pasts and imperial legacies need to be explored.

How to analyze the continuities and discontinuities in the making of borders and boundaries? How to interpret contemporary insecurities concerning immigration and identities in relation with economic and cultural tensions? How to envisage the consolidation of racial, ethnic, religious differences in a context of transnational circulation of goods and people? How are the psychological dynamics of in-group and cross-group interaction interacting with shifting legal and political realities? How are class and gender inequalities recomposed in the changing patterns of the nation-state? How do public policies, political parties, social movements and non-governmental organizations address these issues? Around such questions, we hope to bring together scholars working in various countries, using empirical and comparative method as well as theoretical and normative approach, and from all disciplines, including history, sociology, anthropology, geography, psychology, economics, law, philosophy and political science. The Borders and Boundaries theme year will be led by Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School.