Humanities Call: Meaning-making Research Initiatives (MRI)
Application deadline: September 15, 2017
Established in 1973, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) promotes research by African and Diaspora scholars in the Social Sciences and Humanities that can contribute to a better understanding of Africa and its place in the world. This is done in the belief that sound knowledge of the continent is invaluable to efforts to make Africa a better place for its peoples and societies.
Within the framework of its 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, CODESRIA introduces Meaning-Making Research Initiative (MRI) as the principal tool for supporting research. Like previous tools, MRI will focus on supporting research that contributes to agendas for imagining, planning and creating African futures. MRI replaces five tools that CODESRIA had deployed in previous years to support research, vis. National Working Groups (NWG), Multinational Working Groups (MWG), Comparative Research Networks (CRN), Transnational Working Groups (TWG) and Postdoctoral grants. One goal of this move is to increase the legibility and visibility of the research supported by the Council by collapsing previous tools into a single and therefore reducing the number of tools deployed to support research.
The adoption of MRI marks a recommitment to the tasks of interpretation and explanation that saw CODESRIA produce ground-breaking work on thematic issues such as democratization and economic reform in Africa. MRI will more aggressively push scholars to build on the close observation of African social realities to grapple with the tasks of explanation, interpretation and efforts to come to terms with and surpass challenges in Africa. The initiative will be marked by reinforced support to researchers and their better integration into the Council’s work. It will also systematically give scholars more varied ways to present their work, including through books, journal articles and policy interventions.
A special Humanities call
Projects under this special Humanities call will be funded from a grant extended to CODESRIA by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to strengthen teaching and research of the Humanities in African universities. CODESRIA receives generous core support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida. Scholars in the Humanities can submit proposals in response to other CODESRIA calls and CODESRIA is already producing significant work in the Humanities through its current activities. The Council is issuing this special call for proposals because of the peculiar challenges that teaching and research in the Humanities are encountering in African universities today. It is also motivated by the important contributions that scholarship in the Humanities can make to our understanding of Africa and efforts to construct African futures. CODESRIA seeks projects that broach new and interesting questions and employs innovative methods to address these issues. Projects that address important social challenges on the continent and that are rooted in conversations between the Humanities and other fields of knowledge like the social and natural sciences are strongly encouraged. Work that examines on the status and importance of the Humanities in society and reflects on how to develop humanities teaching and research in universities are also encouraged.
Key selection criteria:
Proposals funded under this initiative will meet many of the following criteria:
• Propose research on important aspects of African social realities that fall under CODESRIA’s priority themes as outlined in the Strategic Plan;
• Be guided by clear questions that explore puzzling aspects of the social realities of Africa and its position in the world;
• Be grounded in the thorough exploration of the continent’s social realities and history;
• Engage constructively and rigorously with African futures;
• Be theoretically ambitious with a clear goal of providing new and innovative ways of understanding and making sense of African social realities;
• Explore multiple spatial, temporal and sectoral settings where this contributes to the process of meaning-making
• Demonstrate familiarity with knowledge already produced by CODESRIA
Group initiatives: MRIs under this special call should be groups of researchers from one country or multiple countries. Each group should have between 3 and 5 members and should take into account CODESRIA’s core principles of gender, linguistic, intergenerational, interdisciplinary diversity. All members of a group should have a demonstrated ability to contribute meaningfully to the work of the group. The Council offers up to USD 35,000 for each winning project.
All applications must engage with CODESRIA’s 2017-2021 thematic priorities and cross-cutting issues:
1. Democratic processes, governance, citizenship and security in Africa: Security challenges and ways of grappling with them, transitional justice, democratization, citizenship and migration, the rule of law and human rights, governance processes and mechanisms at local, national and international levels, language, the changing boundaries and configurations of states and communities
2. Ecologies, economies and societies in Africa: Land, natural resource management, climate change, demographic change, urbanization, food security and poverty in Africa and technological innovation as well as the interaction of human populations with the rest of the environment in Africa, the forms it takes, its histories and trajectories and its impact on a broad set of sectors including the continent’s burgeoning economies
3. Higher education dynamics in a changing Africa: The role of higher education in economic and political transformation in Africa, the rapid transformation in the African higher education landscape, the reform of African higher education and innovations in higher education leadership
Cross-cutting themes: Gender, generations, inequality, rurality and urbanity, memory and history, as well as futures and alternatives
How to apply
Interested applicants should submit application packages containing the following required materials as Word documents. Please note that applications that lack any of these elements will be discarded.
• A proposal with the following clearly titled sections: an introduction; statement and contextualization of research question; brief review of literature and/or competing hypotheses; study design and research methodology; theoretical and practical significance of the study; research plan and a brief summary of budget. Proposals must be submitted as Word documents and should not exceed 10 pages long (font type: Times New Roman; font size: 12; line spacing: double). Brief budgets should be incorporated into proposals and should take into consideration the fact that these grants have strict 18-month lifespans. CODESRIA will directly fund launch and completion workshops.
The budget should cover expenses for the following:
♣ Field and/or archival research to be undertaken
♣ Books and other scholarly materials purchased for the project
♣ Honorariums paid to researchers during field and/or archival research
• Annotated plan of deliverables: One-page annotated table of contents for book or annotated plan for three scholarly articles to be produced as deliverables of the project.
• A cover letter listing full details– names, email and physical addresses and telephone number- of the members and coordinator of the project
• CVs of the members of the project, including full contact details
• Institutional affiliation: A letter indicating institutional affiliation of each member
• Identification sheet: A completed version of the identification sheet attached to this call.
Please leave the document as an Excel file.
The deadline for submission of applications for both individual and group grants is September 15, 2017. Notification of the result of the selection process will be done by October 15, 2017 and applicants who will not hear from us by then should consider their applications unsuccessful. All applications should be sent by email to 2017 Research Initiatives Program, CODESRIA at email@example.com. When sending your email kindly use the subject line ‘MRI Hum 2017’ to facilitate the processing of your application.
BP 3304, CP 18524
Tel: +221 – 33 825 9822/23
Fax: +221- 33 824 1289