Each year, the Institute for Research on Women (IRW) invites several individuals to join us as IRW Visiting Scholars for four to nine months. While Visiting Scholars are expected to provide their own funding, IRW offers office space, institutional affiliation, access to the Rutgers library, and participation in a lively interdisciplinary feminist community. The theme for our discussions during the 2021-2022 academic year will be “Futures.” We invite applications from university-based scholars and scholar/activists whose work is compatible with the theme.

About the IRW

IRW promotes innovative scholarship on women, gender, and sexuality through interdisciplinary forums, lectures, and conferences. IRW’s weekly seminar allows Visiting Scholars to discuss drafts of their work with Rutgers faculty and graduate students, all of whom are working on writing projects related to the annual theme. In addition, our Visiting Scholar Program provides an opportunity for postdoctoral scholars and activists to benefit from Rutgers’ unique resources related to the study of women and gender. The IRW is a member of the Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL), a consortium of 10 different Rutgers units focused on women and gender, also including Douglass Residential College, the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, the Center for American Women and Politics, the Center for Women’s Visiting Leadership, the Center for Women and Work, the Center on Violence against Women and Children, the Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities, the Center for Women in Business, and the Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics.

IRW Visiting Scholars

IRW Visiting Scholars typically hold jobs or academic appointments elsewhere but wish to be in residence at the institute for a semester or a year. Visiting Scholars do not receive any financial support from Rutgers or the IRW, but we are happy to arrange access to university libraries and recreational facilities, provide private or shared office space, and extend invitations to participate in university lectures, colloquia, and seminars. Scholars also receive university email accounts and modest photocopying and long-distance telephone support. Former IRW Scholars have received funding through Fulbright, IREX, other local foundations, and their own institutions. University regulations severely limit our ability to accept applicants who are not funded through their home institutions or through external grants, fellowships and awards.

We invite applications from prospective scholars whose individual research or activism is compatible with the theme of our interdisciplinary research seminar. We expect that Visiting Scholars will participate in the weekly seminar along with Rutgers faculty and graduate students whose work explores the seminar theme from a variety of disciplinary and methodological perspectives. We also anticipate that Visiting Scholars will attend the events in our Distinguished Lecture Series on the same theme.

IRW Interdisciplinary Research Seminar -- Futures

Icecaps are melting. Seas are rising. A pandemic rages. Racism is endemic. Fires burn. Poverty flourishes. Authoritarians rule. At a time of widespread skepticism toward science, and when leaders sow distrust in facts and truth, it is more difficult than ever to think of the future in affirmative ways. For intellectuals on the right and the left, the future can conjure visions of the end of history, or the sense that there is “no future.” In the face of these challenges, can we imagine alternatives?

Artists, writers, and theorists continue to imagine different worlds, as do progressive social movement activists. Participants in the worldwide citizens’ movement for social change and global justice proclaim, “Another World Is Possible.” Feminists and queer people have often been at the forefront of these dissident struggles, imagining alternative pathways to the future. Futures and futurity have often been understood in relation to linear notions of time, and understandings of progress. But queer theorists challenge normative teleology and as theorist José Esteban Muñoz put it, “The future is queerness’s domain.” Perhaps we need new conceptualizations of time and space that imagine futures in alternative ways. Visual theorist Tina Campt suggests that we “imagine beyond current fact to envision that which is not but must be.”

Studies may examine any time period(s) or geographical location(s) and be rooted in any disciplinary or interdisciplinary approach(es). Some possible topics relevant to the seminar theme include, but are not limited to:

  • Climate change and environmental futures
  • Abolitionist futures
  • Afrofuturism and Afropessimism
  • Digital technology and the future of work
  • Education after Covid-19
  • Liberal democracies: rethinking “the end of history”
  • Technoscience and reproductive futurism
  • Indigenous futures
  • Speculative fictions and alternative histories
  • Contingency, teleology, and history
  • Myths of progress
  • Alternative modes of collecting data and measuring futures
  • Queer temporalities

Application Procedures

Postdoctoral scholars working in any discipline may apply. Applications should be sent by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with “Visiting Scholars” in the subject line. They should include the following: letter of intent specifying project title and proposed dates of visit; project description (five pages maximum, double-spaced); curriculum vitae and email address; names and contact information of four professional references. Prospective global scholars are invited to discuss the relevance of their project to “Futures” as part of their application. Applicants interested in further information about this program or the IRW are invited to visit our website http://irw.rutgers.edu or contact the institute by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). The deadline to apply is rolling but please note that space is limited and fills up fast.