Each year, the Institute for Research on Women (IRW) invites several individuals to join us as 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 2024-2025 academic year is “Knowing Otherwise: Haunting, Conjuring, and Spectral Encounters.” 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 scholars program provides an opportunity for postdoctoral scholars and activists to benefit from Rutgers’ unique resources related to the study of women and gender. IRW is a member of the Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL), a consortium of several 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, and the Center for Women and Work, among others.

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 - Knowing Otherwise: Haunting, Conjuring, and Spectral Encounters

To connect with ancestors, spirits, and ghosts entails intergenerational remembering that transcends individual memories and experiences and disrupts the space-time continuum. It involves tending to both the dead and the living, presence and absence, matter and trace, and past and future. It calls into question notions of discrete selfhood, human agency, and linear temporality, the anthropocentrism and humanistic possessive individualism of Eurocentric, colonial, heteropatriarchal systems of knowledge. It demands that we reimagine our relationship not only to time, knowledge, and the non-human but also to the object of our study. We should be prepared to be surprised, affected, changed, and hailed by that which lingers and haunts, instead of expecting intellectual mastery and command. Engaging with non-material and spectral forms of existence requires knowing, relating, and doing in ways that may transcend our training in the academy.

Knowing Otherwise will extend our discussion of our 2023–2024 annual theme, Possession, to explore interstitial ways of knowing, feminist and queer theorizing, and world-making. This seminar will explore how haunting, conjuring, and spectral encounters challenge us to think beyond the limits of what is already comprehensible and conceivable and refuse the epistemic exclusion of knowledge frameworks and practices that come from outside of the academy. We will reauthorize embodied knowledge and subaltern memories that elude documentation and verification, while straining to apprehend that which cannot be fully grasped, yet cannot be ignored.

Studies may examine any time period(s) or geographical location(s) and be rooted in any disciplinary or interdisciplinary approach(es). We welcome work that centers ways to revive and reclaim lost or suppressed histories, memories, relations, epistemologies, and practices through a range of modalities, from poetry and the creative arts to genome science and archaeology. Topics may include but are not limited to: hauntology; rememory; conjure feminism; queer temporality; restorative nostalgia; grief work; spectral justice; spiritualism; the occult; writing about ghosts; dark tourism; deathscapes; traumascapes; ghost species; ecocide; artificial intelligence; and multispecies justice.

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 visiting scholars are invited to discuss the relevance of their project to “Knowing Otherwise: Haunting, Conjuring, and Spectral Encounters” 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.