Rising Waters Fellowship 2018

a collaborative research initiative between The Penn Program in Environmental Humanities,University of Pennsylvania


The School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences,  Mumbai.

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Call for Proposals:

Application Deadline: June 1, 2018

Notification Date: June 5, 2018


The Penn Program in Environmental Humanities (PPEH) at the University of Pennsylvania invites applications for four Penn undergraduate Rising Waters Fellowships, for the academic year 2018-2019. Each fellowship carries a $1,000 stipend, provides mentorship by faculty and peers for a comparative research project on urban waterscapes in Philadelphia and Mumbai, and funds a paid research trip with faculty and peer mentors to Mumbai in January 2019.

Rising Waters is supported by a new Penn Arts & Sciences initiative – “Making a Difference in Diverse Communities – that funds teams of faculty and students in multidisciplinary projects combining coursework, research, and service to address issues of diversity and inequality at the local, national, and international level. At Penn, this project is led by Co-Faculty Directors Nikhil Anand (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology) and Bethany Wiggin (Associate Professor, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, and Faculty Director, Penn Program in Environmental Humanities).

In Philadelphia and Mumbai, drained wetlands today accommodate marginalized residents, toxic wastescapes, energy industries, and port infrastructures. Communities have been subject to toxic harm by virtue of their raced, classed and geographic location. The project asks: in what ways do ongoing urban processes (replete with concessions to energy companies, transportation corridors, and global capital) recapitulate and reorient histories of vulnerability and inequality in times of climate change? How are residents reconsidering their relationship with water in the city to articulate new ways to live more justly with relations of human and non-human difference in the city?  

We invite students at Penn and TISS to propose original projects to address these questions.  Selected fellows will be provided resources to conduct research in the former wetlands of Philadelphia and Mumbai.  At Penn, we will select four undergraduates (especially those currently in their sophomore and junior years) to conduct research in Philadelphia. In Mumbai, four Masters’ students will be selected to conduct research on urban waters in Mumbai. Fellows in each program will have an opportunity to meet and exchange their research findings at a 3 day workshop in Mumbai in January 2019.  

The Fellowship carries an award of $1,000. Fellows will be expected to enroll in Professor Wiggin’s Liquid Histories and Floating Archives course in Fall 2018 (ANTH-154/COML-152/ENGL-052/ENVS-152/GRMN-152/HIST-152), travel to Mumbai during Winter break for the duration of the research workshop and produce original, public research.


Application Instructions:

To apply, please compile the following components into a single PDF and email the file to director@ppehlab.org with the subject line “Rising Waters Fellowship” by June 1, 2018:

  • A 350-word research statement, detailing your topic of study, research methods, and research timeline

  • A brief c.v. or resume

  • Name and contact information of one Penn faculty member who may serve as a reference