Folger Shakespeare Library Before "Farm to Table" Fellowships

Early Modern Foodways and Cultures

Before Farm to Table: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures, the inaugural project of the Folger Institute’s Mellon initiative in collaborative research, announces a competition for semester-long fellowships to be held in residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library in one of two semesters: either Spring 2019 or Fall 2019, for three to four months.  Each Before Farm to Table fellow will be awarded $10,000 for work in the Folger collections on topics relating to early modern food and foodways in the British world, broadly conceived.

The Before Farm to Table project uses the pervasiveness of food in everyday life as a window into early modern culture. Food, then as now, is a basic human need. It also has a history and is a gateway to understanding society and culture. In the course of this project, we will investigate big questions about the way food participates in and actively shapes human knowledge, ethics, and imagination. Such issues as the unevenness of food supply, the development and spread of tastes with their darker supply sides of enslaved labor, and the socially cohesive rituals of eating together will be explored. With fresh understandings of a pre-industrial world, this project also gives us purchase on some post-industrial assumptions, aspirations, and challenges encapsulated in any idea of recovering simpler, local, and sustainable food chains.

To apply for the Before Farm to Table fellowship, please submit the following:

  • 250-word abstract of your project.
  • 1,000-word description of your project, placing particular emphasis upon the ways that you intend to work with the Folger’s collections and how you position your project in a multidisciplinary conversation.
  • Two-page CV.
  • One-to-two page list of primary sources, rare materials, or digital assets you wish to consult at the Folger Library.  This list will be used to help determine the viability of your project in view of the availability, condition, and conservation or exhibition status of the Folger’s collections. 
  • The names of two recommenders, who will submit letters separately.

Applications will be evaluated by a multidisciplinary team of scholars affiliated with Before Farm to Table.  The committee is charged with evaluating applications based on the proposed topic’s impact, its relevance to the field, the originality and sophistication of the scholar’s approach, the feasibility of the scholar’s research objectives, and their expected use of Folger collections. 

Scholars must hold a Ph.D. in their field in order to apply for this fellowship.  

All materials originating from the applicant (abstract, project description, CV, list of sources) should be compiled into a single pdf and sent to Before Farm to Table Project Coordinator Jonathan MacDonald via email at with the subject line “BFT Fellowship Application.”  All letters of recommendation should be sent directly to with the subject line “BFT Fellowship Application” and the applicant’s last name.

Questions about eligibility and process can be directed to Before Farm to Table Project Coordinator Jonathan MacDonald ( or to Before Farm to Table Co-Director and Folger Assistant Director for Fellowships Dr. Amanda E. Herbert (

General Rules and Requirements for Fellowships

Citizenship. Folger fellowships are open to scholars of any nationality. Awards for long-term NEH fellowships are restricted to US citizens or foreign nationals who have been in the US for the three years preceding application.

Degrees and training.  Applicants for long-term fellowships should have the Ph.D. by the time they begin their residency. Some short-term fellowships require the Ph.D. and others do not.  Artists, archivists, curators, independent scholars, and librarians should hold appropriate terminal degrees in their field. 

 Deliberations.  For long-term fellowships, an external committee of five scholars serves as a review committee. Short-term fellowship awards are determined by a committee made up of members of the professional staff of the Folger and one or two invited scholars. Membership on both committees changes each year. We seek to establish committees that reflect the disciplinary, geographic, gender, and status diversity of the applicant pool. All committee discussions are confidential.  We do not share reviewers’ comments.

Exclusions.  Folger staff, current consultants, and members of the Folger Shakespeare Library Board of Governors are not eligible to apply for Folger fellowships. Folger Staff members should direct inquiries about research leave and professional opportunities to their supervisors and/or to Folger Human Resources.

Reapplication.  Applicants who are unsuccessful in the long-term fellowship competition may participate in the short-term fellowship competition.  Applicants will need to go through the online application process again and should be prepared to revise their proposal narratives to fit the circumstances of a short-term residency.

Projects.  The Folger will only award two fellowships per project.  These may be two short-term fellowships or one short-term and one long-term fellowship.  The Folger will not award two long-term fellowships for the same project.  Each application process is separate and each competition stands on its own.

The Folger Shakespeare Library believes that each individual has the right to work in a professional, supportive, and safe atmosphere, and in our fellowships program we do not discriminate on the basis of age; color; creed; citizenship status; disability status; ethnicity; family responsibilities; gender identity or expression; genetic information; gender non-conformity; marital status; national origin; neurodiversity status; physical or cognitive functionality, symptoms, or limitations; political affiliation; pregnancy; race; religion; sex; sex stereotyping; sexual or asexual orientation; student status; transgender status; or veteran status.   

Date de candidature
1 semestre
Humanités : Anthropologie & Ethnologie, Histoire