2024-25 JHI-CDHI Digital Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship

September 5, 2023 by Sonja Johnston

The Jackman Humanities Institute (JHI) at the University of Toronto, in partnership with the Critical Digital Humanities Initiative (CDHI), offers a twelve-month Postdoctoral Fellowship in Digital Humanities, with a project that fits the JHI’s annual theme, “Undergrounds/Underworlds”.

Deadline for Applications: November 30, 2023 at 4:00pm EST

2024 - 2025: Undergrounds/Underworlds

Undergrounds have figured powerfully in human histories and imaginations as places of alterity, concealment, exploration, and discovery; of fear, transition, transportation, and transmutation. They have also figured as spaces of hope, refuge, and fugitivity that weave them into radical traditions and visions of the future. From the Epic of Gilgamesh, through the Greek katabasis and Dante, to crime rings and chthonic gods, infrastructures and escape routes, DJs and the Dark Web: our languages are fascinated with depth. But our surface worlds depend crucially on subterranean networks of extraction, exploitation, and disposal. Now more than ever, we need to understand the place of underworlds in human pasts, presents, and futures. This JHI theme encourages proposals that examine what a descent into the underworlds might reveal.

The Critical Digital Humanities Initiative builds research and teaching strengths at the University of Toronto through programming, mentorship, and advocacy. Our vision is to forge a new paradigm of critical digital humanities scholarship, bringing together the humanities’ critique of power and historical perspectives with digital tools for socially transformative research. Our mission is to create a large, active, and inclusive network of digital humanities researchers at U of T and to make U of T a world leader in critical digital humanities research, teaching, and training.

CDHI defines digital humanities broadly, to include both critical praxis and the analysis of digitality. At the University of Toronto, Critical Digital Humanities foregrounds creative praxis, co-creation, public engagement, and community-based research.

The JHI-CDHI DH Postdoctoral Fellow will have an established track record in their own discipline and/or the digital humanities. They will pursue their own research while at UofT, while working to foster the Critical Digital Humanities Initiative.


The JHI-CDHI DH Postdoctoral Fellow will draw upon their disciplinary expertise and upon training provided by the JHI, CDHI, and U of T Libraries to connect and strengthen DH projects across the tricampus university. Specifically, depending on their own skillset and research interests, the JHI DH Postdoctoral Fellow will spend 15 hours per week as a member of the CDHI Executive Team, where they will:

  •  run regular roundtables and workshops on digital humanities topics
  • convene a monthly community of practice to support the cohort of the Graduate Fellows in Critical Digital Humanities
  • organize, facilitate, and participate in other tricampus DH training initiatives
  • facilitate introductions and connections between researchers within CDHI
  • join CDHI events, such as visiting speakers, workshops, and conferences
  • participate in one of the CDHI Working Groups
  • attend weekly CDHI Executive Team meetings
  • participate in planning the future shape and directions of CDHI

While working with the CDHI, the Fellow will also be part of the JHI scholarly community and will participate in weekly JHI fellows lunches every Thursday from the beginning of September to the first week of May.

The JHI-CDHI DH Postdoctoral Fellowship is a twelve-month position, from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025 supervised by Professor Elspeth Brown (Faculty Director of CDHI and Professor of Historical Studies) and Alison Keith (University Professor and Director of the Jackman Humanities Institute). The JHI-CDHI DH Postdoctoral Fellow may seek additional research supervision from within U of T according to their own interests. They will have access to an office, equipment and collaborative digital working space at JHI. This fellowship award provides an annual stipend of $66,275 (CAD) plus benefits. The incumbent is welcome to seek up to two one-semester courses as a sessional instructor with the appropriate unit(s) at the University of Toronto. The JHI-CDHI DH Postdoctoral Fellow will be expected to pursue their own research relevant to the JHI’s annual theme of Undergrounds/Underworlds.

Eligibility and Attributes

Applicants must have completed their doctorate within five years of the beginning of the fellowship on July 1, 2024. Applicants who will defend their thesis before the end of May 2024 are eligible, but a letter from their supervisor or Chair may be requested. Any award will be conditional on a successful defense. Applicants who received their Ph.D. prior to July 1, 2018 are ineligible. Applicants who are graduates of doctoral programs at the University of Toronto are eligible. This position is not open to those who hold a tenure-track position.

The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate excellence in teaching and research and have an established track record in the digital humanities, with a focus on critical DH. They will understand the history, development, and current state of the field; be able to assess institutional processes and policies; be willing to work with a range of scholars in and outside of their own field; desire to learn and pursue research in an interdisciplinary, collaborative environment; and be committed to open-source development and open access scholarship.

The JHI-CDHI Digital Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship is open to citizens of all countries. The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons/persons of colour, women, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ+ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas. Engagement as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto is covered by the terms of the CUPE 3902 Unit 5 Collective Agreement.

Doctoral candidates and Ph.D. recipients from the University of Toronto are eligible to apply.

The Jackman Humanities Institute interprets “Humanities” as a broad category, including political theory, interpretive social science, music, and the arts. 


You will be asked to upload the following documents in your application (please see our FAQ for further information about length and content):

  1. Letter of Application
  2. Research proposal relevant to the annual theme of Undergrounds/Underworlds
  3. Statement of Digital Humanities Research Interest, with specific reference to work in critical DH
  4. Curriculum vitae
  5. Research Sample
  6. 100-word research description
  7. 100-word biographical statement

All documents must be compiled into a single file in PDF format. You will also be asked to provide the names and email addresses of two referees, whom we will contact to request letters of reference. Your referees will receive an automated request for their letters, which will be due on December 7, 2023.  Please ask your referees to watch for our request email.

If you SAVE your file without clicking SUBMIT, you will be able to edit your application and replace your application document until you click SUBMIT or the deadline passes. Please submit your application before the deadline. If you SAVE, you will receive a secret number that will enable you to re-enter your application. Please record this number; JHI staff will not have access to this information.


All applications must be submitted by November 30, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. (EST). Faxed, emailed, and paper applications will not be considered.


FAQs About the JHI-CDHI Digital Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship

You MUST submit all files as a single, compiled pdf file.  This is necessary to ensure that your application will be readable.  Please do not send files that with security settings that prevent printing. Beyond that, here are some general suggestions and guidelines.

JHI receives applications from across many disciplines and from around the world. Standards vary, and we prefer not to set rigid rules in the matter. Please know that you will not be disqualified from applying if your documents do not comply with the following guidelines.

Make your documents easy to read: use 11- or 12-point type, and 1.5 or double spacing. Avoid unnecessarily complicated fonts.

  1. Letter of Application (1-2 pages): Introduce yourself and explain briefly why you are interested in digital humanities research at the University of Toronto, and how your research will respond to the annual theme of Undergrounds/Underworlds. Consider this to be an overview summary of the arguments that you will develop with greater detail in your other documents.
  2. Research Proposal (4-6 pages): Explain in detail what you would like to accomplish while you are a fellow. Your project should be relevant to the annual theme of Undergrounds/Underworlds. Tell us about your anticipated goals and timeline for this project, and about the methodology that you will use to do it. It is perfectly acceptable to propose a thesis-to-book overhaul.
  3. Statement of Digital Humanities Research Interest (2-4 pages):  Tell us how your work fits into the field of digital humanities. Describe any organizational experience that might support your work building the Critical Digital Humanities Initiative. What kinds of DH are you interested in fostering during your fellowship, and how might you go about doing this? What are your own goals in DH for the fellowship year?
  4. Curriculum Vitae (as long as necessary): this is your full academic record. Please include all publications (both peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed), research presentations, and previous digital humanities work of any nature. The focus here is more on research than on teaching.
  5. Research Sample (length varies with content): This could be a chapter from your thesis, or a published article, or an example of DH work that you have created or taken a leading role in such as a digital publication or portfolio. You can include a sample of your writing or provide a brief introduction and a URL (or multiple URLs) that show your DH work in your application document.
  6. Short bio and summary of project (maximum 100 words each): If you are selected, these texts will be used for publicity purposes.

Yes. You can, if you choose to SAVE but not SUBMIT your application until the deadline. If you click SAVE, you will be given a numerical code and be emailed a link. Record this code (it will not be sent with the email). You will have to enter the code to continue your application. JHI staff members do not have access to your code and cannot generate a new code if you lose it. When you are finished, remember to SUBMIT your application before the deadline.

If you receive an offer of this fellowship, it will be contingent on your having completed all outstanding doctoral work before July 1, 2024.  This means that if you apply but have not defended, we will be in touch with your Chair or supervisor to confirm your defense date (it must be before May 1) and post-defense status. If you defend and have revisions to make, you must complete them successfully before July 1.

You are not eligible to apply.  This fellowship is offered with a five-year eligibility that tracks from the date when the fellowship begins on July 1, 2024.

The JHI will require your attendance at a fellows’ lunch each Thursday from 12:00pm to 2:00pm from the beginning of September until the end of April (there are two weeks in December when the University will close for the holidays). The CDHI may require you to help with events during the summer; if you are also teaching, please check for the dates when you must be in Toronto with your unit.

There is no funding for moving expenses. You are welcome to apply for up to two one-semester courses of sessional teaching in any unit appropriate to your field of doctoral study. Sessional job postings will appear on the CUPE 3902 (Unit 3) Opportunities web page.

For questions about the JHI part of the fellowship, email JHI Associate Director Dr. Kimberley Yates; for questions about the CDHI part of the fellowship, email CDHI Managing Director Danielle Taschereau Mamers; for technical questions about the application form, email JHI Communications Officer Sonja Johnston.