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Simpson Center for the Humanities

Faculty Summer Reading Groups

“If you can’t read, my sister said,
can you be happy?”

“Winter Journey” by Louise Glück
The New York Review of Books, Dec. 17, 2020


The Covid-19 pandemic and its resultant closures have disrupted and constrained traditional scholarly practices, from archival research to conference travel. At the same time, in this moment of transformation, new forms of scholarly engagement are emerging and accelerating—virtual conferences, for example—and established practices are being reimagined.

Faculty reading groups will bring UW faculty together in conversation on an area of shared intellectual interest, and serve to deepen the knowledge of the topic among participants. These groups may lead to larger-scale collaborations among faculty in future years, but should initially be conceptualized as focused on reading and discussing recent research in an area of mutual interest.

This is a pilot program. The deadline for proposals is Monday, March 15, 2021. Applications will be accepted through this form.


Groups must be led by and consist of tenure-track faculty or full-time teaching faculty at all ranks (assistant teaching professor, associate teaching professor, and teaching professor).

Faculty may not participate in more than one reading group, and must choose only one as proposals are being developed.


The size of each group is limited to 5-6 participants to ensure focused discussion of the shared readings. Groups must draw participants from at least 2 different departments. Groups may, but are not required to, involve faculty from the Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma campuses.  

Terms of Award

Groups will independently determine when to meet—it could be an intensive week, or regularly scheduled meetings over the course of the summer—but the expectation is that each group will convene for a minimum of 10 hours during the funding term. An example might be a reading group of five people in African Studies which gathers together five times for two hours each week to discuss five recent books in the field. We can also imagine a group of six people who are interested in integrating emerging research in Disability Studies into their teaching practice, who meet for two hours per day for one week. Another group might put together a bibliography of recent research in language pedagogy. The term of funding begins July 1, 2021. We ask that groups conclude their meetings by September 15, 2021.

Every participant will receive $1500 in compensation; group leaders will receive $1750; funds can be taken as either support for research or as salary (in the latter case benefits will need to be deducted from the amount).

Groups will be asked to submit a brief report on their experience, as well as a bibliography of readings.

Application Process and Materials

  • Topic abstract (250 words)
  • Bibliography of potential readings
  • Schedule of meetings
  • CV for lead organizer (limit 3 pages) and participant list (please include names and departments)

Applications will be accepted through this form.

Please direct any questions to Rachel Arteaga, Simpson Center Assistant Director, at