postdoc applications

Applications for SPAN Postdoctoral Fellows are closed.
Please check back Fall 2021. 

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Sexuality Studies (Social Scientific Approaches)
Northwestern University
DEADLINE: December 2, 2019

The Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN) invites applications for two-year post- doctoral fellowships in sexuality studies, to run from September 1, 2020 through August 31, 2022. Two Fellows will be selected. Applications are welcome from scholars who study sexuality from a social science perspective (broadly construed). Each Fellow’s appointment will be in the Gender & Sexuality Studies Program and may also be in a department at Northwestern. We are interested in candidates who could affiliate with one of the following participating departments: African-American Studies, Anthropology, Communication Studies, History, Human Development and Social Policy, Linguistics, Performance Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, or Sociology. That is, the Fellow must have relevant expertise in both sexuality studies and one of the listed substantive fields, and must be prepared to teach courses that reflect that expertise.

Fellows will pursue a program of independent scholarship under the guidance of a faculty mentor and will teach two undergraduate courses each year (typically one seminar and one lecture course) over the course of the three-quarter-long teaching year. Fellows will also be expected to be active participants in SPAN’s community of faculty and graduate students and, as applicable, in their affiliated department by attending talks and events, and by giving a public talk once each year. Finally, they will assist in the organization of on-campus educational activities such as an annual SPAN workshop.

Applicants with a Ph.D. (or equivalent doctoral degree) must have completed it after September 1, 2015. Applicants without a Ph.D. (or equivalent doctoral degree) must complete all the requirements for the degree before September 1, 2020. At time of application, the applicant must be available for the full two-year term. The stipend is $60,000 in the first year of the fellowship. In addition, the Fellow is eligible for $3,500 per year to fund research and conference travel, and up to $1,500 for allowable relocation expenses in the first year. Up to $1,000 is also available for allowable travel expenses for an area visit prior to the start of the postdoc term. This is a full-time, benefits eligible position.

All application materials other than letters of recommendation must be received by December 2, 2019. Letters of recommendation are due no later than December 9, 2019. Because your references will not receive submission instructions until you submit your completed application, we recommend that you submit your application well before the deadline.

FAQs and submission instructions appears below. Administrative questions not addressed below should be directed to Cassilyn Ostrander ( Substantive questions not addressed below may be sent to the co-directors of SPAN, Héctor Carrillo ( and Gregory Ward ( For more information about departments or programs at Northwestern, see

AA/EOE. Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.

For information on our past and current postdoctoral fellows, click here.


Please read ALL instructions and make all preparations before clicking the link to proceed to the application page.



If you have been asked to submit a letter of recommendation for an applicant, please use the link in your email instructions instead of this page.



  1. Applications will only be accepted through the online form. Please make sure all documents are prepared in advance, because partial applications will not be accepted and cannot be saved. Also, please be sure all information is entered completely and accurately (especially names and email addresses), as there will be no opportunity for online revision after your application has been accepted.
  2. All uploaded files should be in Adobe PDF format. Files in another electronic format (e.g., MS Word) should be saved or “printed to” PDF format before uploading. If you only have a paper version of a particular document, you may scan it and save it as a PDF. However, the first method is preferred, because it retains text recognition capabilities.
  3. Three names and email addresses for external references are required. One letter should normally be from your dissertation chair. It is also very helpful if at least one letter comments specifically on your teaching experience and abilities. If you have not yet defended and submitted your dissertation, please advise your chair that their letter must specifically discuss what work remains to be completed and when you will complete all the requirements to receive your degree.
  4. The following materials are all required:
    • Cover Letter: In addition to briefly situating your work in relation to the field and SPAN’s emphasis on sexuality studies from a social science perspective (broadly construed), please be sure to do all of the following:
      1. Identify the proposed departmental affiliation.
      2. Briefly describe your research trajectory to date. (Because you will be submitting a separate dissertation summary, the description of the dissertation in the cover letter can be limited to a paragraph.)
      3. Describe how you would make use of the time at Northwestern to further your research and writing. This plan may include, but should extend beyond, revisions to the dissertation.
      4. Discuss your teaching qualifications and provide titles and short descriptions of two or three undergraduate courses that you could teach under the auspices of the Gender & Sexuality Studies Program and/or another relevant program or department within the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences—see the list here:
    • Curriculum vitae.
    • Research Statement. This should be a two-page summary of your dissertation.
    • Writing Sample. The size of the writing sample should be equivalent to a single journal article, book chapter, or dissertation chapter; it may be published or unpublished. Only one sample may be submitted. It must be in English. The MAXIMUM PAGE LENGTH is 50 pages.
    • Graduate Transcript. A transcript from your doctoral-degree-granting institution. An unofficial transcript is acceptable. The transcript may be omitted if your doctoral program did not include formal graded classes; if that is the case, please instead submit a statement to that effect.
  5. Very soon after you submit your complete online application, your references will automatically be emailed instructions for uploading a letter of recommendation. NOTE: If you are using a professional placement or dossier service (e.g., Interfolio) to submit any or all recommendations, please use the service’s email address instead of your reference’s email address in the appropriate space. Once again, please be sure all addresses are entered correctly with no spelling errors; otherwise your reference or dossier service will not receive the instructions.
  6. Some things to remember when uploading your application documents:
    • Please note that no document may exceed 4 MB in size, so be sure to minimize the size of any large PDF files before uploading.
    • File names should not contain parentheses, quotation marks, or other such characters; the system will likely not accept such documents.
  7. When you have assembled all your PDF files and are ready with your list of references, you may proceed to the Online Application. All required fields must be filled in before you click on the “Submit Application” button. The system will not accept incomplete applications. Applications that are complete by December 2, 2019 will be ensured full consideration. (Letters of Reference will be allowed to arrive for one week after the deadline.) You will receive an email confirmation shortly after your application has been received.


I am a foreign student. Will Northwestern provide a visa?

International scholars are eligible to apply for the postdoctoral fellowship. For more information, click here.

I plan to do field research away from the Chicago area. Will that be a problem?

Postdocs are generally expected to be in residence and full participants in the scholarly community during the nine-month academic year (late September through mid-June), with the exception of the winter and spring breaks. Short trips to conduct research, attend conferences, give talks, etc., are normal and are typically scheduled so as not to conflict with teaching or other important responsibilities.

My Ph.D. is not from a social science department. Am I still eligible?

Yes, but it’s your responsibility to make clear how you rely in a substantial way on social science theories and/or methods in studying sexuality.

I study gender (or transgender) issues. Do you consider that to be part of sexuality studies?

There are a wide variety of ways in which gender (and transgender) issues are connected with theoretical concerns and empirical topics in sexuality studies—often quite intimately so. Although in principle there are no clear boundaries between sexuality studies and gender (or transgender) studies, in practice some scholars study gender (or transgender) issues in ways that do not substantially connect with the sexuality studies literature. It is your obligation to make clear in the application how and where your work is located within sexuality studies and what contribution you make to sexuality studies.

I got my degree x years ago. Do I still qualify?

As stated above, you must have completed your Ph.D. (or equivalent doctoral degree) after September 1, 2015 in order to be eligible.

I received my Ph.D from Northwestern. Am I still eligible to apply?

Northwestern Ph.D.’s are eligible to apply but will be given a lower priority in our consideration.

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