Sarah Pettit Doctoral Fellowship in Lesbian Studies

Call for Proposal
Sarah Pettit Doctoral Fellowship in LGBT Studies - 
Queer Studies and Religion
2019 Doctoral Dissertation Workshop with Kathryn Lofton and Linn Tonstad
May 13-17, 2019 at Yale University

Yale LGBT Studies is pleased to announce that the Sarah Pettit Doctoral Fellowship in Lesbian Studies at Yale University is welcoming applications for a biennial dissertation-writing workshop for a cohort of doctoral fellows. The 2019 Yale Pettit Doctoral Fellowship Workshop will take place May 13-17, 2019 in New Haven, CT and will focus on scholarship at the intersection of queer studies, LGBT studies, and religious studies.
Fellows will convene for a three-day intensive workshop at Yale University where they will present and engage with each other’s work. They will meet with and receive feedback from the workshop’s two faculty mentors, Professors Kathryn Lofton and Linn Tonstad. Following the three-day workshop, fellows will stay in New Haven for an additional two days to write and to take advantage of Yale University libraries and resources. Selected fellows will receive small stipends and travel funding in addition to room and board for the week of the workshop. Application deadline is Friday, February 15, 2019.
2019 Pettit Fellowship Description
We welcome applicants from the humanities, social sciences, performing and fine arts, and beyond, to share their emerging scholarship on queer studies and religion. We are interested in applicants who will teach this gathered community about the disciplinary limits they perceive through their research and how they supersede those limits (or are constrained by those methods). We have no central object that organizes us other than the hope to discover, through conversation and critical reading, sharper arguments for our shared scholarship. Within the frame of queer and feminist studies, a great deal of incisive scholarship has suggested the value of ambivalence as an analytic entryway to the conflicted modes of queer political, affective, and conceptual survival. Within religious and theological studies scholars have repeatedly, perhaps excessively, returned to complexity as a concluding term of historical, sociological, or theoretical valuation. We are excited to imagine interpretations beyond complicated ambivalence. How do we author scholarship at the intersection of queer studies, lesbian studies, and religious studies that does not summarize states of multiplicity but also argues for interpretive clarity? What would queer feminist criticism in the study of religion produce? What can the study of religion offer queer feminist critics? During the workshop we imagine discussing particular features of fellows’ scholarship as well as the factors (social, economic, and ideological) influencing the production of scholarship in the present time.

Applicants must be enrolled doctoral candidates who have completed coursework, qualifying exams, and submitted their dissertation prospectus (i.e., ABD status). Students studying or located in all geographical regions are welcome. However, funds from the Pettit Fellowship may not be able to cover the total cost of travel for many students coming from international locations. We encourage students from non-US locations to apply for supplementary travel funding from their home institutions. Doctoral students enrolled at Yale University are ineligible to apply for the Fellowship.

Students working on projects concerned with a range of genders, gender identities, sexualities, and sexual practices are invited to apply. We seek applicants who can engage scholarship outside their specializations and who are interested to consider the broad consequences of different methods and approaches for scholarly work.

The Sarah Pettit Fund was established in 2003 as a permanent endowment to honor and perpetuate the memory of lesbian activist Sarah Pettit, who earned her BA from Yale in 1988. Pettit died in 2003 in the midst of a high profile career as a writer, editor, and LGBTQ advocate. She was for many years the editor-in-chief and vice president of OUT Magazine, which she co-founded in 1992. In 1999, she was appointed the senior editor of Newsweek’s Arts and Entertainment section. She served on the advisory board of the New York Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project.

From 2006 to 2014, the Sarah Pettit Fellowship was run as a biennial fellowship providing a year of support to a graduate student, from an institution other than Yale, who was writing a dissertation in LGBT Studies, with lesbian studies as its focus. From 2016 onwards, the format changed to a biennial dissertation-writing workshop for scholars working on select themes in lesbian studies.

Recipients of the Sarah Pettit Fellowship:
2006-2007   Emma Heaney, University of California, Irvine
2008-2009   Quinlan Miller, Northwestern University
2010-2011   Serena Dankwa, University of Berne, Switzerland
2013-2014   Nessette Falu, Rice University 


Applications are due February 15, 2019 and should include:

• cover letter

• one-page chapter or topic proposal for presentation and discussion at the workshop

• curriculum vitae

• letter of support from the dissertation advisor and the name of two additional references

Click here for application and instructions for submission. Questions about the program may be directed to 

We expect notifications to go out by mid-March 2019.