ABOUT THE FELLOWSHIP
The following information applies to applications for the 2021-22 cohort of postdoctoral fellows. The application cycle for this cohort will open on December 1, 2020 and will close on February 15, 2021.
The Digital Civil Society Lab brings promising new scholars to Stanford University for 1 year appointments (renewable once, for total of two years) as postdoctoral fellows.
Each fellow will be primarily affiliated with the Digital Civil Society Lab, and potentially cross-affiliated with a department or school at Stanford University depending on the fellow’s specific disciplinary focus.
The annual fellowship stipend is $67,000, plus the standard benefits that postdoctoral fellows at Stanford University receive, including health insurance and travel funds. The fellowship program falls under U.S. Immigration J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa activities.
The start date of the fellowship will be September 2021, unless otherwise agreed. To assume a postdoctoral fellowship, scholars must have a PhD in hand by July 1, 2021. We cannot consider applications from scholars who earned a PhD earlier than September 1, 2018.
We encourage applications from candidates representing a broad range of disciplines including the social sciences, humanities, law, computer science and engineering.
ABOUT THE DIGITAL CIVIL SOCIETY LAB
The Stanford Digital Civil Society Lab seeks to understand, inform, protect and promote civil society in a digitally dependent world. Our goal is to foster a thriving and independent digital civil society rooted in a democratic commitment to freedom of association and assembly, freedom of speech and privacy. Our approach is interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral:
- We conduct and catalyze research across disciplines,
- We develop learning opportunities for civil society and philanthropic organizations,
- We support an emerging generation of community advocates, technologists and policymakers through teaching and fellowships,
- We promote efforts to better integrate civil society and digital policy advocacy.
The digital age has transformed civil society participation and organization, and it has presented new challenges and threats. Our dependencies on digital software and infrastructure require new insights into how these digital systems work and how an independent civil society can engage them safely, ethically and effectively for mission.
The Digital Civil Society Lab aims to understand how digital technologies have transformed civil society, and shape these transformations by engaging research, practitioner and policy communities across the interconnected domains that support a thriving and independent civil society in the digital age. Our hypothesis involves attention, creation, and consideration of four domains of action:
- Technology: software, hardware, and infrastructure designed for human dignity, safety, privacy, collective action, and other civil society values
- Organizations: structures and practices that align with civil society’s democratic purposes
- Policy: legal practices and regulatory frames that protect the building blocks of civil society, including free assembly, association, speech, and privacy
- Norms: social norms and practices that promote safe and equitable data collection, generation and use, and that support the critical role of civil society in democracies
The Digital Civil Society Lab is investigating key research themes that include:
- The key dimensions of digital infrastructure and data and how they influence the role of civil society in democracies;
- The challenges and opportunities for assembly and association in a world of pervasive data-collecting, digital infrastructure;
- The possibilities for decolonizing technology and developing alternative political economies around digital connectivity
- The nature of digital data donations and/or the governance mechanisms, enterprise forms, or legal constructs that such donations require;
- Understanding interactions between global digital networks, digital activism, and traditional and emergent forms of association in civil society.
The Lab’s research draws from the humanities, social sciences, engineering, computer science and the law to understand and advance the principles of civil society and democracies in the digital age.
Please note: Postdoctoral fellows at DCSL are expected to participate fully in a biweekly seminar series at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, and are expected to contribute to teaching the Digital Civil Society seminar in partnership with other DCSL faculty, scholars and postdocs.
DCSL is an initiative of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS) and is led by Lucy Bernholz, senior research scholar at Stanford PACS, and Rob Reich, professor of Political Science and faculty co-director of Stanford PACS.
For a sense of the scholarship that DCSL supports, see: https://pacscenter.stanford.edu/research/digital-civil-society-lab/.
Questions about the Digital Civil Society Lab should be directed to Heather Noelle Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 1, 2020: Application period opens
February 1, 2021: Application period closes
February, 2021: Interviews with shortlisted candidates
March, 2021: Offers extended to finalist(s)
HOW TO APPLY
To be considered for a postdoctoral fellowship with the Digital Civil Society Lab, submit an application via the online application portal.
Applicants will be asked to include the following:
- Cover letter detailing the reasons for the applicant’s interest in the fellowship;
- Curriculum Vitae;
- Fellowship proposal detailing the research that the applicant would undertake while at Stanford, and how it fits within the research agenda of the specific initiative to which the applicant is applying. In this section, please disclose if you have additional funding arrangements.
- Writing sample consisting of either a dissertation chapter or a recent published paper. There are no specific page length or formatting requirements for this sample;
- Graduate transcript with proof that the applicant has completed all the requirements for the PhD, or a letter from their PhD advisor stating when they will do so;
- Two (or more) Letters of Recommendation. These should be submitted via the application portal.
Stanford University is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer, committed to increasing the diversity of its workforce. It welcomes applications from women, members of minority groups, veterans, persons with disabilities, and others who would bring additional dimensions to the university’s research and teaching mission.