Residential Research Group: Civil War, Fall 2019

Residential research groups (RRGs) consist of teams of researchers, often unknown to each other before residency, and assembled to work on a commonly-defined research agenda. They are composed of a range of UC faculty, visiting scholars (including UC postdoctoral scholars), UC doctoral students, and non-UC faculty as resources allow. The organizing premise of the residential research program is that when the challenges of communicating across disciplines are surmounted, breakthroughs in knowledge are possible.

This call is for participation in the Fall 2019 residential research group, “Civil War.” Please see the research agenda below for more information.

Applications must be submitted online via Submittable by 11:59 PM (Pacific time) on the deadline date.

Research Agenda

The Fall 2019 UCHRI Residential Research Group on Civil War coalesces around diverse and unconventional readings of civil war. How can humanistic scholarship benefit from inquiry into civil war, broadly defined? The term itself carries an inherent contradiction. What is “civil” about civil war? How is civility, supposedly the hallmark of “civic” participation and “civilization,” also used as a weapon or a form of silencing? Rhetoric, representation, and aesthetics can be nominally “civil,” but reinforce senses of belonging and exclusion, stir up rage, and cement boundaries while simultaneously gesturing towards decency. Civil wars spark contests over meaning: Who can claim the power to name a civil war? Where does the boundary lie between civil war and just plain war? Why and how do states make war on their own citizens? What are the intellectual and political stakes of mapping new battlegrounds of civil wars?

A broadened idea of civil war can provide a fruitful framework for analyzing the disruptions born from irreconcilable and contesting notions of being and contested conceptualizations of the social. This group will open new ways to apply humanistic methods and sensibilities to phenomena, affects, objects, structures, and architectures that can be investigated through the lens of civil war. Research projects might map the contrasts within and across discourses, representations, objects, groups, and species.

The RRG will welcome projects that grapple with issues such as (but certainly not limited to):

  • Civil war and its representations, including arguments of aesthetics, the politics of representation, and the power of iconography.
  • The political economy of civil wars and their histories of production and/or repetition.
    Notions of civility and the civil, and the impact of the technological (algorithms, social media, smartphones/cameras).
  • Quotidian interactions and explicit or implicit expressions of (in)civility, violence, etc.
  • Definitional discussions/explorations of terminologies of civil war/civility/civil, and the battleground of language (free speech, political correctness).
  • Conflicts around: the environment (built and natural), social resources, income inequality and debt (personal and national), immigration and borders, intimate and domestic spheres, digital infrastructures.
  • Domestic militarization, surveillance, and mass incarceration as tools and products of civil war.
  • Non-human entities as participants in or casualties of civil war.

Application Details

The RRG is open to scholars across the UC system, and a limited number of non-UC scholars (as resources allow), interested in participating in the research agenda with their own unique projects. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact their respective campus representative on the UCHRI Advisory Committee well in advance of the application deadline for guidance in the application process.

Applicants must apply online via Submittable. Required documents include:

  • Short Biography (200 words max)
  • Project Title and Abstract (200 words max)
  • Project Description (2,000 words max. Please explain your personal research aims for the residence and explain how they relate to the collective research agenda)
  • Curriculum Vitae (2 pages max)

Individual applicants are selected based on their ability to contribute to the research agenda of the group.

For program related questions, please contact Shana Melnysyn, research grants manager, at Please include the name of the grant for which you need assistance.

For technical assistance contact Submittable at or (855) 467-8264, ext. 2