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lost cause

My sense is that these are great opportunities and can help one early in their career, quite a bit. I was encouraged to apply to one, until they found out that I was a foreigner (non-US citizen), and had not yet lived in the country for three years. This disqualified me - I could not even apply.


It's well worth it, especially at the early career level. It's wrong to think about it as a line on the CV. As a mere line it's not that impressive or helpful. What makes it worth is the potential of what you can make out of it. First there's the senior faculty that you'll meet. Any of whom could potentially be an external letter writer for your file if you impress them. Second there's just the philosophy in your area for a month. You'll be there to see the directions of new research and the fancy people working in that area now also know about your work. The big benefit of it should be considered the same as the benefit of a small specialized conference in your area vs. the a big conference like the APA.


I've not done an NEH as an adult, but I sat in on one years ago as a graduate student assistant.

The dynamic at this one was amazing: like the best graduate seminar you've ever taken, but with mostly junior academics helpfully led by senior experts in the topic. Over the course of several weeks, everybody bonded and got to know one another's research; people made lifelong friends, which opened up later opportunities for things like edited volume contributions and speaking engagements.

The family situation is admittedly very difficult. In this group, a few people brought their children/family; they were able to sort out reasonable accommodations and find help with childcare. We also had participants whose families came to visit, maybe on a weekend, to join the group and explore the area a bit.

My own experience is with much shorter workshops (maybe a week or so), and they are fantastic for all of the same reasons. If you can pull it off, I think you should really try to go, and (if your family has the funds), see if they can come for an extended weekend visit.

kevin timpe

I did an NEH seminar about 14 years ago. It was a great experience. I don’t know that it helped me on the job market and didn’t have a huge impact on my scholarship. But it has lead to a number of down the road opportunities, such as being included in on a grant project.

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