ARISC Graduate/Postdoctoral Fellowship 2023-24

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) announces the availability of graduate/postdoctoral fellowships in support of research in the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia). During their stay in the South Caucasus, the fellow is expected to give an ARISC-sponsored presentation on a subject related to their research, which would be open to the public. The fellow will acknowledge ARISC in any publication that emerges from the research carried out during the fellowship. Funding for this fellowship is provided by ARISC General Funds.

DeadlineFriday, December 8, 2023


  1. Projects in all fields in the social sciences, humanities, and related sciences are eligible.
  2. Status
    • graduate students enrolled in accredited degree-granting programs in the U.S. or Canada, (students graduating in spring 2024 are eligible to apply);
    • postdoctoral or early-career scholars (scholars who have received their PhD since 2019).
    • In exceptional cases, awards will be granted to applicants who do not meet status requirements included above. If you would like to apply, but do not meet stated status requirements, include a separate, brief statement that explains how the award will benefit this phase of your work.
  3. Citizenship
    • U.S. citizens,
    • U.S. permanent residents,
    • Canadian citizens, or
    • Canadian permanent residents
  4. Limited to ARISC members: student, individual, or institutional members.

Award Amount:

Research awards will be made for an amount up to $2250 to help cover travel and/or living expenses in the South Caucasus. A remote option is possible (see below). ARISC expects to award up to two Graduate/Postdoctoral Fellowships in 2023-24.

Application requirements:

  • application form*,
  • a project statement* of not more 1500 words (not including bibliographic references, tables, charts, or other supporting information),
    • Research question, design, and methodology
    • The significance of the project, relevance, and potential contribution to regional and /or trans-regional scholarly research.
    • What are your qualifications for this project and how will they enable you to do your proposed project?
    • Please also identify potential obstacles or issues (for example, geopolitical instability, archive closures, difficulty finding interlocutors, permissions required by local agencies) that may delay your research and how would you meet the challenges of your project should one of these factors be an issue.
    • Statement should clearly indicate whether the application is submitted for Option A (travel to the region), or Option B (remote research), with relevant research design and methodology for that option.
    • Please note that application reviewers may not be specialists in your field. The language of your statement should be clear and free of jargon.
  • Work schedule,
    • Please be specific about the number of days per week and number of hours during the day that you will spend on this research project, as well as the location for this research project.
    • Your work schedule should demonstrate that you have checked availability of resources.
    • Archives may not be open year-round, and local scholars may be traveling in the summer. Check on availability ahead of time.
    • Be aware that it can take up to six months to obtain the necessary in-country research clearance and plan accordingly. We recommend beginning the process early.
    • Work schedule should clearly indicate whether the application is submitted for Option A (travel to the region) or Option B (remote research).
  • itemized budget (see sample here)
    • Allowable costs include airfare, ground transportation, lodging, and meals and incidental expenses.
    • Budgeted amounts for meals and incidental expenses may not exceed those set by the US Department of State for the location of travel. See this website.
    • If the cost of the project exceeds the maximum allowable in this funding opportunity, applicant should explain other sources of funding, as well as how the project can be scaled if they are only awarded ARISC funds.
    •  The budget should clearly indicate whether the project is for Option A (travel to the region) or Option B (remote option).
  • curriculum vitae
  • Graduate Student Applicants Only: Two letters of recommendation must also be submitted directly to ARISC from the recommenders. Applicants should download and share this cover sheet* with letter writers.
    • The applicant is responsible for notifying referees of their request for letters and for ensuring those letters are submitted to ARISC by the deadline;All references must be in English;
    • One letter must be from the applicant’s academic advisor.

Application materials should be emailed to, with the subject, “ARISC Graduate/Postdoctoral Fellowship.” Applications are processed manually. Applicants should expect to receive an email from ARISC indicating receipt approximately 2-3 days after submission. If you do not receive a response, check your spam filter, then contact

*This form needs to be downloaded to be completed. You will need to use Adobe Reader (free) to complete the form.

Remote Option:

The remote option allows for research to be conducted without having to travel to the South Caucasus during the project timeline. In this option, consider the following questions: How can you address your research question if you cannot travel to the South Caucasus? What methods, tools, and analyses can you conduct from home or in the US?  

For the remote option, instead of funding travel costs (transportation, lodging, M&IE abroad), the budget may cover costs such as

  • transportation, lodging, and M&IE to archives and libraries in the US,
  • childcare, so that the fellow may focus on their research during the time period of their fellowship
  • translation costs,
  • hiring a research assistant in the South Caucasus to do archival research if the fellow cannot travel,
  • digital research projects,
  • publication fees for research (publication fees could include website registration/server fees, or open access fees).

Think of this the same way you would think about the costs of research in another country: What are the costs that would allow you to focus on and conduct research while working remotely? Attach a separate sheet to address Option B.

Additional Requirements, Terms, and Conditions

The following requirements, terms, and conditions apply to applicants selected for awards. Applicants should be aware of the following prior to submitting their application.

  1. Applicants must be either US citizens, US permanent residents, Canadian citizens, or Canadian permanent residents. Proof of citizenship or permanent resident status must be shown upon fellowship notification.
  2. Applicants may apply to more than one ARISC funding opportunity, if eligible. If awarded more than one fellowship, the awardee will be asked to select one.
  3. Proof of Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval must be provided, if relevant, upon receipt of fellowship. Fellows are responsible for determining through their home institution whether IRB approval is required for their project. If unsure, the fellow should apply to the IRB program at their university. We recommend applicants begin the IRB process at their home institution as soon as they submit their application to ARISC.
  4. Fellows must submit a Final Report to ARISC within 30 days of fellowship completion, and no later than August 31, 2024. Any unused portion of the fellowship must be returned to ARISC by this date. A portion of the fellowship stipend will be withheld until the recipient submits their Final Report on their fellowship.
  5. Fellows are responsible for obtaining the appropriate research permissions and securing their visas. In general, researchers should seek permission to carry out research directly from the director(s) of the institution(s) where they intend to work, including most libraries housed within local museums. If the material they wish to study is part of an excavation or survey, fellows’ funding will be conditional upon submission of a letter that is signed by the project director giving permission to carry out the research. We recommend applicants begin the process of obtaining research permissions as soon as they submit their application to ARISC.
  6. ARISC does not provide tax advice on fellowship payments. Fellows are encouraged to consult with their own tax advisors prior to filing.
  7. Award recipients are responsible for ensuring proper medical and evacuation insurance coverage during their time in the field in the South Caucasus. ARISC funds cannot be used to cover medical, emergency evacuation and repatriation, or other insurance. Proof of insurance coverage will be required before disbursement of fellowship funds. Your university may provide this for your research. Please consult with them first.
  8. Fellowship recipients are eligible to reapply for a second Graduate/Postdoctoral Fellowship three years after completion of their most recent award.
  9. Fellows are expected to make contact with the ARISC Resident Director in each country or countries where they will be traveling prior to arrival.
  10. Given changing travel restrictions and/or travel warnings to many countries, fellows must contact ARISC prior to purchasing airfare. ARISC will not fund projects taking place in locations designated as Level 4 (Do Not Travel) by the US Department of State. Fellows are encouraged to use
  11. While ARISC encourages scholars to apply to other federal and private sources in addition to the ARISC Graduate/Postdoctoral Fellowships, ARISC fellows who receive additional awards must contact ARISC immediately to discuss possible date and stipend adjustments.
  12. Projects cannot incur expenses prior to the date listed on the award notification letter.
  13. ARISC reserves the right to adjust the amounts and types of awards given under this program, as well as the general terms and conditions, before award agreements are reached with each recipient.

Selection Process

Proposals will be judged on their quality and on the potential of the research to strengthen scholarship on the South Caucasus. Fellows will be selected by an ARISC fellowships panel made up of scholars with experience conducting regional and trans-regional research. Please note that readers may not be specialists in your field. Proposals will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • Merits of the proposal for significance, relevance, and potential contribution to regional and/or trans-regional scholarly research;
  • Applicant qualifications;
  • Research design and methodology;
  • Significance to the applicant’s field;
  • Significance to needs and interests of host country and ARISC;
  • Feasibility in terms of resources and amount of time allocated to the project;
  • Need for residence in host country to accomplish the project (for Option A);
  • Proficiency in language required to complete research project, if applicable. If language competence is needed for this project, one of the letters of recommendation must address this.


Notification of fellowship status will be made available to each applicant via email in February 2024. If you would like to receive any updates to this fellowship, please email with your name, contact information, and the subject “Updates to Grad/Postdoctoral Fellowships 2023-24.”


For questions, see our new Frequently Asked Questions page, or please contact

The ARISC Resident Directors in Baku, Tbilisi, and Yerevan are available to assist the scholars chosen for the program to prepare for their research in the South Caucasus by assisting with logistics such as visa requirements, travel arrangements within the country, and helping to locate research materials and local contacts. Note that ARISC does not have a branch in Azerbaijan and is unable to issue a letter of invitation, so awardees will need to coordinate with a host institution to obtain an invitation letter for a visa.

We are also hosting virtual, open-house Question & Answer sessions on Mondays (beginning from November 6th) from 10-11am EST (7-8pm Tbilisi time). Registration required at–rrDwpHNMew1OA11dFn5YRk2Xp3G_r

Important Notes Regarding Applications

  • ARISC’s method of submission is via email.
  • Once an application is submitted it cannot be resubmitted or edited. This also applies to letters of recommendation.

Funding source: ARISC General Funds and private donations

ARISC does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, sex, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, education, age, income, socio-economic status, or status as a covered veteran.

Helpful Resources for Grant Writing

Past Awards


– Oya Aktas (University of Washington): Beyond Perpetrator and Victim: The 1915 Genocide and Liberalization of Belonging for Ottoman Jews and Armenians

– Ruth Portes (Cornell University): Bridging Georgia East and West: studying ceramics from the 1st millennium BCE


– Michael Ernst (Temple University): Building a Caucasian Criminology: Petrol Prayers: Gas Station Mosques, Digital Billboards, and Nationalism at Azerbaijan’s Petrol Stations

– Ira Schwartz (University of Toronto): The Gadachrili Gora Regional Archaeological Survey: Paleoenvironment and Settlement Distribution in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic Landscapes of South Eastern Georgia


– Kwan-Lamar Blount-Hill (Borough of Manhattan Community College): Building a Caucasian Criminology: A Study of Crime and Justice Attitudes in Azerbaijan

– Rikki Brown (University of California, Santa Cruz): Bottling up Georgian-ness: Wine and Tourism in the Reformation of a Sovereign National Identity in the Post-Soviet Republic of Georgia

2020: – – Benjamin Bamberger (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign): A “Kingdom of Ice and Death”: Svan Alpinists and the Development of Mountaineering in Svaneti.

– Evangeline McGlynn (University of California at Berkeley): The Destruction of Space: Spitak Earthquake Recovery in Peace and War 1988-2018

– Angela Wheeler (Harvard University): Constructing Old Tbilisi: Socialist and National Narratives in Georgian Architectural Preservation, 1959-2013


– Rayya El Zein (University of Pennsylvania): Fighting for the Future: Georgian Creative Industries after the Rose Revolution.

– Anahid Matossian (University of Kentucky): Making a “Home” in the “Homeland”?: Syrian Armenian Women in Yerevan, Armenia.

– Erin Piñon (Princeton University): Painting Narrative, Performing History: Early Modern Armenian Illumination in Liturgical and Paraliturgical Manuscripts.


– Jonathan Hollis (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign): Mugham in Armenian Music: Echoes of Conflict in Exile.

– Jonathan Sicotte (Georgetown University): Baku: Violence, Oil, and Promise: 1917 – 1940.

– Stephen Riegg (Texas A&M University): In the Imperial Vise: The South Caucasus between Russia and Persia, 1785-1917.


– Alyssa Mathias (University of California, Los Angeles): Shared Culture and Musical Diplomacy Between Armenia and Turkey.

– Jesse Quinn (Syracuse University): Geopolitical Ecologies: Re-Territorializing Mining Governance in the Republic of Georgia.

– Richard Tate (University of Florida): Linking Botanical and Cultural Conservation in Adjara, Georgia.


– Bamberger, Benjamin (University of Illinois): In the Mountains of Georgia: Alpinism, Tourism, and the Making of Soviet Georgia, 1923-1955.

– Fittante, Daniel (University of California, Los Angeles): Connection without Engagement: The Paradoxes of North American Armenian Repatriation.

– Otruba, Ariel (Rutgers University): The Elastic Geography of the South Ossetian Administrative Boundary Line: A Study of the Lived Geopolitics of Borderization and Creeping Occupation in Georgia.


– Elizabeth Anderson (Yale University): Syriac Manuscripts in the Matenadaran

– Alexander Balistreri (Princeton University): From Baku to Kars: Muslim Solidarity Across the Southern Caucasus, 1910–1922

– Claire Kaiser (University of Pennsylvania): Lived Nationality: Policy and Practice in Soviet Georgia, 1945-1978


– Nathaniel Erb-Satullo (Harvard University): Metals, Mining and Movement: Landscape Archaeology in Kvemo Kartli, Georgia

– Lara Fabian (University of Pennsylvania): Between East and West in Transcaucasia: Regional Perspectives on the Roman-Parthian Borderland

– Susannah Fishman (University of Pennsylvania): Ceramic Entanglements at the Urartian Periphery: Technological Analysis in Naxçıvan, Azerbaijan


– Hannah Chazin (University of Chicago): The Politics of Pasture: The Political Economy of Herding in the Late Bronze Age.

– Hannah Lau (University of California, Los Angeles): Feasting and Emergent Political Complexity in the Late Neolithic Ancient Near East: Evidence from Kamiltepe.

– Jesse Quinn (University of Arizona): Forests, State and Territory in the Republic of Georgia.


– Emily Hammer (Harvard University): Archaeological Landscapes of Highland and Steppe Zones in Northwestern Naxcivan, Azerbaijan.

– Caitlin Ryan (University of Colorado Boulder): State Formation and Property Relations in Georgia: A Case Study of IDP Housing.

– Beverly Schmidt (University of Connecticut): Middle Paleolithic Lithic Technology and Behavior in the Hrazdan River Gorge, Armenia.


– Eli Feiman (Brown University): Cohesion, Coercion, and Compromise: Parties of Power in the South Caucasus, 1988-Present.

– Melissa Gayan (Emory University): The Forgotten Revolt: The 1956 Pro-Stalinist Protests in Soviet Georgia and its Cold-War Implications.

– Tamrika Khvtisiashvili (University of Utah): Documentation of Khinalug.


– Megan Dean (Stanford University): Neither Empire Nor Nation: Networks of Trade in the Caucasus, 1750-1925.

– Aimee Dobbs (Indiana University – Bloomington): Negotiating Public Schools for Muslims among Russian Imperial Bureaucrats, Local Administrators, and Azerbaijani Elites, 1862-1890.

– Sarah Garding (University of California, Berkeley): Courting the Nation Abroad: Diaspora Policies in Postcommunist Armenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Ukraine.