Berggruen Fellowship, University of Southern California

University of Southern California

Job Type: Fellowship

Application Deadline: January 2, 2019

USC Dornsife Berggruen Fellowship Description for AY 2019-2020

The Berggruen Institute seeks to encourage a deeper understanding of the great political, economic, social, and cultural transformations that are reshaping the human condition, in order to better inform practical responses. It organizes and supports inquiries that bring multicultural and interdisciplinary knowledge to questions of governance, of philosophy and culture, and of global restructuring including especially the role of China.

To this end, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Berggruen Institute will sponsor up to ten (10) fellowships at the University of Southern California for the academic year 2019-20.

The selected USC Dornsife Berggruen Fellows will work on topics related to Berggruen Institute’s Great Transformations agenda. These include four core, intersecting areas:

  1. transformations of the human: how are human self-understandings and social organization changing in the face of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and gene-editing
  2. the future of democracy: in a time when the appetite for transparency and participation is expanding and tolerance for hierarchy and deference is contracting, how must democracies adapt and evolve?
  3. the future of capitalism and market economies: what are the bases for new sorts of economic organizations and social contracts?
  4. future of geopolitics and globalization: in a world that appears to be breaking up, how can we work together most effectively?

USC Dornsife Berggruen Fellows can be either academics or unattached intellectuals (for whom the Berggruen Fellowship may serve as a retreat from work in industry, government, or the arts) but above all must be committed to intellectual work of the highest quality. Applicants should have a terminal degree or commensurate research expertise in the appropriate field of study.

In addition to well-qualified individuals with independent projects, we also seek teams of scholars eager to come to the Berggruen Institute to work together on a shared project or theme. We are especially eager to support teams that include diverse or unusual institutional, professional, disciplinary and national backgrounds. Those applying as a team should each apply individually, and indicate that they would like to have their application considered in conjunction with the other scholars on their team.

USC Dornsife Berggruen Fellows will be provided with an office in the Downtown Los Angeles headquarters of the Berggruen Institute, and will have access to the scholarly resources of the University of Southern California. They will also participate in BI-organized working groups focused on their particular area of the Great Transformations. Fellows with academic appointments will receive a stipend based on half of their annual academic year salary, up to $75,000 with the expectation that their home institution will make up the remainder. Fellows without sabbatical half-salary or a similar particle remuneration package can be paid up to $90,000 or more, depending on position and seniority. Fellows from outside the Los Angeles area will be provided with housing.

Founded in 2010, Berggruen Institute’s mission is to develop new ideas for shaping social and political institutions in the current era of Great Transformations. We study these transformations not only by looking at how new technologies are remaking the world, but also by considering cultural and religious shifts, upheavals in politics and efforts to reform governance, changes to the structures of economic organization, and environmental change. And we consider the scales of changes at everything from the level of human beings themselves; to social groups and other forms of collective identity; to human interaction on a planetary scale.

To Apply

In order to apply to become a USC Berggruen Fellow, please submit an electronic USC application.

Please upload the following materials:

I. Full curriculum vitae

II. Project Statement

Your project statement, up to 750 words, should answer two questions:

Question #1:  What is your proposed project?

Concisely describe the work you plan to do during your fellowship years:

  • Explain the intellectual agenda of your project: how do you or your team intend to offer a fundamentally new set of ideas about how to conceive of or address the Great Transformations?
  • Address the public dimensions of this project: How will your project “make a difference”? How would you propose collaborating with the Berggruen Institute to raise public awareness of your topic and work?

For individuals applying as part of a team, please describe both the overall project, as well as what you anticipate your unique contribution will be to the work.

Question #2:  What is your most important work to date?

Identify your most important book, book chapter, or article and explain why it was important — how it corrected a misconception in the literature, how it advanced thinking in some important way, and/or how it filled in an important gap in knowledge.

III. Two reference letters

At least one letter should be from an expert in your area of interest.

IV. Writing sample

Please provide the link to one short writing sample, such as an article, essay, or book chapter.

The application deadline is January 2, 2019. Awardees will receive notification of their fellowships by March 1, 2019.

Questions about the logistics of applying should be addressed to April Miller at For other questions pertaining to the details of the Berggruen Institute’s work, please contact Jennifer Bourne at


USC is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, protected veteran status, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law or USC policy. USC will consider for employment all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring ordinance.

Posted: October 26, 2018