Blog Post

The SSHRC Proposal, Part 1

Many of you may not have heard of SSHRC. In Canada, a great deal of humanities research funding comes from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, a federal grant-giving agency. SSHRC scholarships are extremely important: not only does getting one help a lot in financially surviving graduate school, but in addition, having previously received SSHRC funding in some form helps a lot in getting jobs at Canadian universities and further monies down the line. Pretty much every humanities graduate student in this country has wrestled with applying for SSHRC funding at one point or another--the importance of this agency is so pervasive that even showing you've tried for the grant in the past can give you a leg up in the future, so many graduate programs make applying a requirement for their students. So every fall, graduate students write draft after draft and struggle through the agency's terrible online system in an attempt just to meet the internal deadlines set by departments. Writing a SSHRC application is a harrowing and traumatic process, and mostly it's acknowledged as nothing more than an exercise in futility. SSHRC apps need to be perfect: the kind of advice they give you in research sessions usually amounts to "Have no areas of weakness" and "avoid mistakes at all costs."

I've applied for SSHRC three times in my life as a student. Once in 2008, once in 2012, and now this year. This is my second-to-last chance--if I don't get it this year, I'm allowed to apply next fall as well in anticipation of my doctorate taking a fifth year. Ironically, I'm already indirectly funded by SSHRC: IMMERSe is a SSHRC-funded network, but my fellowship doesn't grant the same kind of status or autonomy that a direct scholarship from the agency does. In any event, while I hold out little hope of actually getting this extremely competetive scholarship, I do appreciate the importance and value of the exercise itself. At the very least, writing the application has left me with an updated CV and a much stronger sense of the direction my dissertation research is taking. What follows here is a draft of my project description; not the final form, but one in which I feel I made slightly fewer compromises in the interest of space. I'll split it into two posts in the interest of having digestable content, but I'm extremely interested in garnering feedback on this from others. If you'd like to start a conversation with me about this, or offer suggestions or critiques, please, get in touch!


on another. Conversely, in differential media all creative contributions are rendered meaningful, and no cultural producers are exempt from analysis. By hybridizing theories of transmedia with conceptions of differential media, I can treat the whole field of cultural production in terms of creative labour and audience reception, whether looking at singular narratives executed across networked media, or simply different interpretations of narratives adapted from one medium to another.

Works Cited

The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature

The Visible Word:Experimental Typography and Modern ArtContinuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies Reassembling the Social: A n Introduction to A ctor-Network-TheoryRadiant Textuality:Literature Afterthe World Wide WebGraphs, Maps, TreesAbstract Models for a Literary History2005. 

New Media Poetics: Contexts, Technotexts, and Theories

The W ireless Spectrum: The Politics, Practices and Poetics of Mobile Media

Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg


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