Course Development Grants in Documentary Studies: Fall 2023 RFP

Course development grants in documentary studies; request for proposals, fall 2023.

The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) invites grant applications from regular-rank Duke faculty to support the development of new undergraduate courses, or the redesign of existing undergraduate courses, framed around documentary studies, broadly conceived.

Areas of focus might include videography and documentary film, photography, podcasting and other modes of audio documentary, oral history, more experimental media, and other digital practices. As a growing number of faculty engage with documentary studies, CDS wishes to enrich the offerings available to undergraduates and expand the scholarly and artistic communities who take part in CDS activities.

We are particularly interested in courses that:

  • Make effective use of the extensive documentary collections in the Duke Libraries, including the Archive of Documentary Arts; and/or
  • Engage students in applied research projects in partnership with local museums, historic sites or cultural institutions.

Nature of Awards

Individual faculty members whose proposals are successful will receive $5,000 in discretionary funds, which may be deployed toward summer salary. Faculty may also apply as a pair, and if their application is successful, they will receive $7,500 in discretionary funds, with up to $3,750 available for summer salary for each faculty member.

Applicants (whether individual or in pairs) may also propose up to $2,500 (inclusive of fringe) to pay graduate students (doctoral students, including those in professional doctoral programs like the Th.D. or SJD; MFA students; or master’s students) for related course development and planning work.

Obligations of Grant Recipients

Faculty who receive a Documentary Studies Course Development Grant must:

  • Cross-list the course with Documentary Studies and their home unit
  • Teach the course at least three times in the subsequent five years
  • Participate in a Fall 2024 workshop with other grant recipients and members of the CDS community, to showcase their new or redesigned course
  • Prepare a short report on their experience teaching the course after its first iteration.


Any Duke regular-rank faculty member whose home unit regularly offers undergraduate courses may apply.

Application Components

  • 100-word abstract as well as a one-sentence description of the proposal
  • Letter of application making the case for the addition or redesign of the proposed course (and in the case of proposals from a pair of faculty members, explain how they will co-teach or share the course)
  • 2-page course sketch and description of anticipated activities related to course design or redesign
  • Letter of support from the faculty member’s home department, school or institute, indicating a commitment to cross-list the course with Documentary Studies and to offer the course at least three times in the next five years
  • Letter of support from a community partner, if relevant

How to Apply

Please use this online application form.

Selection Process and Criteria

Proposals will be assessed by a committee convened by the vice provost for interdisciplinary studies, the vice provost for the arts and the dean of humanities. Proposals will be assessed with regard to:

  • Teaching needs in documentary studies
  • The degree to which proposals incorporate opportunities for students to undertake research projects and produce documentary work
  • The opportunity to build an enduring partnership between Documentary Studies and the faculty applicant(s)’s home unit(s)
  • Engagement with existing documentary work, such as that available in the Duke Libraries
  • The opportunity to build an enduring partnership between CDS and local museums, historic sites and other cultural institutions.


  • RFP released: October 5, 2023
  • RFP deadline for submission: December 11, 2023
  • Decisions communicated: January 19, 2024


For substantive questions about proposals, contact Chris Sims ( For logistical questions, contact Meg Atchison (