Transdisciplinary Challenge Award: 2014
Seminar and Workshop Series

Call for Transdisciplinary Challenge Fellows

2014 Theme: LANGUAGE

Deadline has passed

Application Deadline: Friday, January 31, 2014

Arecibo Message (1974)


With ongoing funding from Chancellor Michael Lovell and the Graduate School, the Center for 21st Century Studies’ Transdisciplinary Challenge Program encourages collaborative research projects that bring together UWM researchers from our traditional constituencies in the humanities, arts, and humanistic social sciences with researchers from natural, physical, and quantitative social sciences. The program aims to directly support transdisciplinary research but also to provide models for how researchers from across disciplines that do not have a history of collaboration can work together to meet the complex, heterogeneous challenges of the 21st century.

To this end, C21 is seeking applications from UWM faculty and academic staff from across the university to participate in a one-semester seminar. This seminar is meant to bring together researchers from different disciplines and different methodological perspectives working on a common topic or problem in order to further transdisciplinary knowledge of that topic, and to promote transdisciplinary collaboration and research across UWM.

Theme for Fall 2014: LANGUAGE

It is hard to imagine many topics more suitable to transdisciplinary inquiry and investigation than language. Although in the disciplinary taxonomy of universities language traditionally belongs to the humanities disciplines (Linguistics, English, Foreign Languages, Philosophy, or Translation), the concept of language is of great interest across the social and management sciences: think, for example, of historical, sociological, anthropological, and political investigations of language and its implications; psychologists study the acquisition of language and its role in interpersonal relations; marketing, business, and advertising all pursue the ways in which language operates in the world of commerce and exchange. Language is similarly of interest to natural and physical scientists: biologists study the role of language (verbal and non-verbal) in animal behavior; neurologists study the ways in which language operates within the brain; geneticists study the language of genes in DNA coding; mathematicians think of numbers as another form of language; computers work with machine language; and so forth.


The seminar will be made up of eight to ten members who will meet weekly for 90 minutes to pursue the study of language from a transdisciplinary perspective. Faculty participants’ home departments will receive $3500 to buy each seminarian out of teaching one course in the Fall semester. For academic staff, C21 will work with participants on a case-by-case basis. Each participant will be expected to recommend readings from their own discipline/methodological perspective for one seminar meeting. Researchers from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds from outside the seminar and outside UWM will also be brought in to lead some of the seminar meetings.


UWM faculty and academic staff actively engaged in work or research on language are invited to apply. Although not required of participants, one aim of the seminar will be to foster the formation of transdisciplinary research collaborations that will lead to the submission of grant proposals for future Transdisciplinary Challenge Award competitions. For more information about this award: Request for Collaborative Research Projects.


Submit a PDF including the following components as an email attachment to

  • letter of interest outlining your interest in the topic and a description of your current research/work that is related to the topic
  • CV
  • recent offprint, manuscript, or other writing sample

Faculty applicants are responsible for discussing a course buyout with the chair of your department, to ensure that your department will support your reduced teaching load should you be selected for the seminar.

Call for 2014 Transdisciplinary Challenge Fellows (PDF version)

Image: Arecibo Message (1974) |

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