Call for Applications from PhD Students for the 2020-21 Allison Davis Research Awards

February 14, 2020 (last updated on March 26, 2020)


Allison Davis Allison Davis

The inaugural event honoring Professor Davis has been postponed in light of the move to remote teaching for Spring Quarter. The deadline for application for the doctoral student grants has been extended until April 30. Letters of recommendation are now due May 7. The below has been updated to reflect these new dates.


As part of the inaugural event to honor the legacy of Professor Allison Davis, the Division of the Social Sciences and the School of Social Service Administration have issued a call for applications from doctoral students conducting outstanding research on issues related to those that Davis studied throughout his life. Six research awards of up to $10,000 will be announced in late May.

“The scholarly work completed by Allison Davis, including the groundbreaking manuscript Deep South, was made possible with considerable fellowship support. In honoring Davis’s academic contributions and lasting legacy, it is only fitting that the Allison Davis Research Award support the fieldwork and research of a new generation of scholars,” says Shantá Robinson, assistant professor in the School of Social Service Administration and member of the Allison Davis Research Awards Committee.

Davis studied systems of stratification and segregation between and within racial and ethnic groups in the United States. He was committed to documenting the effects of social stratification and segregation on family life, language use, educational attainment and the development of personality and character of children and adolescents in American minority groups. He aimed at discovering social policies and practices that promised to promote the healthy development of all children and youth.

Applicants must be a registered doctoral student in one of the divisions or schools of the University of Chicago. Required application materials include:

  • A completed application form
  • A cover letter addressed to Richard A. Shweder, Chair, Allison Davis Research Award Committee
  • A proposal (2-3 pages) which describes the proposed study, research design, and timing
  • A budget with estimates of the research expenses
  • A CV
  • One letter of recommendation from a member of the faculty who is familiar with the work and can speak to the feasibility and promise of the proposed project

Questions can be directed to Laura Tharsen at Applications should be submitted by 11:59pm on April 30, 2020. The letter of recommendation should be submitted by 11:59pm on May 7, 2020.

Applications will be reviewed by the members of the committee:

  • Cathy Cohen, David and Mary Winton Green Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science
  • Waldo E. Johnson, Jr., Associate Professor, School of Social Service Administration
  • Stephen Raudenbush, Lewis-Sebring Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Sociology, and Chair, Committee on Education
  • Shantá Robinson, Assistant Professor, School of Social Service Administration
  • Richard A. Shweder, Harold Higgins Swift Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development

Support for these awards was provided by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

"Professor Davis was the Jackie Robinson of American academia, breaking the color bar in 1942, even before the color bar was broken in American baseball. A recent biography written by David Varel, published by the University of Chicago Press, is titled The Lost Black Scholar: Resurrecting Allison Davis in American Social Thought. Supporting research of the sort Professor Davis would have applauded is our way of highlighting his remarkable but perhaps little known story, honoring his legacy, and in a way, bringing him back to life,” says Shweder, the Harold Higgins Swift Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development.