Marlène and Paolo Fresco Fellowship for African Studies




The Marlène and Paolo Fresco Fellowship seeks to stimulate and support increased scholarship on cultural exchanges between the African continent and the Mediterranean world during the period c. 1250-1750. It is a six-month residential fellowship for the spring term of 2025 (January-June).

The fellowship is designed for post-doctoral scholars in fields related to the study of African history, including art history, archeology, the history of expressive cultures, musicology, economic history, intellectual, political, and religious history, as well as literature and languages. Preference will be given to advanced research projects that address the relationship between the African continent and Italy during the early modern period, broadly understood historically to include the period from the 14th through the 17th centuries.



At the time of application, scholars must have a PhD in hand and will be asked to upload a scan of the certificate. They must not be working on a second PhD. Applicants must be fluent in either English, Italian, or French. Successful applicants will have a solid background in African history and its global exchanges in the early modern world. Candidates offered the fellowship will spend a six-month term in Florence at I Tatti with access to local and regional resources (libraries, photographic collections, archives, museums, collections). The fellow will be expected to carry out original research on the topic for which they have been awarded their fellowship.

Term Fellowships at I Tatti can be held only once and cannot be deferred. Term Fellowships are intended for scholars who have not previously held appointments at I Tatti (with the exception of Graduate Fellows).



The grant is USD 5,200 per month, made possible by a generous grant from Paolo Fresco, plus a one-time supplement (maximum USD 1,500) towards relocation expenses. In light of the residential nature of the fellowship, Fellows must live in the Florence area and spend at least three days a week at the Center. When possible, an apartment will be set aside for the fellow’s use, rent free, but with charges for utilities. If an apartment is not available, a housing subsidy will be offered to help offset rental costs.

Fellows will spend six months at I Tatti (January – June 2025). Fellows enjoy all the privileges of the Harvard Center, including use of the Biblioteca Berenson seven days a week and lunch with other Appointees from Monday through Friday. Fellows are offered a reserved space to work in the Biblioteca Berenson. Fellows may not take on any other obligations such as teaching positions, even part-time ones, during any part of their fellowship period. The fellowship may not be held concurrently with another fellowship or award.

The fellow is responsible for obtaining a visa, permesso di soggiorno, and health coverage (and, if appropriate, for accompanying family members). The fellow must determine if a visa is required and, if necessary, obtain one before travel.



Applications must be written in English or Italian and must be submitted electronically by midnight (Cambridge, MA time) on February 29, 2024. Scholars can apply to only one type of fellowship at I Tatti per academic year.


Letters of Recommendation

Applicants must have two scholars who know their work well submit recommendations online by March 4, 2024. These recommendations must be written in English, French, or Italian. In order to give your referees adequate time to submit letters of recommendation, click the reference tab and register them as early as possible. Referees will receive an email explaining how to access the system and submit their letters electronically. It is the applicants’ responsibility to inform the scholars writing on their behalf of the nature of the project and the deadline for submission.


Please note the deadline has passed. Kindly check back in July for updated details and a link to the application. 


Image credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York