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Manuscript Review Program

Tom Burman giving a presentationAs part of its core mission to further humanities research, the University of Tennessee Humanities Center (UTHC) now hosts a Manuscript Review Program for book projects that are at advanced stages but that would benefit from professional review before being submitted (or resubmitted) to a publisher. This program offers grants to fund short-term workshops that aim to

  • promote discussion about authors’ manuscripts;
  • generate specialized, constructive feedback for improving manuscripts;
  • develop strategies for finding suitable publishers for manuscript (re)submissions;
  • create scholarly networks that familiarize colleagues beyond UT with humanities research occurring at UT, and promote UT faculty as leading scholars in their fields.  

Tenure-stream faculty may apply to the UTHC for awards of up to $3,000 to support travel, lodging, food, and a $500 honorarium per reviewer, for external reviewers (although these amounts can be supplemented by funds from the applicant’s department). The UTHC recommends that at least one internal reviewer from a department outside the author’s home department also be invited to the workshop, but internal reviewers will not be compensated with an honorarium through this program. The UTHC Associate Director consults with the faculty member applicant about possible candidates and sends an invitation list to the UTHC Director, who will issue invitations to visiting reviewers; the nominating faculty member’s host department makes all travel arrangements and sends documentation of all associated charges to Pamela Howell so that funds can be transferred to the appropriate departmental account.

Format of Seminar

The program’s centerpiece is a workshop consisting of the author’s introduction to the project, external and internal reviewers’ presentations of formal responses, and discussion of the manuscript. In consultation with the UTHC Associate Director, faculty authors must distribute their manuscripts to every participant such that all parties have sufficient time to read it—ideally six weeks in advance of the seminar. Seminars are held at the UTHC and typically last two to three hours. Each seminar meeting is open only to the named reviewers and invited UT colleagues (such as ORE’s Humanities & Faculty Awards Coordinator). The seminars are audio recorded but solely for the author’s benefit to obviate the need for extensive note taking at the expense of discussion.


Manuscripts by tenure-stream UT faculty members fundamentally and primarily exploring any area of humanities research are eligible for review in the program. Awards will be determined on a rolling application deadline; once program funds are exhausted, the program will be closed for that academic year. If demand exceeds available funding, priority will be given to

  • manuscripts by humanities faculty whose departments are core affiliates of the UTHC;
  • pre-tenure faculty over tenured faculty;
  • projects that are large in scope and involve interdisciplinary scholarship.

Application and Deadlines

Applicants should submit an application consisting of a (1) a proposal statement, and (2) an appendix consisting of the applicant’s curriculum vita. The proposal of no more than five double-spaced pages should include

  • a short project abstract of the book project (approximately 500 words);
  • a short description of the manuscript’s status, including potential publishers and history of submission to presses;
  • a list of at least three potential external reviewers that lists their qualifications and contact information as well as a few sentences stating why each these reviewers would be particularly useful interlocutors for the author;
  • names of UT colleagues to be invited to participate in the seminar;
  • notation of funding provided by other sources, such as supplemental funding by the author’s home department.

Applications should be submitted to the Director of the UT Humanities Center at

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