SMFS Rising Star Grant

The Rising Star Grant program will support the work of BIPOC medieval scholars whose work addresses the intersections of two or more of the following areas: race, gender, sexuality, disability, and social justice. This award particularly seeks to support work focused on medieval law/legal discourse; the work of scholar-activists; and/or those researching historical dimensions of racial justice issues. 

The award is intended to support BIPOC medieval scholars who are in early stages of their career (e.g. graduate students and ECRs), independent scholars, or members of the academic precariat, in an effort to provide timely, meaningful support and to help their work become visible to the larger scholarly community. It is intended for the development of a conference paper, a journal article, or a dissertation chapter.   

Grant Amount 

One grant of $500 will be awarded annually 


  • BIPOC medieval scholars who are in early stages of their career (e.g. graduate students and ECRs), independent scholars, or members of the academic precariat. 
  • Projects with an intersectional scope and methodology such as conference papers, library visits, doctoral research/writing, or essay completion. 
  • Applicants do not need to be members of SMFS, but a free two-year membership will be offered as part of the award.  
  • This competition is global and therefore open to BIPOC scholars residing anywhere in the world.  

Application process and materials required  

  • Application form: please state your name, contact info (email and postal address), project title, area(s) of academic study, university affiliation if applicable, and current employment status.
  • Statement of intent / proposal (300-400 words) providing an overview of the project (or how this fits into a larger project), a specific discussion of how the funds will be used, and a statement of other funding (sources, amounts, and what the status of the funding is)
  • CV (2 pages) listing educational background, academic employment history (if applicable), any publications, and any campus or community involvement relevant to your application.
  • Please send all application materials as a single pdf to Suzanne Edwards ( with ‘SMFS Rising Star Grant Application’ as the subject line by March 1, 2024. Decisions will be announced by May 1.
  • Once the project is completed, the successful candidate is expected to provide a brief report on the outcomes of the funding with the option of an additional blog post (published on the SMFS website) and/or virtual talk to promote the scholar’s work more widely and visibly.

2024 Rising Star Grant Recipient

Thelma Trujillo, The University of Iowa.

“Shades of Sanctity: Race in the Hagiographic Imagination”

2023 Rising Star Grant Recipient

Riwa Roukoz, American University of Beirut.

“Cheeks Like Apples, Breasts Like Pomegranates: The Anecdotal Lesbian in 10th Century Arabic Erotic Writing.”

2022 Rising Star Grant Recipient
Nitya Pawar, doctoral candidate, Ashoka University.

Nitya’s research focuses on Marathi bhakti. She studies the compositions of a Hindu lower caste woman saint-poet, Janabai, of medieval India, particularly the state of Maharashtra, and considers questions of gender and caste as they emerge in the domains of mysticism and pedagogy. Her Master’s thesis, “Namdev: Here and There,” engaged with Sant Namdev’s poems and argues that mobility, especially physical mobility is the driving and uniting idea of the Namdev corpus.