Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships 2019-20

Banting selection committee

Competition procedures 2019

Internal application procedures

There are three levels to the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship Competition: Faculty; University; and National.

The Faculty of Arts will conduct an internal competition to select the candidates it will submit to the University's internal competition. Prospective McGill supervisors of Banting applicants are invited to submit a preliminary application consisting of the following documents, in a single PDF file, via email to adr.arts [at] by May 15, 2019:

  • Two (2) page (maximum) letter of support for the applicant, clearly describing the complementarities between the applicant, the supervisor, the Faculty, and McGill research environment
  • Applicant's CV
  • Two to four (2-4) page statement outlining the applicant’s proposed postdoctoral research at McGill
  • Names of three proposed referees, including the applicant’s association to them and a URL link to the referees’ websites

In preparing these materials, you may find it helpful to consult the Banting Selection Committee’s evaluation criteria. Please also consult the Banting website and McGill’s GPS website for further details on the Fellowship and for the responsibilities of the applicant, supervisor, and other university offices.

Applicant eligibility

(See details on the Banting website)

As these are extremely competitive Fellowships, supervisors should choose their nominees with care. In particular, applicants must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Must not be completing or have completed a PhD at McGill
  • Must have fulfilled all degree requirements for a PhD between September 15, 2016 and September 30, 2020 (inclusively) and before the start date of their award
  • Must not hold a tenure-track or tenured faculty position at McGill or elsewhere
  • Applicants who currently hold or have held agency-specific (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) awards at the postdoctoral level are eligible to apply to the 2019-20 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program only if the term of that funding officially ends on or before September 30, 2020 and prior to the start of the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship. Early termination of the agency-specific postdoctoral award for the purpose of application to the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program is not permitted.
  • Note: There is no citizenship restriction.

Three candidates will be nominated by the Faculty of Arts to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) selection committee. Prospective supervisors and applicants will be notified of the Faculty’s decision by June 7, 2019.

Other deadline and application timeline

The three applicants selected by the Faculty of Arts will then each submit a full version of the Banting application according to the following timeline:

  • Summer 2019 (dates to be confirmed): Applicants will participate in the following Banting application workshops hosted by Graphos at the McGill Writing Centre:
    1. Graphos Banting Writing Workshop
    2. Graphos Banting Review Groups
  • Early June (date to be confirmed): Applicants’ supervisors will attend the Supervisor Information Session offered by GPS.
  • July 15, 2019: Deadline for submission of the full application including all supporting documents in a single PDF file to adr.arts [at]
  • Mid to late-July: The Office of the Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts, will provide additional feedback on the full application to applicants and their supervisors.
  • Early August (date to be confirmed): The Associate Dean’s Office will forward the applications to GPS, who will then convene their Selection Committee to review the Faculty-recommended applications.
  • Early to mid-September: GPS will provide shortlisted applicants with feedback and the Institutional Letter of Endorsement, which is to be included in the final Banting application online. Based on the feedback from GPS, applicants may be strongly encouraged to make modifications to their application before the final application deadline in mid-September (see below).
  • September 18, 2019 (8:00 PM EDT): Applicants selected by GPS will upload the Institutional Letter of Endorsement to their application and submit the complete file on ResearchNet.

Banting postdoctoral fellows


Jean-Michel Landry is a socio-cultural anthropologist with a BA and MA from Université Laval and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.  He was a 2009-2013 Trudeau Scholar.  Jean-Michel’s postdoctoral project focuses on different types of legal activism currently challenging the Islamic norms enforced in state family courts. Over the last two decades, Moroccan, Iranian, Syrian, and Qatari activists have attempted to modify Islam-based family law. In Lebanon, Sunni Muslims won a key legal battle in 2011: they succeeded in modifying Sunni family law to prolong the period of maternal custody from five to twelve years. Shi‘i Lebanese, however, have been unable to implement such reform, despite years of protests and meetings with judges, politicians, and Islamic jurists. To this day, Shi‘i women regularly lose the custody of children as young as two years old—a situation that sparks regular public outrage. Jean-Michel’s research seeks to understand how legal change is advocated in a judicial domain (such as Islamic family law) that lies at the intersection of religious authority and secular state power. What role do Muslim clerics play in these reform campaigns? On what grounds do politicians and political parties approach, support or oppose demands to modify religious law? The study looks at protest strategies and forms of argumentation deployed by legal activists to bring about change in a judicial domain that blurs the boundary between public and private, religious and secular.

Lara Rosenoff Gauvin obtained her BA in Communication Studies from Concordia University, her MFA in Documentary Media from Ryerson University, and her PhD in Anthropology from the University of British Columbia.  She was a 2011-2015 Trudeau Scholar.  Lara’s postdoctoral project, under the direction of Professor John Galaty in the Department of Anthropology, is entitled “Sons and Daughters of Bwoc: Community Knowledge Translation and Land Rights in Rural Post-Conflict Northern Uganda.”  In the post-conflict and post-displacement contexts of Acoliland, Northern Uganda, Lara seeks to better understand, assess, and theorize the protection of communal lands as a basis for attaining Acoli economic, social, cultural, and political rights. Through processes of cultural innovation, Acoli kaka (sub-clans or clans) are writing constitutions and creating kin-based non-profit foundations that translate indigenous knowledge into current political language, drawing from implicit cultural, economic, and legal structures. These initiatives have various goals, such as “uniting the kaka” and “streamlining cultural traditions” after their disruptive experiences of war and displacement camps, but, overwhelmingly, Acoli communities are seeking to secure land rights for “sons and daughters of the kaka” by creating ‘foundations’ through which they can transform what they perceive as precarious customary land rights into more secure institutional forms. Acknowledging how indigenous Acoli social organization is mobilized and translated into alternate legal-political structures like non-profit foundations shifts global debates about transitional justice and achieving durable solutions after displacement through peacebuilding towards indigenous knowledge and community practices that, due to local recognition and cultural legitimacy, may offer a stronger basis for reconciliation and long-term security.


Marie-Claude FeltonMarie-Claude Felton holds a BA in history from McGill, an MA in history from the Université Laval, and a PhD from UQÀM and the EHESS (École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris).  The recipient of numerous prizes and research fellowships in Canada and internationally, her dissertation will be published in monograph form this year as part of the Voltaire Foundation Series, Oxford University Press. Marie-Claude comes to McGill from her two-year Post-doctoral Fellowship in the Department of History at Harvard where she investigated the role of self-publications in the dissemination of scientific knowledge in France before the Revolution.  At McGill, she will broaden the intellectual scope and the geographical and temporal contexts and undertake the first comparative and broader study of self-publishing in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Working with Professor Andrew Piper, she will ask: How did different legislative, economic, and cultural contexts influenced the practice and significance of self-publishing?  What was the place of self-published writers in the book market and what was their reception among readers? Can their activity challenge traditional depictions of a larger domination of publishers at that time? What was the role of these authors’ experience and their claims within the genesis of modern copyright? At the center of her analysis, primarily based on archival research in Paris, Leipzig and London, Marie-Claude will take a closer look at the role of authors-publishers on the European book market, the reception of their works, and the significance of their claims within the genesis of modern copyright. Her argument is that only by understanding the place of these numerous, yet little studied authors can we gain a more nuanced understanding of the history of authorship in the modern period.

Simon MacdonaldSimon Macdonald received his BA in History from the University of Cambridge, his MA in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, and his PhD in History from the University of Cambridge.  He has completed postdoctoral work at Yale University, the University of Edinburgh, and University College, London.  He has also been a fellow at the Fanny Burney Centre here at McGill.  Working with Professor Brian Cowan, Simon will highlight the especial value of ‘cosmopolitanism’ by investigating cross-border interchange in Enlightenment Europe Today, the word 'cosmopolitan' and its cognates are often used loosely and unsystematically. This was not the case, however, during the Enlightenment, when intellectuals constructed sophisticated ideas about the 'cosmopolitan', with the term’s meaning being comparable to our current usage of 'international'. Through the use of interlinking approaches drawn from the history of ideas, the history of political concepts, and the wider history of society, Simon will investigate the varieties of practice of cosmopolitanism and will examine how those who crossed borders perceived and justified their experiences. His research will also reveal how far cosmopolitanism, be it as a set of concepts or a set of actual cross-border activities, was restricted to the social elite, or whether non-elite persons were also involved.  The results will make a significant contribution to ‘transnational’ history by providing an historical context for major current debates about migration, trade, and wider forms of cross-border exchange.


Jessica Coon received her PhD in Linguistics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and comes to McGill after a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University.  Under the supervision of Professor Lisa Travis, Dr. Coon is pursuing research on the morphology and syntax of Mayan (spoken in Guatemala, southern Mexico, Belize) and Austronesian (spoken in Southeast Asia and the Pacific) languages.  She is engaged in a detailed comparison of rare grammatical similarities found in the individual languages of these two unrelated language families.  This curious phenomenon lends support to the hypothesis that all human languages share certain innate basic principles.  Dr. Coon’s research fills a lacuna in the field by making a significant contribution to our knowledge of these to date under-studied languages.  Her work also increases our understanding of the possible range of variation of human language, the consequences of which have implications both for theoretical linguistics and for our understanding of the underlying nature of human language itself.  Dr. Coon is currently involved in two major research projects at McGill, and is working in collaboration with the interdisciplinary Centre for Research on Language, Mind and Brain (CRLMB).