The D. F. Plett Historical Research Foundation provides competitive fellowships for researchers exploring topics that fall within the Plett Foundation mandate of supporting and promoting historical research on the antecedents and descendants of the 1870s Mennonite migrants from Russia to Manitoba. Topics could include the effects of Dutch/West Prussian Anabaptist theology, the cultural background of Mennonite in Imperial Russia before the 1870s, and any aspects of Low German settler society in Canada and the Americas. A maximum of two Fellowships can be held at the University of Winnipeg at any given time.
Graduate fellowships are available to eligible candidates who have been admitted or are applying to complete a Master of Arts degree in history in the Joint Master’s Program of the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba, or a Ph.D. in history at the University of Manitoba. The thesis or dissertation must be supervised by one of the co-directors of the Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies at the University of Winnipeg. The value of the Master’s Fellowship is $15,000, and the value of the Ph.D. Fellowship is $20,000. Ph.D. Fellowships may be renewed once, subject to the availability of funds and a satisfactory progress report. This results in a maximum award for a Ph.D. Fellowship candidate of $40,000.
A Postdoctoral Fellowship is available for students who have successfully completed a Ph.D. program. Postdoctoral Fellowships must be supervised by one of the co-directors of the Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies at the University of Winnipeg. The value of a Postdoctoral Fellowship is $40,000.
One Master’s Fellowship is available at Canadian Mennonite University. Eligible candidates must have been admitted to a Master of Arts degree in Theological Studies and have completed the program’s 36 hours of course work. They must be supervised by a faculty member in the Biblical and Theological Studies Department at Canadian Mennonite University and their study must be based on primary source research. The value of this fellowship is $10,500.
Short-Term Visiting Fellowship
A short-term visiting fellowship is available for 1–3 months at the University of Winnipeg. Fellowship holders will typically have completed a graduate degree or be completing one. Visiting fellows will have access to the University of Winnipeg library and the Mennonite Heritage Archives, and will be supervised by one of the co-directors of the Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies. The value of the fellowship is $1,000 per month plus travel and subsistence costs for researchers outside of Winnipeg. Fellowship holders will write a report on their research for Preservings and will be encouraged to submit an article based on their research to the Journal of Mennonite Studies.
Application Deadline for all Fellowships: February 15
FAQsWhat types of Fellowships does the Plett Foundation offer?
The Plett Foundation offers three distinct Fellowships at the Master’s, Ph.D., and Postdoctoral level. Please read the conditions of the Fellowships above. The three types of Fellowships available are:
- An annual Master’s Fellowship of $15,000 is offered to students accepted into the University of Winnipeg/University of Manitoba Joint Master of Arts Program in history. An annual Master’s Fellowship of $10,500 is offered to students pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Theological Studies at Canadian Mennonite University and who have completed 36 hours of course work in the program.
- An annual Ph.D. Fellowship valuing $20,000 is offered to students enrolled in the Ph.D. program at the University of Manitoba.
- An annual Postdoctoral Fellowship valuing $40,000 is offered to a recent Ph.D. graduate who is pursuing research in a field related to the Foundation’s mandate.
Applications are evaluated by an awards committee consisting of the Executive Director, the Board Chair, and an additional Board Member. The award is competitive and is based on an assessment of how the proposed research project fits with the Foundation’s mandate, previous academic performance, and letters of reference.
Master’s Fellowships at the University of Winnipeg, University of Manitoba, and Canadian Mennonite University may be held for one year, in the year they are awarded.
Ph.D. Fellowships at the University of Manitoba may be held for one year, in the year they are awarded. They may be renewed for one additional year, subject to the availability of funds and the submission of a satisfactory progress report.
Postdoctoral Fellowships at the University of Winnipeg may be held for one year, in the year they are awarded.
Yes, the Ph.D. Fellowship at the University of Manitoba may be renewed for one additional year. Please note that this renewal is subject to the availability of funds and to the submission of a satisfactory progress report.
The Master’s Fellowships at the University of Winnipeg, University of Manitoba, and Canadian Mennonite University and the Postdoctoral Fellowships may not be renewed and must be used in the year they are granted.
Masters and Ph.D. Fellowship recipients may receive up to $20,000 in funding from other sources. The Foundation reserves the right to consider the total funding available for a candidate in making its selection. A Postdoctoral Fellowship may not be held concurrently with another postdoctoral fellowship award.
Master’s and Ph.D. Fellowships held at the University of Winnipeg or the University of Manitoba must be supervised by a faculty member in Mennonite Studies at the University of Winnipeg. Master’s Fellowships held at Canadian Mennonite University may be supervised by a CMU faculty member in the Bible and Theological Studies Department. Postdoctoral Fellowships are also typically supervised by a faculty member in Mennonite Studies at the University Winnipeg.
Under special circumstances, Fellowships at the Ph.D. and Postdoctoral levels may be supervised by a professor from another university, to be designated by a faculty member in Mennonite Studies at the University of Winnipeg. Please contact us with inquiries regarding supervision of the Foundation’s Fellowships.
Fellowships are disbursed in two installments, one when the Fellowship is taken up, and one six months thereafter. Renewals are subject to receiving a satisfactory progress report.
Office space within the University of Winnipeg’s History Department is awarded for recipients of the Postdoctoral Fellowship for the duration of their tenure. Master’s and Ph.D. Fellowship recipients will not receive designated office space.
Recent Fellowship RecipientsAileen Friesen, Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Winnipeg, 2015
As a Plett Foundation postdoctoral fellow, Aileen will be exploring the migration of Russian Mennonites in the second half of the nineteenth century. During this period, Mennonites living in Ukraine chose to move in opposite directions; while many are familiar with the 1870s Mennonite migration west to the Americas, only a few decades later, Mennonites also relocated east to Siberia. Using these two cases, her project will investigate comparatively the mobility of Mennonites. It will shed new light on the structures that enabled Mennonites to move, the meaning they ascribed to this process, and how Mennonites fit into the larger story of global migration during this period.
With emphasis on the 1870s Mennonite migrants from pre-Revolution Imperial Russia who assembled villages in Manitoba’s West Reserve, Fisher’s inter-generational study investigates the emotional histories of rural Mennonite communities, which contributed to the production of a Canadian Mennonite ethno-religious identity between 1870 and 1950. Her study looks at both the discourses and the material culture of emotion in order to help us understand anew processes of migration, settlement and identity construction among ethno-religious groups. By working with existing historiography and transported artifacts, Fisher addresses the importance of emotions in shaping human mobility, modernity, attachments to homeland, transnational relationships, gendered identities, and ethno-religious communities, and the ways these processes shaped wider community ideas about acceptable emotional expression.
“Nonresistant or Pacifist? The Peace Stance of the Conservative Kanadier Mennonites, 1874-1945″
This thesis argues that the conservative Kanadier Mennonites, who first came to Canada in 1874, were committed to absolute pacifism. This commitment–one of the basics of their faith–caused major tensions with the host society, notably in times of war. In this thesis I investigate three kinds of resources, each offering a different perspective on the pacifist conviction of the conservative Kanadier Mennonites. The first consists of three migration accounts; the second includes six sermons; the third is a unique set of minutes of the “Aeltestenrat”–the Council of Elders–which record the deliberations of the church leaders who met with government officials to negotiate the alternative service program for conscientious objectors during World War II. The documents demonstrate that the conservative Kanadier Mennonites were not socially or politically engaged pacifists but that their commitment to absolute pacifism was an integral part of their overall understanding of being Christian.
“‘So ha’ wie daut emma jedohne,’ (that is how we have always done it): The Collective Memory and Cultural Identity of the Old Colony Mennonites in Bolivia”
The Canadian-descendent Old Colony Mennonites first arrived in Bolivia from Mexico in 1967. Their collective identity has been shaped by a series of migrations through several countries, including Russia, Canada and Mexico. In this thesis I look at which memories are retold and how they are used to define their identity as an anti-modern people, and vice versa, how this identity filters their memories. I also look to see what it is that the Old Colony Mennonites recall of their migration history: the years before arriving in Bolivia in the 1960s, the pioneer years and succeeding decades of life in Bolivia. In addition, I examine how they have used their history to define their worlds and how their views on technology, language, and clothing are articulated by historical accounts.