Shared Sacred Sites Graduate Field Research Grant Guidelines

The Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life (IRCPL) at Columbia University and the Centre de Recherches Internationales (CERI) at Sciences Po are supported by Alliance for the joint research project “Negotiating Pluralism in Shared Religious Sites.”

This project counters the prevailing narratives in academia and society which focus on religious fundamentalism and violence by examining how different religious groups exercise their faiths in shared religious spaces. The places where people from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds are able to live with difference, accommodate each other’s religious needs, and negotiate their otherness in public are positive examples of pluralism and tolerance. The lands of the Eastern Mediterranean are home to a large number of these spaces where Christians, Muslims, and Jews come together for prayer. Likewise, there are many spaces in the Indian subcontinent where Hindus and Muslims come together.

As a part of this project, the IRCPL and CERI are offering up to two field research grants to qualified graduate students at Columbia University who are interested in researching shared sacred sites in India this January 2016.  Participating students will conduct ethnographic research in Ahmedabad and Ajmer during the week of 11-17 January 2016 under the supervision of Christophe Jaffrelot (CERI-Sciences Po). Successful applicants will be required to take photographs, make audio transcripts, and author research reports on the basis of their findings. The grant will cover travel to the sites, food, lodging, and related expenses during the trip. Successful applicants will meet with faculty and will be provided a reading list to prepare them for the trip. Applicants may also propose fieldwork projects at additional sites in the period before the above-mentioned dates.

Applications are welcome from students currently enrolled in PhD or Masters programs at Columbia’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Preference will be given to students who are currently conducting research which aligns with that of the Negotiating Pluralism in Shared Religious Sites project.  

A complete application will include:

  • A curriculum vita, not to exceed two pages, including departmental affiliation.
  • A brief overview of your current research project demonstrating its relevance to the Shared Sacred Sites project, and optional proposal for expanded research elsewhere in India, not to exceed three pages.

Applications are due by 30 November 2015 Completed applications should be submitted via email to with the subject line: Alliance Field Trip Application_name.  

Direct questions to Jessica Lilien at