CSR Awards Page

Robert L. and Phyllis J. Iles Award for Graduate Study of Myth


The Center for the Study of Religion oversees an annual competition to award up to $4000 to an Ohio State graduate student in the Arts and Humanities who is working on myth, broadly conceived.

More specifically, the Robert L. and Phyllis J. Iles Award for Graduate Study of Myth, which is administrated by the CSR, has been established to make an annual award of up to $2000 each spring to a graduate student in the Division of the Arts and Humanities in support of that student’s research on myth. The award shall be supplemented by $1000 from the Division of the Arts and Humanities and by up to $1000 from the student’s home department, for a possible total of up to $4000.

Studies of myth from any culture in any period of human history are eligible for consideration. For the purposes of this award, a “myth” is “a story that is sacred to and shared by a group of people who find important meaning in it, as conveyed through narrative, art or ritual.” Eligible projects include, but are not limited to: the relationship between myths and religious practices, the uses of myth in literary and artistic productions, and the reuse of one culture’s myths by other cultures. Possible approaches include, but are not limited to, the anthropological, the literary, the historical, and the folkloristic, as well as creative approaches that aim to re-present a myth as part of a new artistic product.

Candidates will be selected based on merit, although some preference will be given to proposals that cite specific need for funding for travel of other expenses related to research or to the performance or production of other artistic projects. Preference will be given to candidates whose projects are part of a doctoral dissertation (with exceptions granted for students in departments that offer only a master’s degree).

Application Procedure and Deadline:


Applications should include the following:

  1. a 1200-word description of the project (with a suitable project title) and how the fellowship would aid it, including a statement of how much work has already been done on the project and how much would be completed during the fellowship period;
  2. where appropriate, an explanation of how the funding will be spent (e.g. approximate cost of an air-travel ticket, cost of artistic materials);
  3. a letter of support from the student’s advisor;
  4. a letter from the chair of the student’s department, agreeing to supplement the award by a specified amount of up to $1000;
  5. a curriculum vitae of up to two pages, including publications and presentations.

Applications for the fellowship must be made in advance of expenditures (there will be no post-facto awards); the funds must be spent within 12 months of the fellowship being awarded. The CSR reserves the right not to award a fellowship in a given year if none of the applications is deemed eligible. Any unused available balance will be reinvested into the principal amount of the Iles Fund.

Within one month of having completed the work for which funding was awarded, the recipient shall submit to the director of CSR a 500-word essay on the state of their research or some other aspect of the way they spent the funding that can be used as a news item on the CSR website or in other CSR materials, and a photo of either the recipient or some aspect of his or her project.

The application deadline for the 2015/2016 academic year will be announced later this fall. All applications should be submitted via the online application form.  Please contact the CSR Program Coordinator Nick Spitulski (spitulski.1@osu.edu) with any questions.


Previous Recipients:


2015: Kati Fitzgerald (Department of Comparative Studies): "Performative Mythology: Tibetan Opera in Exile"

2014: Wenyuan Shao (Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures):  "Origin Narratives: Yi Creation Myths in Guizhou, China"

2013:  Erin Wagner (Department of English):  “Creating the Heretic from the Other: The Use of Religion and Myth in Medieval England”

2012:  Hanne Eisenfeld (Department of Greek and Latin):  “Only Mostly Dead: Immortality and Related States in Pindar’s Victory Odes”


Robert L. Iles (1934-2007) taught high school English in Perrysburg, OH for two years before beginning a career as a free-lance writer and author.  He encouraged his high school students to read, study and enjoy myths. Phyllis J. Iles (1935-2010) was a homemaker and for many years also a volunteer teaching assistant at the elementary level. She encouraged young children's enjoyment of myths. Their daughter, Sarah Iles Johnston, and son-in-law, Fritz Graf, are professors in the Department of Classics, where they both frequently teach graduate and undergraduate courses on ancient myths and religions.



Travel Warning Policy and Supplemental International Insurance

In countries under a current Department of State Travel Warning or other locations designated high risk, undergraduate students cannot use scholarship awards for study abroad programs and/or individual international projects outside of venues approved by Ohio State. Approved programs are communicated on the OIA website via the study abroad search engine.

Graduate and professional students may petition the International Travel Policy Committee for approval a minimum of three months prior to proposed travel.  Take a look at Countries currently on Department of State Travel Warning. For further information on the policy and/or the petition process, please contact Dru Simmons, international risk manager, Office of Risk Management and Insurance.

Ohio State students traveling to international locations for the purpose of study abroad, undergraduate or graduate/dissertation research, internships or independent study are required to enroll in the university's supplemental international insurance which is provided through HTH Worldwide. The insurance includes coverage for medical, evacuation, repatriation, emergency assistance, and political security and natural disaster. Students participating in study abroad programming coordinated through the Office of International Affairs are automatically enrolled in the supplemental international insurance. Students who are traveling abroad independently may enroll on-line for the supplemental insurance.

**For additional information, please visit the Office of International Affair's Travel Advisory Warnings and Petitions webpage as well as their Traveler's Insurance webpage.

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