Mission

The mission of the Institute for Research in the Humanities (IRH) is to foster research in the humanities and humanistic social sciences by creating a stimulating, intellectual community in which fellows can pursue their scholarly work, share it with other fellows and members of the campus, and benefit from intensive discussion with scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, fields, interests, and methodological perspectives. We also promote greater understanding of the humanities on campus and beyond, and build bridges between the humanities and the arts, social sciences, and natural sciences. Working closely with the Center for the Humanities and other campus centers and institutes, we encourage innovative, broad-ranging, and collaborative research in and thinking about the humanities for the twenty-first century.

University Club BuildingThe IRH provides offices for fellows, generous space for seminars, and a library. We are a unit in the College of Letters & Science, which invests heavily in the IRH as part of its commitment to the humanities. Some 40-50 fellows are associated with the IRH each year, including faculty and graduate students from UW-Madison, faculty from University of Wisconsin System campuses, and scholars from elsewhere (including independent scholars). Fellowships are awarded for research in all areas and aspects of the humanities. Stipendiary awards for scholars from outside UW-Madison include the Solmsen Fellowships (dedicated to topics on pre-1700 Europe), Kingdon Fellowships (for scholars working in religious studies), and the Ciplijauskaité Fellowship in Peninsular Spanish Literature. The fellowships for UW-Madison faculty include some designated for topics in Race, Ethnicity, and/or Indigeneity.

The Institute holds a weekly seminar at which fellows present their work and engage in extensive dialogue about their projects with other fellows and with interested faculty and graduate students from across campus. The Institute also sponsors annual Burdick-Vary Symposia organized by Senior Fellows, an annual lecture in honor of the French literary scholar (and former IRH director) Germaine Brée, and other lectures, conferences, and informal events related to the humanities. The Institute takes a leadership role on the UW-Madison campus and works with other humanities centers and institutes to promote greater understanding of and visibility for the humanities.

The current director of the Institute for Research in the Humanities is Steven Nadler, William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy and Evjue-Bascom Professor in Humanities. The assistant to the director is Ann Harris. See the staff pages here. For more information, contact the IRH at info@irh.wisc.edu.