Mission

The mission of the Institute for Research in the Humanities is to foster research in the humanities and humanistic social sciences by creating a stimulating, multi-disciplinary 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 Institute is an intellectual community with generous space for seminars, a library, and offices for fellows. The Institute is a unit in the College of Letters and Science, which invests heavily in the Institute as part of its commitment to the humanities. Some 40-50 fellows are associated with the Institute each year, including faculty and graduate students from UW-Madison, fellows from University of Wisconsin System campuses, and fellows from elsewhere (including independent scholars). Fellowships are awarded for research in all aspects of the humanities. Awards for scholars from outside UW-Madison include the Solmsen Fellowships (dedicated to topics on pre-1700 Europe) and Kingdon Fellowships (for scholars working in religious studies). There are also Resident Fellowships for UW-Madison faculty, including some designated for topics in Race, Ethnicity, and/or Indigeneity. Most fellows hold stipendiary awards, but the Institute also welcomes a select number of visiting scholars with their own funding to become Honorary Fellows housed at the Institute.

The Institute holds weekly seminars 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 the campus. The Institute also sponsors an annual Burdick-Vary Symposium organized by one of the Senior Fellows, an annual event in honor of Germaine Brée (1907-2001), the internationally renowned scholar of twentieth-century French literature, and other lectures, symposia, and informal events related to the humanities. The Institute takes a leadership role on campus with other humanities centers and institutes to promote greater understanding of and visibility for the humanities. We co-sponsor many events on campus and work with a number of other interdisciplinary initiatives, such as the Center for Visual Culture, the Center for the Humanities, and the Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery.

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.