The Institute runs a variety of programs as part of its mission to stimulate interdisciplinary and collaborative research in the humanities. We also frequently co-sponsor programs and events with the Center for the Humanities and with other humanities departments, centers, and programs on campus.


The Institute sponsors some 40-45 external and internal fellowships each year and welcomes fellows to extend their residency at the Institute during the summer. Internal competitions for stipendary fellowships include Senior Fellowships (8-9), Resident Faculty Fellowships (6), Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity Faculty Fellowships (2-3), and Dissertation Fellowships (4-6). External fellowships include Solmsen Fellowships (4-5), Kingdon Fellowships (1-2),  the Biruté Ciplijauskaité Fellowship (1), ACLS and/or SSHRC Fellow Residencies (1-2), UW-System Fellowships (3-4), Madison Area Technical College Fellowship (1), and Honorary Fellowships (variable). See Fellowships for application information.


The Institute fellows present their work in weekly seminars for IRH fellows and other interested faculty and students at UW-Madison during the academic year. Seminars take place every Monday afternoon from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in room 212 of the University Club Building (432 E. Campus Mall) and every Tuesday from 12:00-1:00 p.m. in room 211. Refreshments are served at approximately 3:00 p.m. before Monday seminars in room 211, with presentations beginning promptly at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday seminars take place over lunch (bring your own) and extend discussion of the previous Monday seminar. Consult the Events page for specific topics and speakers.

Conferences and Symposia

Each year, the Institute sponsors 1-2 Burdick-Vary Symposia organized by Senior Fellows on topics related to their research or on issues of broad significance to the humanities. The Institute also organizes conferences and symposia on topical issues in the humanities. Consult the Events page for details on upcoming conference or symposia

Lecture Series

The Institute sponsors three lectures annually: the Germaine Brée Lecture in the Humanities, the Nellie Y. McKay Lecture, and the Gender Studies and the Humanities Lecture. With the Center for the Humanities, the Institute also co-sponsors the Focus on the Humanities Distinguished Lecture Series. Near the end or after their terms, Senior Fellows give a Focus on the Humanities Distinguished Lecture hosted by the Institute. Consult the Events page for details on upcoming lectures.

Summer Humanities Research Fellowships

The Summer Humanities Research Fellowship program and workshop support tenured humanities faculty in pursuing “the next big project.” The workshop seeks to inspire participants to think programmatically about their research and writing, as well as how effectively to pursue external funding to support their scholarship and advance their career. A small cohort of faculty is selected as fellows each summer. Consult the “Internal Fellowships” section of the Fellowships page for more information. These fellowships are specially funded by the College of Letters & Science and the Office of Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (OVCRGE).

Conversations with Distinguished Lecturers

The Institute hosts lunches and informal conversations with distinguished lecturers brought to campus by the Center for the Humanities or by other departments, programs, and centers. Typically, the lecturer makes a brief statement about current or recently published work to initiate a general discussion. Fellows and interested faculty and students are invited to participate. Consult the Events page for details on upcoming lectures.

Other Events

The Institute welcomes departments, centers, and programs in the humanities to organize events to be held in the Institute’s seminar room (212 University Club Building) with the Institute’s co-sponsorship. The Institute seminar room, conference room, and library (212, 211, 231) are available for other groups in the humanities to hold discussion sessions, seminars, meetings, and other events. Room 212 is equipped with basic AV equipment available after a quick training meeting. Contact IRH director Steve Nadler regarding sponsorship and/or Ann Harris for room reservations.

IRH Libraries

The Institute maintains a general library in room 231, and a library of current and past fellows’ publications in room 211 of the University Club building. The library collection in room 231 includes current magazines such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Review of Books, and the Times Literary Supplement, books based on Institute projects, and books donated to the Institute by former fellows (especially in Classics, Medieval Studies, and Early Modern Studies). Contact Ann Harris for access.