CHCI Receives Second Major A. W. Mellon Foundation Grant

March 19, 2015--The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) a three-year grant of $1.35 million for the second phase of Integrating the Humanities across National Boundaries, an initiative designed to foster new forms of collaborative research and partnerships among the organization's international members.

Ten CHCI member centers and institutes will lead the research on two large-scale pilot projects through 2016. Similarly to the $1.2 million grant awarded to the CHCI in 2012 for the first phase, the funding will advance innovative programmatic ideas and new forms of collaborative research across national, regional, and disciplinary boundaries. The grant will help to identify new priorities and potential roles for CHCI, and explore the ways in which a networked consortium can further scholarly innovation in the humanities on a global scale.

The first of the pilot projects is the CHCI Medical Humanities Network Program, which aims to further the development of medical humanities as a subject of study. The project’s larger goals are to contribute to the ways medicine and the humanities are taught and practiced; to provide new models for research within and across fields; and to foster collaborations between academics working in humanities departments and their colleagues in the health sciences. The six partnering humanities centers are the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia UniversityInstitute for the Arts and Humanities, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC); Centre for the Humanities and Health, King’s College London (KCL); Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research,  the University of the Witwatersrand (WiSER); Leslie Center for the Humanities, Dartmouth College; and the Research Institute for the Humanities, Chinese University of Hong Kong. Each will conduct specific research on aging, undergirded by collaborative reflection on issues of evidence, value, and evaluation.

The second project, Integrative Graduate Humanities Research Education and Training (IGHERT), brings together faculty, doctoral students, and post-doctoral scholars in a series of structured collaborations to undertake jointly mentored, international research. The four institutional partners are the Institute for Humanities Research, University of California, Santa CruzCenter for 21st Century Studies, The University of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeInternational Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, Justus Liebig University in Giessen; and Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra. Together they will engage graduate students in a series of collaborative training and research activities and will test, refine, and assess a scalable model of skill training and digital archiving that can be applied in multiple contexts and to multiple themes.

The IGHERT program further aims to attune the participants to the larger public contexts in which expert knowledge in the humanities is meaningful and to equip them with the written and oral skills necessary to communicate with these public constituencies more effectively.

Two three-year projects (2013–2015) were funded in the first phase of the Integrating the Humanities across National Boundaries program. Humanities for the Environment involves five CHCI-member partners forming collaborative “Observatories”—one each in North America, the Australia-Pacific region, and Europe—to research the role of the humanities in a period of planetary crisis and change. Five CHCI-member partners are also working on Religion, Secularism, and Political Belonging, which focuses on discovering new approaches to religious and cultural criticism and understanding.

Established in 1988, the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes is an international organization headquartered at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University. It is a network for the circulation of information, ideas, and best practices related to the programmatic and organizational dimensions of humanities centers and institutes. CHCI is currently comprised of more than 180 member and affiliate organizations in 23 countries and 46 US states. CHCI members are engaged in a wide range of programs, including research support, public humanities programs, fellowship programs, and advocacy on issues of educational and cultural policy, digital humanities programs, partnerships with arts organizations, and the development and maintenance of research collections. Many CHCI members are powerful agents of growth, change, and transformative interdisciplinary research on their campuses and within their communities. More information on CHCI can be found at http://chcinetwork.org.