16 May 2016
From the President
As we convene for our Annual Meeting at the University of London, we express our warm gratitude to Professor Roger Kain, Dean of the School for Advanced Studies, and his colleagues for hosting us. Our meeting takes place in Senate House, situated between the British Museum and the School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), a fitting location to reflect upon Area Studies in a Globalizing World. We also look forward to our next Annual Meeting in Cape Town, to be convened by Professor Premesh Lalu, Director of the Centre of Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, South Africa, and focused on the theme of improvisation (August 2017).
The Annual Meeting is an opportunity for both new and longstanding CHCI members to learn from, and inspire, one other. This year, we dedicate our meeting to the life and work of Srinivas Aravamudan, former president of CHCI, who inspired so many of us, and whose passing on April 13, 2016 is a tremendous loss to humanities scholars. The CHCI community will gather on the evening of June 29, 2016 to celebrate his memory.
Srinivas was a fierce advocate for the humanities. It is largely due to his vision, his dedication, his intellectual vibrancy, and capaciousness of mind and spirit that CHCI has become the organization that it is today. Many of you are involved with CHCI because Srinivas led it to become a truly international consortium, one that not only represents but also generates and actively supports new areas of research in the humanities. More than this, with tremendous care and intelligence, and equal measures of style and wit, Srinivas ensured that each CHCI project was a convergence of intellectual and strategic work. We will miss him terribly.
Over the past two years, and even before Srinivas learned of his illness, the CHCI International Advisory Board has been planning for presidential succession and institutional transition. The process is underway for the organization’s central office to move from Duke University to the University of Wisconsin-Madison before the end of 2016. I am grateful to the past-presidents of CHCI, members of the Advisory Board, and staff at Duke, in particular, Sylvia Miller and Conal Ho, for their resilience and dedication to CHCI’s mission. We also owe a significant debt to Duke University and the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute for generously hosting CHCI during a period of exponential growth.
As your president, I look forward to continuing the important programs that Srinivas initiated and to embracing new possibilities that will energize the Consortium and the global humanities. I welcome the opportunity to spend time with you at upcoming Annual Meetings and encourage you to contact me or CHCI staff if you have any questions about the organization or suggestions for our future.
President, Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes
Director, Center for the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Madison