CHCI-Mellon Global Humanities Institutes: Call for Interested Centers and Institutes

Since 2012, the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI), supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has advanced multiple forms of international, collaborative research designed to foster new knowledge and new networks. Building upon the first phase of this project (2012-2017), in which 26 member centers and institutes contributed to four distinct projects, and with the support of a new grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we invite humanities centers and institutes from all parts of the world to apply to participate in the pilot phase of a second generation of international collaborations: CHCI Global Humanities Institutes.  In 2017, we call for expressions of interest from member centers and institutes who wish to participate in the pilot phase of this program. During this phase, CHCI aims to develop 1-2 Institutes that will serve as models for future projects.

What are CHCI Global Humanities Institutes?

CHCI Global Humanities Institutes are multi-year projects devoted to a research theme, method, practice, or problem in the humanities that would benefit directly from a sustained international and collaborative approach. CHCI will support a team of scholars representing at least three humanities centers or institutes, preferably located in three different world regions to develop a research program and models for collaborative work in the humanities. The heart of each collaboration will be an in-person meeting (a summer or winter institute), flexible in format, that will last approximately two weeks and include both members of the convening research team (up to three scholars from each of the core institutions) and 10-15 additional participants affiliated with CHCI member centers.  Participants in each Global Humanities Institute should include scholars across career stages, including graduate students and early-career scholars.  The Institute for World Literature, the School of Criticism and Theory, and the CHCI-CCK Summer Institute to be held in 2017 at the Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities provide examples of summer institutes, although they should not prevent applicants from envisioning new approaches to the model.

In 2017, CHCI will select 1-2 pilot Institutes designed not only to cultivate collaborative research but also to establish the model for future projects and to generate transportable insights into the value of international collaboration in the humanities.  CHCI expects that core members of the research team will convene at least once during the planning period, during which they also will organize the two-week summer or winter Institute. Participants will continue their exchange beyond the meeting through related programming on their campuses and across the CHCI network, as well as through the shared project of collaborative publication. Participants will be encouraged to explore publishing in different formats and regions with the understanding that publication projects will focus on journals and publishing houses in more than one region and in multiple languages, as a means towards sustaining the international spirit of the projects.


Who can participate?

In the pilot phase of this new program, CHCI requests expressions of interest from member centers and institutes from all parts of the world who wish to undertake projects related to two broad themes: “Challenges of Translation” or “Crises of Democracy.” At this stage, research teams need not be formed. Expressions of interest can come either from directors of individual centers and institutes seeking partners with whom to collaborate or from transcontinental teams of centers and institutes.  Directors should work with interested members of their faculties to articulate compelling approaches to one of these areas of inquiry. Proposals should list up to three other scholars from each center or institute, one of whom could serve as a co-PI with the director.

How does my Center or Institute get involved?

If your center or institute is interested in participating in the pilot phase of this program please send a very brief (1-2 page) expression of your interest in one of the two identified themes, including ideas for how you would approach and organize a Global Humanities Institute.  Please be sure to specify your chosen focal theme and, if possible, include names of at least two other CHCI member centers or institutes with whom you might want to collaborate. You need not have made contact in advance of your application, but if you have discussed your project with them, please let us know. Names of suggested co-PIs at other member centers or institutes are helpful but not required. The CHCI member directory can be found here: Please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to collaborate with an institution that is not currently a CHCI member.  In your proposal, you also may wish to explain how your proposed project could lead to new opportunities for your center or institute and your campus.

All Global Humanities Institutes will include

  • A two-week long summer or winter institute that will be open to participants from other CHCI member centers and institutes (including graduate students and emerging scholars);
  • At least three convening centers and institutes, preferably from different world regions each of which will be represented by at least two co-PIs;
  • A contribution both to the theme and to the broader project of developing models for international research collaboration in the humanities.

Together with the 1-2 page narrative described above, please include: the director’s CV and CVs of up to three other participants, at least one of whom could serve as a co-PI.

Please use the electronic form available at to provide all of the above information.

While we are especially interested in receiving expressions of interest ahead of our annual meeting in Cape Town (Aug. 10-13, 2017) we will continue to consider submissions through September 15, 2017.

We expect to issue additional calls to convene future Global Humanities Institutes in 2018 and 2019.

What are the next steps?

Upon receiving expressions of interest, the CHCI-Mellon Program Committee will identify 1-2 Institutes that will contribute to new knowledge in the humanities; exemplify forms of collaboration across institutional and national boundaries; and promise to establish a new model for CHCI.  The committee, together with CHCI staff, will work with potential PIs to develop a budget, plan for subawards, institutional models, and lasting structures that will set the stage for future Global Humanities Institutes and establish measures for recognizing successful collaboration in the humanities.

What if we have questions?

There will be a dedicated session of the CHCI Annual Meeting in Cape Town in which the CHCI Mellon Programming Committee will answer questions about this new program. For members who are not able to attend the Cape Town meeting or who have more urgent inquiries, please contact Guillaume Ratel, CHCI Director of Programs,