Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes

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Established in 1988, the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes serves as a site for the discussion of issues germane to the fostering of crossdisciplinary activity and as a network for the circulation of information and the sharing of resources within the humanities and interpretive social sciences. CHCI has a membership of over 180 centers and institutes that are remarkably diverse in size and scope and are located in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, Korea, Finland, Taiwan, Ireland, United Kingdom, and other countries.

Mission and History[edit]

Established in 1988, the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) serves as an arena for the discussion of issues germane to crossdisciplinary activity in the humanities and as a network for the circulation of information and best practices related to the organizational and management dimensions of humanities centers and institutes. Including Organizational and Individual Affiliate members, CHCI currently has a membership of 183 organizations in the US, Europe, Asia, and Pacific Rim. CHCI produces a major Annual Meeting of its membership, maintains a content-rich website, produces an annual print directory, and serves as a re-circulator for information about its members via listservs and its website. Members of the Consortium also assist one another with ideas, evaluation, and other forms of service. The organization is headed by a President, and is governed by an International Advisory Board of member directors and other leaders in the humanities.

CHCI was established in 1988 as the product of two meetings: The Institutional Impact of Institutes at the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI, now based at the University of California, Irvine), convened by Murray Krieger, and an organizational meeting at the 1988 meeting of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), convened by E. Ann Kaplan of the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook University. These gatherings were the first moments at which directors of humanities research organizations had come together to discuss issues of mutual concern, and the major product of the meetings was a unanimous sense that it was essential to establish a consortium to continue these dialogues. Ralph Cohen of the University of Virginia served from 1988-1995 as the organization’s first Chair, while CHCI administration was based at UCHRI. In its early years, the CHCI membership included over 70 members from the US and four other countries.

In 1995 CHCI operations and leadership moved to the Center for 21st Century Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, at that time directed by Kathleen Woodward, currently Director of The Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington. During CHCI’s term at UW-Milwaukee, the membership grew to over 125 organizations as new centers were opened and existing members began to expand their programs and operations. This period of time also saw the dramatic expansion of CHCI’s Annual Meetings, the development of the organization’s first website, and two major grants from the Rockefeller Foundation for organizational development and network-building.

In 2001 CHCI moved to the auspices of the Humanities Center at Harvard, where Director Marjorie Garber served a six-year term as President of CHCI. During Professor Garber’s term, membership continued to grow, and CHCI’s annual meetings grew markedly in terms of depth, scale and impact.

In 2007, CHCI operations moved to the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University, under the leadership of current CHCI President Srinivas Aravamudan. Since moving to Duke, CHCI has begun developing programs for the membership, such as a partnership with the American Council of Learned Societies.

Looking to the future, it is one of the major goals of CHCI to become an increasingly international organization, and our international membership has grown 25% since 2007 alone. To that end, the International Advisory Board has begun discussions with humanities leaders in various parts of the world to identify affinities and shared concerns, and to explore opportunities for collaboration.

CHCI is an affiliate member of the American Council of Learned Societies.

Annual Meetings[edit]

CHCI’s Annual Meetings provide an opportunity for member directors and administrators to engage in stimulating intellectual dialogues about broadly defined, current issues in the humanities. Each Annual Meeting includes useful and lively workshops focused on management issues, programming ideas and structures, fundraising, facilities, staffing, and other operational challenges facing member directors and their staffs. Perhaps most importantly, each CHCI Annual Meeting provides invaluable opportunities to meet, network, and collaborate with peers and counterparts at humanities centers and institutes from around the world. Each CHCI Annual Meeting is each constructed around a broadly defined intellectual theme, and is hosted by a member center or institute. Upcoming and recent Annual Meetings include:

Recent CHCI Annual Meetings

Whose Global Humanities?
June-14-15, 2010
Cogut Center for the Humanities, Brown University

Dialogues of Enlightenment
June 11–13, 2009
The Institute for Advanced Research in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh

The Humanities in an Age of Science
March 14–15, 2008
The Center for the Humanities, Washington University in St. Louis

Regional Logics
April 2007
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanic Gardens

The Fate of Disciplines
April 28–29, 2006
Franke Institute for the Humanities, University of Chicago

Open to the Public?
June 17–18, 2005
Research Institute for Culture and History, Utrecht University

After the Past
April 16–17, 2004
Stanford Humanities Center, Stanford University

International Advisory Board[edit]

Srinivas Aravamudan, President
Dean of Humanities
Duke University

Victor Bailey
Director, Hall Center for the Humanities
University of Kansas

Ian Baucom
Director, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute
Duke University

Rosi Braidotti
Director, Centre for the Humanities
Utrecht University

Sarah Buie
Director, Higgins School of Humanities
Clark University

Anthony Cascardi
Director, Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities
University of California, Berkeley

James Chandler
Director, Franke Institute for the Humanities
University of Chicago

Debjani Ganguly
Director, Humanities Research Center
The Australian National University

Marjorie Garber
Director, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts
Harvard University

Robert Gibbs
Director, Jackman Humanities Institute
University of Toronto

Daniel Herwitz
Director, Institute for the Humanities
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Hsiung Ping-chen
Dean of Arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Mary Jacobus
Director, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH)
University of Cambridge

Caroline Levander
Director, Humanities Research Center
Rice University

Susan Manning
Director, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities
University of Edinburgh

Iain McCalman
Director, Digital Innovation Unit for the Humanities & Social Sciences
University of Sydney

Diana Mishkova Director, Centre for Advanced Study Sofia

Timothy Murray
Director, Society for the Humanities
Cornell University

James Rosenheim
Director, Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research
Texas A&M University

Michael Steinberg
Director, Cogut Center for the Humanities
Brown University

Wiljan van den Akker
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Utrecht University

Ann Waltner
Director, Institute for Advanced Study at University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Kathleen Woodward
Director, Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities
University of Washington, Seattle


Links to Selected CHCI Members, Partners, and Affiliates[edit]