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
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 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.
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?
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
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanic Gardens
Open to the Public?
June 17–18, 2005
Research Institute for Culture and History, Utrecht University
International Advisory Board
Director, Higgins School of Humanities
Director, Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities
University of California, Berkeley
Director, Franke Institute for the Humanities
University of Chicago
Director, Humanities Research Center
The Australian National University
Director, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts
Director, Jackman Humanities Institute
University of Toronto
Director, Institute for the Humanities
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
Dean of Arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Director, Humanities Research Center
Director, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities
University of Edinburgh
Diana Mishkova Director, Centre for Advanced Study Sofia
Director, Society for the Humanities
Director, Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research
Texas A&M University
Director, Cogut Center for the Humanities
Wiljan van den Akker
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Director, Institute for Advanced Study at University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Links to Selected CHCI Members, Partners, and Affiliates
- The Folger Shakespeare Library
- American Council of Learned Societies
- Franke Institute for the Humanities, University of Chicago
- Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University
- Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas
- Humanities Center at Harvard
- Humanities Institute at the University of Texas at Austin
- Humanities Institute of Ireland
- Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University
- Huntington Library
- The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities
- The Newberry Library
- Institute for Advanced Study at University of Minnesota