The Humanities Institute

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Mission and Purpose

The WFU Humanities Institute fosters innovation and collaboration among scholars in the humanistic disciplines.  It promotes cross- and interdisciplinary research and other creative activity by establishing programs and providing funding for faculty in the humanities and their collaborators in other fields.  It also supports joint faculty-student research and activities, and builds partnerships with the public community outside Wake Forest.  In so doing, the Institute aims to advance the university’s commitment to education and scholarship that is pro humanitate and to underscore the value of the humanities for the common good.


The Humanities Institute was founded in October 2010 following several years of faculty planning, including two years of funding from the provost’s office to support humanities-focused initiatives.  In December 2010, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) offered Wake Forest University a five-year $500,000 challenge grant to fund the University’s Humanities Institute.  It is the largest NEH grant that Wake Forest has ever received.  Through fundraising and donations, the University will match the NEH grant threefold, yielding a total of nearly $2 million to endow the Institute to permanently support interdisciplinary programs and scholarship in the humanities at Wake Forest.

In 2011-2012, the Humanities Institute will expand its programming with faculty development workshops, student focused College Collaborations, digital humanities initiatives, community partnerships. The Institute will also continue co-sponsoring guest speakers, conferences and symposia in the humanities.

The Humanities Institute and Wake Forest

“The Humanities Institute both honors the liberal arts tradition that has long stood at the center of the Wake Forest experience and promotes innovative scholarship that is already invigorating our faculty and enhancing our intellectual community,” -President Nathan O. Hatch.

Already the Institute has supported the development of numerous creative connections among faculty and students in departments across campus and between Wake Forest and the larger community.  The fruits of these efforts have included:

–          Faculty-student Collegiate Seminars, including a reading and discussion group exploring the relationship between neurobiology and music

–          Interdisciplinary faculty research seminars focusing on a range of topics in the humanities, including peace and conflict management in the Middle East and South Africa and the relationship between science and the arts in the 18th Century

–          Collaborative student-faculty research on art on exhibit at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art

–          A digital humanities project that gives voice to the experiences and lives of disabled adults

–          A digital project working with local museums

Read more about the Humanities Institute.