The Stanford Humanities Center was founded in 1980 by then-President Donald Kennedy to spearhead new initiatives in humanities research at Stanford.
The Humanities Center’s early goals remain central to its mission today. These include: providing state-of-the-art research and writing facilities for scholars; contributing to the intellectual life of the Stanford community as a whole (through lectures, seminars, conferences, and, since 1995, research workshops); initiating studies aimed at redefining the nature and function of the humanities; and focusing on issues of an interdisciplinary nature.
Ian Watt was named the first director in 1980 and in 1982-83 the Humanities Center welcomed its first thirteen fellows. Now one of the most dynamic humanities centers in the country, the Stanford Humanities Center offers approximately twenty-five fellowships every year, supports fifteen to twenty year-long research workshops, hosts four to six international visitors, stages numerous public events, and supports collaborative projects.
The Stanford Humanities Center sponsors advanced research into the historical, philosophical, and cultural dimensions of human experience. The Center's international visitors, fellowships, research workshops, and public events strengthen the intellectual and creative life of the University, foster innovative scholarship and teaching, and enrich the community's understanding of our common humanity.
The Humanities Center's mission
is to be:
- A research center for multi-disciplinary work in the humanities
- An intellectual community of faculty, students, and the general public
- A think tank for faculty and students to reflect, conduct research, and write
- A space for students to hone their professional skills
- A focal point for bringing leading international scholars to campus to share their insights and perspectives
- A catalyst for new ideas and research methods in humanities scholarship.
The Humanities Center impacts
the Stanford campus and surrounding community by:
- Providing a laboratory for testing new ideas in humanities research
- Enriching the work that comes out of individual disciplines
- Building research communities and collaborations that produce work no single scholar could produce alone
- Advancing students' professional development
- Forwarding Stanford's commitment to providing a strong liberal education
The Humanities Center helps to fulfill Stanford's Strategic Vision:
- Stanford University seeks to be as well regarded in the humanities as it is in science technology, and its professional schools; the Stanford Humanities Center is a critical player in helping the University achieve that goal.
- The Humanities Center's dedication to cross-disciplinary conversations and excellence in scholarship furthers Stanford's goal of seeking solutions to society's most formidable challenges.
- The Center's research workshops have become integral to what is most distinctive and distinguished about Stanford's intellectual atmosphere and educational practice.
- The Center helps attract the best students and faculty to Stanford.