Center for Humanistic Inquiry

Located at the heart of campus in Frost Library, the Center for Humanistic Inquiry (CHI) provides space and resources for Amherst faculty and departments to engage a broad vision of the role humanistic thinking can play in scholarly and public life. Each year we invite several fellows into residency at the Center to conduct research and collaborate with each other under the rubric of a resonant theme. The Center also hosts performances, forums, exhibitions, digital interventions, conferences, and workshops designed to foster humanities inquiry.


Mellon Public Humanities Research Seminar CFP - Due February 10

The Center for Humanistic Inquiry (CHI) and the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) are accepting applications for a new Public Humanities Research Seminar. With generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this seminar will support community engagement and public scholarship aimed at making students more effective citizens who: 1) reflect on how the ideas they have studied apply in new settings and contexts; 2) have direct opportunities to collaborate with and learn from community members very different from themselves; and 3) gain practice sharing what they have learned with a broad range of audiences beyond the academy. Seminar participants will develop an intellectual framework for public work, learn to build sustainable collaborations with community organizations, and integrate public work into teaching by designing (or significantly revising) a course to include a public scholarship component. Participants will begin meeting this spring and will meet twice each term through the 2020-21 school year. They will receive a $3,500 stipend for their work over the course of the seminar, including the development or revision of a course. Proposals are due by 12:00 p.m. Monday, February 10. Applicants must be Amherst College faculty members who can commit to offering the course they develop at least once during the next two years.

Amherst Folger Undergraduate Fellows

Folger Undergraduate Research Fellows
Before Farm to Table

Folger Undergraduate Fellows participated in an intensive seminar during interterm called, "Before Farm to Table: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures." Students worked collaboratively with the Folger Library's Curator of Manuscripts, Dr. Heather Wolfe, with the Assistant Director of Fellowships, Dr. Amanda Herbert, and with other faculty and staff experts to engage in a 360-degree investigation of an 18th-century manuscript recipe book from the Folger Shakespeare Library collection. Students examined how the book was put together; investigated its users, contributors, and sources; identified seasonal ingredients, preservation methods, and ingredients made available through trade routes and institutionalized slavery. They transcribed, edited, and adapted recipes, discovered implicit knowledge and hidden labor encoded in the recipes, and chose recipes to create together and share in a public presentation. Eniola Ajao '21, Liam Downing '20, Olivia Geiger '21, Anisa Lacey '21, Siyi Li '22, Sarah Montoya '21, Stuart Robbins '20, Joshua Whang '21, Luke Williamson '21.

  LitFest 2020 Banner

Now in its fifth year, Amherst’s annual literary festival celebrates the College’s extraordinary literary life by bringing to campus distinguished authors and editors—from fiction and nonfiction, to poetry and spoken-word performance. This year’s festival features Jesmyn Ward, winner of a 2017 National Book Award (NBA) for fiction; 2019 NBA Fiction Winner Susan Choi and finalist Laila Lalami, and memoirist Ben Rhodes, former speechwriter and deputy national security advisor to President Barack Obama; and poet and U. S. Military veteran Karen Skolfield

LitFest Book Covers 2020

See the full LitFest schedule...


Spring 2020 Research Tutorials for Sophomores and Juniors

Student in lirbary

Students who enroll in these courses will be designated Research Fellows and will be eligible for summer housing and support to continue the projects they began with their tutorial instructors.

Spring 2020 Research Tutorials offer faculty and students the opportunity to collaborate on shared research projects in the humanities and “humanistic” social sciences. The enrollment for each tutorial is limited to six students. Offered for sophomores and juniors, the courses present ongoing research on a series of related questions in the faculty member’s area of expertise. By exploring how different scholars approach a topic, students learn to frame a research question, develop research strategies, and identify and use sources. Students pursue a research topic that dovetails closely with the professor’s scholarly interests.

More Information...

New England Humanities Consortium RFP - Due March 30, 2020

NEHC logo

The New England Humanities Consortium (NEHC) is offering competitive seed grants for research initiatives in the humanities that seek to capitalize on the collaborative network of the consortium. Awards of up to $5,000 will be made. Priority will be given to applications demonstrating concrete plans for consortium membership involvement. Such involvement can take different forms, but will typically constitute direct collaboration between two or more member institutions and/or active and solicitation of faculty, staff, or students from member institutions. Applications are welcome from individuals or teams, but the PI must be on the faculty of a NEHC member institution. Potential areas of funding interest include the following:

  • Collaborative research projects
  • Summer Seminars
  • Study or working groups
  • Shared speakers across institutions
  • Collaborative course design
  • Exhibitions

Application deadline: March 30, 2020