Center for Humanistic Inquiry

Located at the heart of campus in Frost Library, the Center for Humanistic Inquiry (CHI) provides resources for Amherst faculty, staff, and students 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.

Call for Applications: CHI Fellows Program 2021-23

Black Here and Now

A two-year research fellowship in residence

The Center for Humanistic Inquiry seeks scholars from across the disciplines for full-time, two-year appointments as CHI Fellows and visiting lecturers. In colloquy with one another and the Amherst community, CHI Fellows will explore the theme “Black: Here and Now.” We invite applications from scholars whose research or creative work takes up some aspect of our theme. Review of applications will begin on December 15, 2020, and continue until the positions are filled.

See the complete job announcement

Amherst College Press launches new website

AC Press catalog cover

Digital First. Open Access. Peer Reviewed.

Amherst College Press produces pathbreaking scholarship with a liberal arts ethos and makes it available to readers everywhere as digital, open-access work. AC Press publishes seven new titles this year. Visit the new website to see the current catalog, community blog and the other ways the press is advancing new knowledge.

Visit AC Press

Provost's Lecture Series on the History of Anti-Black Racism

Elizabeth Hinton headshot
Yale Professor Elizabeth Hinton presented the final lecture in the series, "From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime"

“The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it...history is literally present in all that we do.” --James Baldwin

The theme for the inaugural Provost and Dean of the Faculty’s Lecture Series is the history of anti-Black racism in America. Underpinning and guiding the series is the conviction that history is a powerful and necessary tool for helping us deepen our understanding of racism in America today. The series launched with a talk by Mary Frances Berry ("Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations"), and has included sessions with Martha Jones ("How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All"); Khalil Gibran Muhammad ("The Condemnation of Blackness") and Elizabeth Hinton ("From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime"). The program also included a seminar component in which participants had the opportunity to work in depth with the guest lecturers.

See the recorded lectures at the Provost's Lecture Series page

Humanities in the News: CHI Intern Eniola Ajao '21 weighs in on education's purpose

Colorful fingerprints

What is a degree in the Humanities worth in a post-COVID world?

Many questions remain unanswered in a post-COVID world. College environments will change in unpredictable ways, as will the job market. How many of us will work from home forever? Will Zoom replace in-person meetings? What about college lectures? Plenty of jobs in settings that rely on human gatherings face big unknowns, because it’s too early to know if people will revert to their old patterns or settle into new behavioral patterns influenced by the coronavirus. The irony is that the focus on jobs in universities will jeopardize our ability to answer these questions. The myopic focus on economic productivity alone will also erode our ability to criticize authority, reduce our sympathy with the marginalized, and damage our competence to deal with complex global problems in a time where we need it most.

Read the full article

Spring 2021 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 2021 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...