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.

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Mellon Doubles Down on New England Faculty of Color Working Group

FOCWG Summer Symposium 2019
The summer 2019 symposium of the Mellon-funded Faculty of Color Working Group at Wheaton College

A show of faith in an NEHC project

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a three-year grant of $750,000 for the expansion of the New England Humanities Consortium (NEHC) Faculty of Color Working Group (FOCWG). Following a 2018 Mellon Foundation $100,000 grant that permitted a pilot phase, faculty of color at NEHC member institutions created and led the Faculty of Color Working Group (FOCWG) for the purpose of increasing mentorship, community building, and dedicated time for scholarly production among faculty of color. Amherst College is one of the founding members of the NEHC, which promotes intellectual collaboration, interdisciplinary exchange, and innovative educational programming for faculty, students, and the regional, national and global communities they serve.

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New book on interwar modernism by Professor Klára Móricz

Klara Moricz portrait

In Stravinsky's Orbit: Responses to Modernism in Russian Paris

The Bolsheviks’ 1917 political coup caused a seismic disruption in Russian culture. Carried by the first wave of emigrants, Russian culture migrated West, transforming itself as it interacted with the new cultural environment and clashed with exported Soviet trends. In her new book, In Stravinsky's Orbit: Responses to Modernism in Russian Paris (University of California Press), Klára Móricz explores the transnational emigrant space of Russian composers Igor Stravinsky, Vladimir Dukelsky, Sergey Prokofiev, Nicolas Nabokov, and Arthur Lourié in interwar Paris.

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New book on presidential succession by Professor Lawrence Douglas

Lawrence Douglas at desk

Will He Go?: Trump and the Looming Election Meltdown in 2020

In his new book, Will He Go?: Trump and the Looming Election Meltdown in 2020 (Twelve Books), Lawrence Douglas, Amherst’s James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, conjectures what might happen if the 2020 results do not favor the incumbent president and such a crisis plays out. “The Obama administration,” says Douglas, “was prepared to deal with a candidate challenging the results of the election. But if you have an incumbent doing that, that’s a far more dangerous situation, because that really represents a challenge to peaceful succession.”

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Colleagues win New England Humanities Consortium seed grants

Lisa Crossman
Lisa Crossman, Curator of American Art at the Mead Art Museum, is principal investigator of "Curation at a Distance"

More than the sum of its parts

The New England Humanities Consortium (NEHC) announces the winners of competitive seed grants for research initiatives in the humanities that capitalize on the collaborative network of the consortium. Amherst, one of the founding members of the consortium, has several participants in the 2020 round of grants, including Lisa Crossman and David Little ("Curation at a Distance"), Sony Coráñez Bolton ("Shade: Labor Diasporas, Tobacco, Mobility, and the Urban Nexus"), Kristen Luschen ("Journal of a Plague Year"), and Hilary Moss ("Journal of a Plague Year" and "Collaborative Humanistic Inquiry in Nineteenth-Century Britain").

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New Book by CHI Advisory Board Member Jen Manion

Jen Manion
Associate Professor of History Jen Manion

Female Husbands: A Trans History

The history of the female husband is the subject of Associate Professor of History Jen Manion's newest book, Female Husbands: A Trans History (Cambridge University Press, 2020). “Far from being a recent or 21st-century phenomenon, people have chosen to trans gender throughout history,” Manion writes. “Early and mid-19th-century American legal authorities knew that gender could easily be changed … In many cases of female husbands, members of their own community are more understanding and sympathetic towards them. Years, even decades, of being neighbors, friends or coworkers were not instantly undone upon learning about their unconventional gender.”

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Where Are They Now? - Adrianna Link

Adrianna Link headshot

Reflections from a former CHI Fellow

Adrianna Link, Head of Scholarly Programs at the American Philosophical Society (APS) and former Fellow at the Center for Humanistic Inquiry (CHI), describes herself as an “intellectual matchmaker.” After receiving her Ph.D. from the Department of History of Science and Technology at The Johns Hopkins University in 2016, Link became a CHI Fellow from 2016-2017, a time during which she had the opportunity to engage in collaborative, interdisciplinary work with other Fellows. Now in her role as Head of Scholarly Programs at the APS, Link hopes to bring that same spirit of collaboration and describes it as one of her favorite parts about her job. She says, “I always love putting people together in a room who may not know that one another exists because of these weird disciplinary divisions, but actually having some hand in building conversations across fields is very gratifying.”

Read more about Adrianna Link