The National Humanities Center is the only major independent American institute for advanced study in all fields of the humanities. Privately incorporated and governed by a distinguished board of trustees from academic, professional, and public life, the Center was planned under the auspices of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and began operation in 1978. It provides a national focus for the best work in the liberal arts, drawing attention to the enduring value of ancient and modern history, language and literature, ethical and moral reflection, artistic and cultural traditions, and critical thought in every area of humanistic investigation. By encouraging excellence in scholarship, the Center seeks to insure the continuing strength of the liberal arts and to affirm the importance of the humanities in American life.
Advanced Study in the Humanities
Outstanding scholars from across the United States and more than thirty other nations have been awarded fellowships for advanced study at the National Humanities Center. The Center annually admits forty fellows, who represent a broad range of ages, disciplines, and home institutions. Individually, the fellows pursue their own research and writing. Together, they create a stimulating community of intellectual discourse. Interdisciplinary seminars on topics of mutual interest provide a context in which fellows share fresh insights and thoughtful criticism. The most tangible result of the fellows' work is the publication of nearly a thousand books since the Center opened. In addition, the Center has given many scholars a renewed sense of the possibilities of intellectual inquiry in the humanities.
Most fellows are chosen in an annual competition, for which the Center typically receives more than five hundred applications. The Center's trustees also invite a few scholars of distinction. Scholars in the humanities from any nation are welcome to apply to the Center as well as individuals from the sciences, social sciences, the arts, the professions, and public life who wish to pursue a humanistic project. Successful candidates are offered fellowships and travel expenses in order that they may spend an academic year at the Center.