Humanities Without Walls

Humanities Without Walls (HWW) is a consortium of humanities centers and institutes, including the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, at 15 major research universities throughout the Midwest and beyond. Originally funded by a $3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the consortium was established to create cross-institutional research, teaching and scholarship in the humanities. The first research challenge of this initiative was The Global Midwest: to reveal and rethink the Midwest as a key site—both now and in the past—in shaping global economies and cultures.

In March 2016, the Mellon Foundation awarded a five-year, $4.2 million grant to renew support for the Humanities Without Walls consortium's two signature initiatives: summer workshops for pre-doctoral students in the humanities, and cross-institutional, collaborative awards for “grand research challenges.” The next of these research challenges is “The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate” (see below).


Request for Proposals
Application Deadline: October 31, 2016 @ 5:00 p.m., Central Standard Time

Grand Research Challenge: 

The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate

The Humanities Without Walls consortium invites applications for funding from cross-institutional teams of faculty and graduate students wishing to collaboratively pursue research topics related to "The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate."

This rubric is intended to be both intellectually focused and capacious. In its narrowest interpretation, it calls for collaborative research in the field of environmental humanities, broadly conceived, as well as the development of new humanities-centered paradigms for thinking through the limits and possibilities of climate change policy. We do so out of a conviction that the current climate crisis has deep historical roots yet to be fully tapped; that it calls for new philosophies and theories of the human and the anthropocene; that its fictions and visual cultures bear mightily on its material consequences, past, present and future; and that collaborative research on these questions and more is indispensable to scholarly expertise on the subject, in the humanities and beyond.

As a metaphor, climate change is pluripotent: it offers humanists the opportunity to think expansively about the meanings of “climate” and “change” as they manifest in their own research, and to bring their contributions to bear on cognate questions in the present. Thus “The Work of Humanities in a Changing Climate” also hails scholars who wish to consider the pressure of other forms of contemporary “climate change” on their fields of inquiry—from a changing racial climate to a changing economic climate to the changing notion of “the public” and what it means for the intellectual work environments of humanists.

View the full RFP at the Humanities Without Walls website

Application deadline: October 31, 2016 at 5:00 pm, Central Standard Time.

Note: Northwestern project leaders and coordinators should email Tom Burke at the Kaplan Institute no later than October 1, 2016, indicating intent to apply for this challenge, the project title, and all external collaborators and their institutions.