About the Humanities Research Center

The Humanities Research Center (HRC) in the School of Humanities is an internationally recognized hub for fostering innovative intellectual inquiry in the humanities and the arts at Rice University.

Established in 1987, the HRC is engaged in a process of transformation and renewal led by the center’s faculty council, which is represented by five faculty members across departments and ranks, the School of Humanities dean and associate deans, and supported by two staff members. Once this transformation is complete in 2023, the center will be an integral part of the School of Humanities in envisioning and shaping research and engagement practices that are locally rooted and globally linked; advancing graduate education beyond disciplinary bounds; and providing a structure and resources that raise the visibility and impact of our scholarship and the community engagement taking place across our school.

The new HRC will foster new connections and collaborations for humanistic and artistic endeavors across campus. As a conduit, convener and catalyst for critical scholarship, it will bridge divides and produce synergies. And just as important, it will be outward facing, galvanizing and strengthening ties between the center and national humanities foundations and associations, including the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) — indispensable partners in addressing the challenges facing the humanities and the arts both within our institutions and in the broader public sphere. Our new HRC will become a national model, sparking collaborative engagement with new and future partners.

The School of Humanities and the Humanities Research Center have joined and are actively participating in humanities organizations that highlight innovative humanities research, lead transformations of humanities PhD training and encourage innovation in humanities undergraduate education. Rice University and the School of Humanities accepted the invitation of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) to join its Research University Consortium, a leadership group in the academic humanities and interpretive social sciences. In this, we join 39 leading universities and peer schools committed to excellence in humanities research.

In envisioning our future research hub, we aspire to better serve the ambitions of our faculty, students and their collaborators. We aim to offer support for an infrastructure and resources needed to pursue conceptual-theoretical frameworks, civic and public engagement, and creative representations of the critical and urgent challenges facing us today: social and racial injustice, climate change and environmental justice, the gradual shattering of democracy, the proliferation of disinformation and censorship, and much more.