Introducing the Humanities Initiative
For guidelines on the Humanities Initiative, see this memo.
To: Humanities and Social Science Chairs and Directors
From: Rajiv Vohra
Date: November 15, 2010
Re: The Humanities Initiative
I am writing to follow up on our meetings regarding the Humanities Initiative and to clarify the framework for implementing this initiative.
At a moment when national and international debates on education are shifting their focus toward science and technology, and when educational progress is increasingly measured in monetary terms, it is essential for Brown to reaffirm the importance of the Humanities for sustaining the intellectual vitality of the University. Brown's innovative curriculum in the Humanities and interdisciplinary strengths place us in a unique position to be a leader in shaping new paradigms of humanistic learning. The Humanities Initiative is major new investment designed to further strengthen Brown's leadership in the Humanities.
We seek to make six major appointments in the Humanities over the next three years, each at the level of an endowed chair. While appointments will necessarily be made in academic departments, the faculty members recruited through this process will have an unusual degree of flexibility in their teaching, including instruction offered through the Cogut Center for the Humanities.
I am delighted to report that all six of these appointments will be treated as incremental positions as long as the new faculty members are at Brown. In other words, these appointments will not count against departments' authorized rosters.
We invite you to propose scholars of unusual distinction whose intellectual vision and ability to stimulate interdisciplinary Humanities work will maximize the impact of their appointment. Proposals will seek to identify faculty across a broad spectrum of research and teaching fields, from the canonic to the most experimental. To help us in assessing the proposals, Provost Kertzer and I have formed an advisory committee comprised of David Estlund (Philosophy), Karen Newman (Comparative Literature), Pierre Saint-Amand (French Studies), Michael Steinberg (Director, Cogut Center for the Humanities), and C.D. Wright (Literary Arts). Please send your proposals to Deputy Provost Joseph Meisel, who will be staffing the advisory committee. In the first phase we anticipate considering proposals received by December 12th.
As you know, we also have available $3 million in separate funds to develop programming in the Humanities. These funds are intended to enhance ongoing activities and also to attract high profile scholars who may have interesting ideas about how to advance innovative collaboration and new projects. Your ideas about the use of these programmatic funds should also be forwarded to Joe Meisel.
Please let me know if you have further questions. I hope you are all as enthusiastic as we are to launch this initiative. Sincerely, Rajiv Vohra, Dean of the Faculty