About the UIC Institute for the Humanities

  • Mission Statement

    The Institute for the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Chicago seeks to foster an intellectually vital, interdisciplinary community of scholars working at one of the nation’s most exciting urban research centers.  As the hub of humanities scholarship on campus, the Institute provides a forum for intellectual exchange among faculty and students at UIC and other colleges and universities in the region.  At its base, the Institute for the Humanities highlights the importance of public higher education and provides a space for the vigorous debate and exchange so crucial in a democratic society.

  • Facilities

    The Institute for the Humanities provides a welcoming venue for interdisciplinary intellectual exchange on the UIC campus. Facilities include two lecture rooms, one accommodates 45, the other can hold up to 85 people. In addition, we offer a small kitchen space for food storage and minimal preparation (no stove). Use of the Institute for Humanities space is limited to UIC-sponsored academic events such as seminars, lectures, and conferences that are free and open to the public. To inquire about availability, please contact huminst@uic.edu.

  • Executive Committee 2018-2019

    Jennifer Ashton
    Department of English

    Roderick Ferguson
    Departments of Gender and Women’s Studies & African American Studies

    David Hilbert
    Department of Philosophy

    Rama Sundari Mantena
    Department of History

    Heidi Schlipphacke
    Department of Germanic Studies


The UIC Institute for the Humanities celebrates its thirty-sixth year of operation in 2018-2019. Founded in 1983, the Institute is one of the oldest humanities centers in the United States. Over the years the Institute has become the major hub for all humanities activities on campus creating an intellectual space in which faculty and graduate students can broaden their perspectives, conduct original research, and engage with scholars and communities both in and outside the university.

The Institute’s first nine fellows met for seminars in spring 1983 under then Acting Director, Robert Remini. With the support of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the UIC Chancellor, the Institute secured a start-up grant from the Exxon Education Foundation that provided remodeling funds to transform the lower level of Stevenson Hall into the Institute for the Humanities space we use today.

Under the visionary leadership of Robert Remini (1983-87), Gene Ruoff (1987-1997), Mary Beth Rose (1997-2010), and Susan Levine (2011-2017) Institute programs have expanded dramatically. The faculty fellowship program has supported research resulting in major books and articles in the humanities. Faculty Fellows each present a public lecture and participate in regular fellows seminars. In 2011 the Institute, for the first time, offered two dissertation fellowships for advanced graduate students.

The Institute has also supported a wide range of public programs and conferences including “Neoliberalism and its Discontents” (2010), “The Humanities and the Family,” (2009), “Globalism and Film History: A Conference” (2006), and “The Vulnerable Citizen” (2001). Please view this full list of past conferences and programs. In 2000 the Institute initiated a visiting scholar program bringing to campus each year a scholar whose work has transformed the disciplines. Past scholars include Natalie Zemon Davis, Carlo Ginzberg, Michael Fried, Mary Louise Pratt, Manthia Diawara, Cathy Davidson, Houston Baker, and Adolph Reed. A full list of visiting scholars is linked. In 2005 the Institute, along with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, endowed a biennial Lecture in honor of past Dean, Stanley Fish. Past Fish lecturers have been Frederick Jameson, Stephen Greenblatt, and Judith Butler.

Directors encouraged the formation of faculty Working Groups to foster discussion across disciplines and across colleges at UIC. Groups like the Chicago Area Food Working Group (CAFS) and the Health and Society Working Group, for example, include humanities scholars along with researchers from nutrition, public health, and medicine. Other groups such as the Forum for Law, Politics, and the Humanities (FROLPATH), join scholars from Art and Architecture, Anthropology, and Political Science with traditional humanities disciplines like history, literature, and philosophy.

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