Welcome to the 2017-18 academic year. This will be my second year as our Interim Director, and I am sure I share the sense with others that in these times when the culture wars are so visible and their effects are so much the focus of American media and discourse, our commitment to promoting engaged humanities research feels even more urgent and important. The confrontations Americans are witnessing (privately in their homes or when they exercise their first amendment rights to use their voices and bodies in public protest) are the results of historical and structural conditions, ethical and ideological shifts, and representational and linguistic formations that are at the heart of what humanities scholars study. We have always been central to the enterprise of a liberal arts education, but this might be a moment when attention turns to how crucial the humanities are to a democratic society.
This year the IHR will support our scholarly community and highlight the ways in which it produces and preserves wisdom and imagines better futures, exploring and addressing complex social challenges in our own academic disciplines and by collaborating with scientists, social scientists, artists, professionals and community activists and workers. We will highlight the role humanities research has played and will continue to play in more fully and respectfully knowing ourselves and others. I look forward to sharing this important work.