ASU faculty members engage in a year of research related to the annual theme.


The ASU IHR Fellows program provides funding for tenured or tenure-track faculty, as well as to other faculty eligible for a research release. Fellows may apply as individuals or as a team to engage in a year of research related to the annual theme, to share their research with the academic community, and to produce a strong application for an external grant. 

Successful proposals for the Fellows program will outline a rich scholarly project rooted in the humanities that will benefit from interdisciplinary conversations and readings, that has clear and feasible outcomes for the fellowship year, and that has the potential to be funded by outside agencies.

Fellowships provide funds toward one course buyout (in the spring semester) for each faculty member as well as research funds of $2500 per faculty member. 


2019-2020 Theme: Borders and Boundaries

Disciplinary, spatial, ideological, virtual—the boundaries we imagine, construct, and confront are multiple and multi-faceted. Boundaries exclude and include; borders connect and separate. Borders and boundaries are created by states and communities, by institutions and individuals; they shift and change over time. What functions do borders and boundaries serve? Who makes and guards them? Who confronts and crosses them? Who do they serve and who do they limit? How does our current attention to borders and boundaries in this age of globalization reflect new worries and how does it echo old ones? The Institute for Humanities Research invites scholars to propose research projects that address these questions or any others related to the topic of “Borders and Boundaries.”



Fellows Projects

2010-2011: The Humanities and Human Origins
Bridging the New Moral Psychology to Traditional Ethics

Angel Pinillos, Assistant Professor, School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies

The goal of this project is to investigate how this empirical work informs human and philosophical understanding of morality. Some aspects of the project are purely conceptual while others involve carrying out empirical investigations of the sort that is characteristic of the growing area of study known as “experimental philosophy”.
How can the humanities inform the comparative biology of human nature?

Jason Scott Robert, Associate Professor, Center for Biology and Society and School of Life Sciences

This project is aims to explore the epistemological, methodological, and ethical dimensions of what it would mean to take evolution seriously in contemporary neurosciences, and so to reveal the deep secrets of the comparative biology of human nature.
Semiotics of Race: Race and Genomics

Lisa Anderson, Associate Professor, Women and Gender Studies and Theater, School of Social Transformation

This project is a semiotic analysis of scientific discourses of “race,” specifically the Human Genome Project (HGP) and the ways in which this scientific project has been taken up and incorporated into the culture.

The Concept of Nature in Jewish Thought: Origins and Evolution

Hava Tirosh-Samuleson, ASU Professor of History, Director, Center for Jewish Studies
Miriam Lowe, Professor of Modern Judaism

The study explores when the Aristotelian understanding of nature entered Jewish thought and how it shaped Jewish self-understanding. The project highlights the conceptual tension between the Aristotelian understanding of nature and the Jewish belief that God created the world and explains how medieval Jewish philosophers solved the tension. Committed to the methodology of intellectual history, the project explains how philosophic notions of ‘nature’ impacted non-philosophical genres in medieval Judaism such as secular poetry, medical texts, astrological works, or scientific texts. The study further highlights explores how the concept of nature changed overtime, reflecting the shifts from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.
The Human Alien: The Future of the Environmental Humanities

Joni Adamson, Associate Professor, School of Letters and Sciences, Affiliate, School of Sustainability

Focusing on science fiction and film, “Human Aliens” explores two questions: 1) Why are there such baffling and disastrous disconnections between the cognitive awareness of anthropogenic environmental crisis and the generally insignificant alterations in lifestyle that humans seem prepared to make? 2) Can literature and film help move us beyond these disconnections?
A Brief History of Evil – What we learn from the great villains of literature

Lucy Hawking, Visiting Fellow, ASU Origins Project

This seminar starts with a chronological tour of the ways in which the existence of evil has been perceived through the ages.

2009-2010: Utopias, Dystopias, and Social Transformation
Festivals of the Americas: Staging Identity, Politics, and Utopian Performance

Pegge Vissicaro, School of Dance
Tracy Fessenden, Religious Studies, School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies
Rachel Bowditch, School of Theatre and Film

The aim of this project is two-fold. First, to produce a book titled Festivals of the Americas: Staging Identity, Politics, and Utopian Performance which locates the festival or “fiesta” as a site for utopian/dystopian negotiation of identity, politics and nationality in the context of the Americas. While the second goal of this project is to apply for external funding to produce an international conference at Arizona State University on Festivals of the Americas.

Mountains, Wilderness, and Transformation

Anne Feldhaus, Religious Studies, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Megha Budruk, School of Community Resources and Development

This project brings together a natural resource social scientist from the Parks and Recreation Management Program, School of Community Resources & Development, with a Religious Studies scholar from the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies.

From Zoot Suits to Rapumentary: Popular Culture and the Politics of the Possible

Luis Alvarez, History Department, University of California San Diego

From Zoot Suits to Rapumentary explores the popular culture, social movements, and utopian politics of aggrieved communities in the United States, Latin America, Caribbean, and elsewhere since World War II.

Trauma, Time and Technology: Dystopian Visions

Elizabeth Ann Kaplan, The Humanities Institute, Stony Brook University

This project looks at trauma as “culture” within the frameworks of time and related imaging technologies. I theorize three cultural time-zones, but for the Fellowship I focus on trauma future-tense.