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

2011-2012: The Humanities and Immigration, Migration, and Movement
The Experiences of Migrants from the BRIC Countries

Claudia Sadowski-Smith, Department of English
Wei Li, Asian Pacific Studies

The BRIC acronym was coined in 2001 for countries - Brazil, Russia, India, and China - considered to be at a similar stage of newly advanced economic development.This project will help address the lack of comparative studies on U.S. migration by examining the histories and contemporary patterns of BRIC migration and its impact on existing theories of movement, diaspora, race/ethnicity, and trans-nationalism.
Traveling Moralities: Obligations, Materiality and Water in Ceará, Northeast Brazil

Andrea Ballestero, School of Human Evolution and Social Change

Water is the resource that evokes fluidity, movement and circulation par excellence. With all of its intrinsic resemblance to movement it is perplexing that liberal forms of obligation that derive from the law have not been able to incorporate fluidity and circulation.This project aims to study the role of mobility and materiality in the creation of the Water Pact and explore the meaning of moral obligations when they are created through fluid and circulating mechanisms.
Central Americans in the US: The Politics of Belonging and Non-Belonging

Yajaira M. Padilla, Assistant Professor, Spanish and Portuguese, The University of Kansas

This project makes humanities-based concerns - national belonging and exclusion, questions of social justice, and the construction of ethnic and cultural identities - central to broader contemplations of immigration, migration and movement.

Of Borders and Belonging: Toward a Politics of Citizenship at the Crossroads of America

Sujey Vega, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Sam Houston State University

Dr. Vega's recent research illustrates how Mexican residents claimed an ethnic sense of belonging during contemporary immigrant antagonism in local and national contexts. This project illustrates the on-the-ground consequences of heightened politicized rhetoric through an analysis of interview accounts, historical narratives, media discourses, and religious ritual performances from 2004 to 2007.
2010-2011: The Humanities and Human Origins
The Origins of Leprosy as a Physical Disease and Social Condition in Medieval Western Europe

Monica H. Green, School of Historical, Religious and Philosophical Studies
Rachel E. Scott, School of Human Evolution and Social Change

This project aims to synthesize the paleopathological/microbiological and historical narratives to examine how understandings of leprosy were formulated in medieval Western Europe, both in terms of explaining it as a physical disease and in developing social mechanisms to deal with it. In doing so, our project will illuminate the origins of social stigma, especially in relation to disease. .
Africa, Christianity and Anthropology: The Debate over Africa’s Role in Human Origins

Andrew Barnes, Associate Professor, School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies

The goal of this research project is to assess the results of the debate and its effect on both the scholarly and the popular understandings of Africa’s role in the birth of human civilization.
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.