Research Clusters

Faculty-driven collaborative research. 


The IHR facilitates and supports diverse Research Clusters at ASU. Our aim is to assist research and communication among scholars and to enrich the intellectual climate of the university. The Research Clusters frequently serve as an entry point for faculty engaging with the IHR. They should support activities related to the IHR mission to:

  • foster innovative interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research
  • examine today’s most important issues from humanistic perspectives
  • promote and support excellence in humanities scholarship
  • engage the university community in meaningful dialogue and exploration

The Jenny Norton Cluster on Women

The Reverend Jenny Norton has provided funding to support an annual Research Cluster in the Institute for Humanities Research. The Norton fund is designed to stimulate research on women in any field and on any topic. Gender scholars are encouraged to apply for the Norton Award by proposing an appropriate topic for an IHR Research Cluster that will promote research and communication among ASU scholars and enrich the intellectual climate of the university. 

Apply now

Deadline: March 12th, 2018

2018-19 Research Cluster Application Guidelines:

2018-19 Research Cluster Application Form:


Asian Americans and Mental Health

Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the United States (21 million according to U.S. Census, 2016). Despite this, Asian America’s diverse experiences remain invisible as a result of the “model minority” myth, the perception that they are stress and problem-free. This project employs the concept of intersectionality with literary and artistic interpretations of the Asian American experience to the field of psychology to ask: How can the humanities and social sciences make visible Asian America’s unique and diverse risks and resilience in mental health?

Food and well-being in the Anthropocene

The Food and well-being in the Anthropocene research cluster will bring together environmental historians, philosophers, and food systems scientists in order to develop new research on the relationship between human well-being and global food systems. The participants will consider recent research in history of industrial agriculture and related food systems, the ethics of various food systems over time, the changing role of local food, and what constitutes a sustainable food system today.

Mindfulness and Social Justice

For this research cluster, we seek to bring together colleagues from across the university who share an interest in mindfulness and social justice to engage in collective dialogue on how to bridge these two realms in our intellectual thinking, critical engagement with the world, and personal, everyday practices. Our proposed research cluster has two foci: 

Radical Feminism, Sexuality, and Resistance

This research cluster highlights the interplay between radical feminist thought—that is, the political project of going to the roots of gendered inequalities—alongside sexuality and political resistance.  We look at marginalized groups and ideologies (e.g., indigenous rights, radical environmentalism) and we make unexpected connections among allies (e.g., radical feminist men, heterosexual allies for LGBT rights) as a way to deconstruct hierarchies around how radical feminism, sexuality, and resistance are conceptualized within the academy.  We are specifically interested in interrogating (


Global Cultures of the Modern, 1750-1850

This research cluster brings together scholars from units across ASU whose work focuses on the period 1750-1850 to explore connections, convergences, and contradictions in our understanding of what it means to be modern. Even in our current post-modern (or post-post-modern) era, westerners still define themselves, their world, and the challenges they face in relationship to a concept of the modern which is based on the western experience from 1750 to 1850. In the west, this period marks the transition into the modern age.

Gender and Sport

This research cluster will help to establish ASU as a leader in the study of sport in the humanities. The study of sport and the study of gender both require transdisciplinarity and a foundation of knowledge grounded in the humanities to peel off the layers of social and cultural meanings held by a society.

Embodied Cognition in Performance

This research cluster will examine current research in performance theory, phenomenology, cognitive psychology, and the neuroscience of movement in order to develop a fuller understanding of the role that motion and proprioception plays in cognitive and affective processes. In launching an interdisciplinary, collaborative think tank focused on embodiment, they seek to lay the theoretical groundwork for collaborative research and pilot an experimental study.

Consuming the Other

This transdisciplinary and collaborative research cluster will explore how people engage with representations of otherness through the act of consumption. Participants will study the intersection of art and food, public festivals and race, class and ethnicity, and national identity and immigration.

Listening to Refugees: Engaging with Arizona Refugee Communities

English-learning represents a central need for refugee integration into US society and is an area where ASU has substantial expertise. However, ASU faculty need to listen closely to refugee communities in order to better understand their experiences, present situation, and how to shape educational opportunity to meet specific communal needs. This research cluster will bring refugee community representatives and activists to ASU in order to learn educational, cultural, and economic situations.

2015 to 2016

American Studies Research Cluster

This research cluster builds on the successful work we have been doing in our 2014-2015 American Studies research cluster, through a new focus on making connections between the humanities and social sciences. The American Studies MA program will welcome our first cohort of students this fall, and the new iteration of the research cluster will be valuable in terms of building a vibrant intellectual community in this field.

Image credit: © Matt Garcia

Human Energy Futures

This research cluster will establish at ASU one of the foremost interdisciplinary US research communities in the humanities focused on energy. It will build the foundations and capacity to support long-term excellence in humanities research and scholarship and to secure significant external funding support. Within its work, it will focus on a number of key themes, each seeking to identify how the humanities can help illuminate and inform the discussion and design of future human communities and the energy systems at their heart.

2014 to 2015

Gendering Psychopathology and Contagion

As the Jenny Norton 2014-15 IHR Research Cluster we will plan and implement a research symposium next year on "Gendering Psychopathology and Contagion."  This will be an inclusive, transdisciplinary examination on the complicated topics of madness, contagion, pathology, and the gendered aspects of "disorders."  The symposium will be a springboard to working on an edited collection based on the work presented at ASU West campus.  This event is currently scheduled for Friday, October 23, 2015 and will include researchers both within and outside of the ASU community, including u

American Studies Research Cluster

The IHR American Studies research cluster brings together American Studies scholars to discuss the interdisciplinary field of American Studies and how it engages in understanding the various meanings of the United States as a nation state, an empire, a collectivity of diverse communities, an ideological construction, a producer of popular ideas and images that circulate globally, and a nation that has considerable influence worldwide. Participants will discuss key concepts in American Studies and how these concepts influence their own research and methodologies.

Animal Studies

Animal Studies considers the cultural implications of the ways we dwell with non-humans. This interdisciplinary group will look at foundational and recent work in this subfield of cultural studies as a starting point for building cross-disciplinary, cross-campus research on animals which would fundamentally include an arts and humanities perspective. Key questions for the group are how animals matter, which animals, and who decides? Additional questions include how animals are managed and represented and what is lost in current configurations?