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. 

The 2019–2020 application deadline for Research Clusters is 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

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2015 to 2016

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?

Interpreting Contemporary Violence: Mexico, U.S.

This faculty group of scholars from the humanities and humanistic social sciences will interpret contemporary violence in Mexico-US relations from the perspective of horror as theorized by Hannah Arendt, political theorist; Adriana Cavarero, feminist theorist and political philosopher; and international relations theorists Francois Debrix and Alexander Barder. This cluster will employ the Arendt-Cavarero definition of horror viewed as the annihilation of embodiment as a means of eradicating the humanity of people.

Tricksters and Mindful Heresy: Disrupting the Taken for Granted in Creative Research

This cluster interrogates the notion of creative activity as a form of research method in the arts and humanities. Creatively oriented, or “artistic” research, disrupts taken-for-granted notions of methodological order and efficacy. The notions of "Tricksters and Mindful Heresy"  provide the starting point for a critical examination of the orthodoxy of method and the disruption of its taken-for-granted (dis)orderings of creative inquiry.

2013 to 2014

Material Texts: Histories and Futures

The proposed “Material Texts: Histories and Futures” research cluster aims to unite scholars interested in the study of material texts, broadly defined. This important transdisciplinary field of inquiry encompasses a range of methods and practices that includes (but is by no means limited to) paleography, codicology, manuscript studies, analytical and descriptive bibliography, media and communication studies, textual criticism, and digital humanities.

Theories of Immigration: Policymaking, Transnationalism, Return

Through trans- and interdisciplinary dialogue, participants in this cluster seek to explore the complexities of contemporary U.S. migration and its connections to earlier histories as well as to international developments by engaging the diverse theories and fields that have dealt with this phenomenon.

Local and Global Feminisms and the Politics of Knowledge

Jenny Norton Research Cluster - During the upcoming academic year, the research cluster will continue to focus on theories of intersectionality and feminist knowledge within a global and transnational framework as well as those that acknowledge the continuing importance of the nation-state in the construction of identities, desires, and culture.  In this way, we intend to rigorously theorize the politics of knowledge that we research and teach beyond a primarily US-centered analysis of the relationships of women and communities of color to the nation-state but see these phe

Critical Ethnic Studies in Arizona

Critical ethnic studies seeks to create open dialogues around white supremacy, settler colonialism, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy and develop an approach to scholarship, institution building, and community engagement consistent with the decolonial, antiracist, and other global liberation movements that informed the creation of ethnic studies. We ask: What might an Arizona critical ethnic studies look like in terms of both already existing scholarship, praxis, activism, and pedagogy, and future goals and emerging projects? What do we want it to be, and why? And how do we get there?