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.

Review application guidelines


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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.

2012 to 2013

A Jenny Norton Research Cluster: Latina Feminisms

This research cluster, supported in part by a gift from the Reverend Jenny Norton, is designed to re-familiarize the participants with some of the classic works of Latina feminist theory, and to also read important new works with an ultimate goal of invigorating our scholarship and to develop research collaborations across Schools, Colleges, and disciplines at ASU. The collaborative nature of the research cluster format will enable lively discussion about some important texts, and also to develop deeper understanding of Latina feminist theory. 

Integrating Personal Narrative with Scholarly Writing: Exploring Strategies in Creative Non-Fiction

The purpose of this research cluster is to examine ways of making academic writing more meaningful for a wide public as well as for ourselves as scholars and publishing artists.

Within many disciplines in the humanities there remains a strong expectation to produce academic writing that is presented in a detached manner, making extensive reference to existing theories as a means for justification, and often using esoteric jargon of the field. Such writing is expected for tenure purposes, and is believed to be of a higher order than other modes of communication.

Premodern Text East and West

This research cluster represents the first time that ASU scholars of premodern literature and culture in the European and Asian languages will come together as a group to discuss their respective fields in a comparative manner.

Beyond Tolerance: Pluralism's History in Islam

This project aims to spend the 2012-13 academic year undertaking intensive historical and ethnographic readings on how Muslims negotiate pluralism through postcolonial disruptions, nation-state formations, and emergent urban cosmopolitanisms.

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.

Lived Democracy: Inventing Alternative Public Discourses in a Quintessential Postmodern City

In this research cluster, colleagues from the Department of English and the School of Public Affairs/ Public Administration will consider together how international scholarship and ASU’s design aspirations as a New American University can speak to this significant challenge posed by diverse groups naming, framing and deliberating over common concerns.

Latin America Issues: Material Conditions, Violence, Human Rights, and Cultural Productions

This research cluster provides a forum to disseminate groundbreaking research and cultural production, but more importantly, a venue to network across schools, colleges, and campuses, in an attempt to engage in more focused inter and transdisciplinary proposals which may become seed grants.
2011 to 2012

Creative Inquiry Research & Practice: Catalyst for Social Change

This year the goal of this Reseach Cluster is to continue to establish connections between the diverse areas of our investigation and practice, thereby building upon common areas of exploration. The purpose is to gather together in order to experience each other’s creative processes, share philosophical and theoretical resources, and lines of questioning in-practice, thereby growing our understanding of each others’ creative inquiry, its impact and stimulus for social change, and furthering transdisciplinary research possibilities.

Social Innovation and Community Development

This cluster will focus on cooperatives as innovative ways to foster community development in their efforts in 2012. You are invited to attend a seminar on February 7, where Victor Pestoff, Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Civil Society Studies at Ersta Sköndal University College in Stockholm, Sweden, will present on the topic.