I want to reach out to the community of Friends and Fellows, Presenters and Collaborators, Attendees and Sojourners who make the Institute for the Humanities a place celebrating the role of the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences in the academy and the world.

The Institute dedicates itself to projecting the heterogeneous values of humanistic inquiry and exchange. We gather here artists, scholars, and community members willing to engage what has been thought and created and done, in violence and radical renunciation, in the rapture of belief and the cool of disbelief, amid the frenzy of the crowd and the quiet of solitude, in the name of the past and the aspiration of tomorrow. Willing to reanimate the past, observe the present, and project possible futures, by means of profligate curiosity, ardent receptivity, and incisive critique. Willing to listen for the profligacy and urgency of storytelling, epic and episodic, raw and highly stylized, fictive and documentary, historical and ethnographic, syncretic and disruptive. Willing to reflect on systems of value, in politics and the academy, in aesthetics and material cultures. Willing to upend thought, reflect on thinking, and rethink the meaning attached to the “the human” and “the humanities.”

In programming and exhibit activities, we seek out opportunities to project our values of inclusivity, collaboration, disruption, surprise, and capacious diversity. In our venues people model the sociality of invested engagement, genuine openness to the uncomfortable and overlooked, serious debate and dissent. We recognize the greater good of distributed expertise, the pursuit not of one kind of knowledge but the many routes and networks of knowledge production.

We welcome, everyday humanists and experts across the disciplines; undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and the broader Ann Arbor community. Bring us your programming ideas, collaborate with us to ensure that we are achieving our goal of advancing the work of the humanities collectively and collaboratively. Contact us at humin@umich.edu.

Sidonie Smith
Mary Fair Croushore Professor
Director, Institute for the Humanities
University of Michigan