IHS is soliciting proposals in support of its Discourse Initiative, a series of conversations—in-person and written—aimed at drawing scholarly attention back to the broad intellectual tradition of liberalism. As part of this initiative, IHS offers faculty grants of $5,000-$25,000 to support major research projects that hold significant promise of advancing a deeper understanding of ideas within the liberal tradition. Areas of interest include but are not limited to:
- Liberalism and Its Critics, including engagement with and response to critiques from both ends of the ideological spectrum.
- Key Challenges within a Free Society, such as tensions between liberty and equality, dynamism and stability, and freedom of speech and social cohesion.
- Cultural Challenges within Liberal Society, such as protections for minority rights, the pace of change in an increasingly digital and globalized world, and the cultural requirements of a tolerant and pluralistic society.
- Contentious Topics within the Liberal Tradition, including negative vs. positive rights, moral obligations within the liberal order, and contested meanings of liberal principles such as justice, equality, and democracy.
- Liberalism in Times of Crisis, including the proper role of government in a crisis and how to balance competing goals, such as public health and safety, with civil liberties, the rule of law, and economic freedom in an emergency.
These grants may be used to underwrite direct expenses; pay research assistants, editors, or other contractors; or buy out time. As a non-profit organization, the Institute for Humane Studies has a policy against supporting institutional overhead or indirect costs when making grants to university scholars.
To be eligible to apply for a major research award from IHS, you must:
- Be employed as a full-time faculty member at a four-year degree granting institution. Preference will be given to institutions based in the United States.
- Possess a strong research interest in or knowledge of liberalism and/or classical liberal scholarship as demonstrated in the proposed research project.
IHS supports a diverse collection of faculty members across a wide range of academic disciplines within the humanities and social sciences. Qualifying fields of study include economics, political science, philosophy, PPE, law, history, sociology, business, psychology, literature, the visual and performing arts, and related disciplines in the social sciences and humanities.
The IHS Impact
The Discourse Initiative Research Grant has supported scholars in the social sciences and humanities. Recent recipients and projects include:
Dr. Michelle Kundmueller
Old Dominion University, Assistant Professor, Political Science & Geography
Project Title: Moderating the Democracy: Atticus Finch, American Legal Rhetoric, and the Prospects for a Rational Republic
Dr. John Thrasher
Chapman University, Assistant Professor, Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy
Project Title: The Open Society: Dynamic Politics and Diversity in Changing Times
Dr. Brandon Turner
Clemson University, Associate Professor of Political Science
Project Title: Conservatism Against Reaction: A Theory of Conservative Social and Political Thought
Dr. Nadia Oweidat
Arkansas State University, Assistant Professor of History
Project Title: Reform and Its Perils in Contemporary Islam: The Case of Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd
Dr. Claudia Williamson
The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Probasco Chair & Professor of Economics
Project Title: : Institutions, Culture and Women's Rights
Dr. Joshua Kleinfeld Jr.
Northwestern University, Professor of Law
Project Title: Democracy as Self-Government
Dr. Robert Audi
University of Notre Dame, Professor of Philosophy
Project Title: Religious Conviction, Democratic Citizenship, and Civic Discourse: Integrating religious liberty with democratic pluralism
Dr. Andrew R. Lewis
University of Cincinnati, Associate Professor of Political Science
Project Title: The Cultural Challenges to Liberalism: Muslim-Christian Relations, Religious Freedom, and Beyond
Dr. Nicholas Buccola
Linfield College, Professor of Political Science
Project Title: Freedom on their Minds: Martin Luther King Jr., Barry Goldwater, and the Battle for the American Soul
Implications for Travel
Given the significant uncertainty around travel due to COVID, IHS will continue to offer travel support via Discourse Initiative Research Grants with the following stipulations:
- For travel-related expenses, we will only issue awards after the activity takes place, and you must complete the originally proposed activity (e.g. if you are receiving funding for travel to a conference, IHS will transfer funds only after the conference has occurred).
Awardees own and assume the risk of any travel-related expenses from cancelled activities (e.g. if your conference has been canceled, we will not pay for any costs or fees associated with modified or canceled flights, room reservations, conference fees, and the like.
Implications for Events
Considering continued uncertainty about the duration of the COVID pandemic and related governmental and institutional guidelines and policies, we will continue to monitor the situation for future IHS-sponsored events. IHS may consider grants for small gatherings that meet all state, local, and university guidelines and policies AND can move online if circumstances change, e.g., a book club or reading group.
Application and Deadlines
September 1, 2021 | Applications for spring 2022 are due.
November 1, 2021 | Decisions announced.
March 1, 2022 | Applications for fall 2022 are due.
May 2, 2022 | Decisions announced.
Applicants will be notified of their application status within four weeks of the deadline. Applications submitted after 11:59 pm PST on the night of each deadline, will be considered in the subsequent review period.
Unsuccessful candidates still seeking funding are encouraged to apply to our other funding opportunities.