Inter-Institutional Collaboration

Humanities Without Walls

Funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and based at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, Humanities Without Walls aims to create new avenues for collaborative research, teaching, and the production of scholarship in the humanities, forging and sustaining areas of inquiry that cannot be created or maintained without cross-institutional cooperation.

2018 "The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate" Projects
2017 "The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate" Projects

As a metaphor, climate change is pluripotent: it offers humanists the opportunity to think expansively about the meanings of “climate” and “change” as they manifest in their own research, and to bring their contributions to bear on cognate questions in the present. Thus “The Work of Humanities in a Changing Climate” also hails scholars who wish to consider the pressure of other forms of contemporary “climate change” on their fields of inquiry—from a changing racial climate to a changing economic climate to the changing notion of “the public” and what it means for the intellectual work environments of humanists.

The Humanities without Walls consortium invites applications for funding from cross-institutional teams of faculty and graduate students wishing to collaboratively pursue research topics related to “The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate.” Proposals should include a detailed Graduate Humanities Lab Practicum experience for graduate students.

  • Intent-to-Apply emails from UW-Madison scholars should be sent to Megan Massino by October 1, 2017
  • Submit proposals to Humanities Without Walls through the Application Portal by October 31, 2017, 5:00 PM, Central Time
UW-Madison Specific Criteria

UW-Madison faculty who intend to submit a proposal or are part of an inter-institutional team submitting a proposal should send an email indicating your intent to apply, the title of your project, your external partners, and the total amount of funding you intend to apply for to Megan Massino ( at the Center for the Humanities by October 1, 2017.

Please note also that all applications must have a record in UW-Madison’s WISPER system and be vetted by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs prior to submission. If you intend to apply you should immediately get in contact with Kelly Mallon, Research Administrator for the College of Letters & Science, contact information below:

Kelly Mallon
Research Administrator
College of Letters & Science Research Services
University of Wisconsin-Madison
PH: 608/890-3044 email:


Applicants may propose research designed to serve public policy or other applied outcomes, though this is not required. Proposals that deal with climate change and research that explores more metaphoric meanings of “changing climate” are equally welcome as long as they are interdiscjplinary and intentionally collaborative. In other words, scholars invested in “The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate” research initiative can pursue specifically environmental studies topics or they can choose to interpret climate change broadly across range of times and places. Above all, applications should nominate a clear and concise research problem and make a persuasive case for the cross-institutional partnerships involved.

Please review the full Request for Proposals for information on proposal components, eligibility, budget, and other guidance.

A full list of currently funded projects can be found here.


This 2014-2016 project linked consortial partners in a common commitment to research and dialogue around a set of important, mutually articulated problems of broad public interest. Its principal long-term objectives were to reveal and rethink the Midwest as a major force in this century’s global economy and culture for scholars, policy-makers, government officials, social scientists, and an enlightened public and to demonstrate how the “applied humanities,” through collaborations of artists, scholars in the humanities, and scientists (both social and natural), can contribute to the work on grand intellectual challenges.

2014 Seed Grants
Before issuing its first call for Global Midwest proposals, the Humanities Without Walls consortium gave a small seed award to each of the fifteen campuses in the consortium. These awards were intended to stimulate and support the development of collaborative research projects on the broad theme of the “Global Midwest.” The UW-Madison Center for the Humanities granted seed awards to the following projects:

The Asian American Midwest and Mapping the Global Hmong
Ian Baird (Geography)
Victor Jew (Asian American Studies)
Lori Kido Lopez (Communication Arts)
Timothy Yu (English and Asian American Studies)

Living with Waste: New Global Economies in the Midwest
Sarah A. Moore (Geography)
Robert Roth (Geography)

Vernaculars of the Global Midwest
Anna Andrzejewski (Art History)
Jeanette Casey (Music Library)
Susan Cook (School of Music)
Jim Leary (Folklore and Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures)
Thomas Purnell (English)
Eric Raimy (English)
Joe Salmons (German)

2015 Inter-Consortium Projects

A History of World Music Recording
Ronald Radano, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Philip V. Bohlman, University of Chicago (PI)
Harry Liebersohn, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
James H. Nye, University of Chicago

Hmong Memory at the Crossroads
Ian Baird, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Safoi Babana-Hampton, Michigan State University (PI)
Michael Rothberg, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Mai Na Lee, University of Minnesota
Catherine Perry, University of Notre Dame
Swarnavel Eswaran-Pillai, Michigan State University
Marsha MacDowell, Michigan State University
Charles Keith, Michigan State University
Marjan Helms, Michigan State University

The Importance of the Last Generation: Midwest Heritage German Speakers
Joseph C. Salmons, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Michael T. Putnam, Penn State University (PI)

The Midwaste: Midwestern Wasteways and Global Futures
Sarah A. Moore, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Andrew Herscher, University of Michigan (PI)
Anne Berg, University of Michigan
Gabrielle Hecht, University of Michigan
Stephanie Foote, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Zsuzsa Gille, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Phaedra C. Pezzullo, Indiana University
Sam Grabowska, University of Michigan

2016 Inter-Consortium Projects

A Comparative Study of the Great Lakes and the Jordan Valley: Articulating Water Needs, the Right to Water, and Water Sovereignty in the Quest for Water Justice

Samer Alatout, University of Wisconsin Madison
Rachel Havrelock, University of Illinois at Chicago (PI)
Stephen Gasteyer, Michigan State University

The New Ethics of Food
Robert Streiffer, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jesse Steinberg, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Gretel Van Wieren, Michigan State University (PI)
Paul Thompson, Michigan State University
Kyle Powys Whyte, Michigan State University
Christopher Long, Michigan State University
Laurie Thorp, Michigan State University
Dean Rehberger, Michigan State University
Stephen Rachman, Michigan State University
Helen Zoe Veit, Michigan State University
Thomas Padilla, Michigan State University
Zachary Piso, Michigan State University Nancy
Tuana, Pennsylvania State University
Robert Livingston, Ohio State University
Gregory Hitzhusen, Ohio State University

Performing History: Documenting and Enacting the Asian American Midwest
David Furumoto, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Timothy Yu, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Victor Jew, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ji-Yeon Yuh, Northwestern University (PI)

About the Humanities Without Walls Consortium

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded approximately $7,200,000 to the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to fund six years of an extensive consortium of fifteen humanities institutes in the Midwest and beyond. By leveraging the strengths of multiple distinctive campuses, the consortium, titled Humanities Without Walls (HWW), aims to create new avenues for collaborative research, teaching, and the production of scholarship in the humanities, forging and sustaining areas of inquiry that cannot be created or maintained without cross-institutional cooperation. Read more at http://www.humanitieswithoutwa...