Our Work

Formed a century ago, ACLS is a nonprofit federation of 75 scholarly organizations.  As the preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences, ACLS holds a core belief that knowledge is a public good. As such, ACLS strives to promote the circulation of humanistic knowledge throughout society. In addition to stewarding and representing its member organizations, ACLS employs its $140 million endowment and $35 million annual operating budget to support scholarship in the humanities and social sciences and to advocate for the centrality of the humanities in the modern world.

Leadership. Since its founding in 1919, ACLS has provided the humanities and related social sciences with leadership, opportunities for innovation, and national and international representation. President Pauline Yu speaks in the US and abroad on topics vital to scholarship and the academy today. ACLS convenes representatives from across the academic and public humanities for conferences on issues of broad interest to scholarly community, including an annual meeting, meetings and seminars for member society representatives, and commissions and working groups.

Research. ACLS fellows and grantees are engaged in creating new knowledge that benefits our understanding of the world. ACLS continues to be the leading private institution supporting scholars across a variety of humanistic disciplines. In the 2017-18 competition year, ACLS awarded more than $24 million to about 350 scholars worldwide. ACLS’s fellowship and grant competitions provide a range of opportunities for scholars at all career stages (from graduate students to distinguished professors to independent scholars) working with varied disciplines and methodologies in the US and abroad. Major international initiatives include the African Humanities Program, the Center for Educational Exchange with Viet Nam, and The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program In Buddhist Studies global competitions.

Innovation. ACLS has long supported new methods and subjects of humanities scholarship. New fellowship programs address digital humanities, collaborative research, and scholars at work outside the academy. Recent initiatives on scholarly communication include Humanities E-Book, and sponsored publications such as the American National Biography and the Darwin Correspondence Project.

Stewardship. ACLS is a federation of 75 member societies, professional organizations for humanities scholars, and its mission is to strengthen the relationships among them. Each society is concerned with a distinct field of study, but all are involved in the promotion of research, scholarly publication, and education.

The Humanities in Action.

News about ACLS activitiesACLS annual meetings. Talks from President Pauline Yu. Media collection.