Formed a century ago, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is a nonprofit federation of 81 scholarly organizations. As the leading representative of American scholarship in the humanities and interpretive social sciences, ACLS upholds the core principle that knowledge is a public good. In supporting its member organizations, ACLS utilizes its endowment and $37 million annual operating budget to expand the forms, content, and flow of scholarly knowledge, reflecting our commitment to diversity of identity and experience. ACLS collaborates with institutions, associations, and individuals to strengthen the evolving infrastructure for scholarship. In all aspects of our work, ACLS is committed to principles and practices in support of racial and social justice.

The American Council of Learned Societies was founded to support the free circulation of knowledge, on the belief that deep understanding of human thought and action is a key part of creating a just and peaceful world. ACLS President Joy Connolly


For more than a century, ACLS has provided the humanities and interpretive social sciences with leadership, opportunities for innovation, and national and international representation. The ACLS president speaks and provides thought leadership in the US and abroad on topics vital to scholarship and the academy today. ACLS also regularly convenes top scholars, educators, administrators, and thought leaders to collaborate on ways to continue the advancement of humanistic scholarship at the ACLS annual meetingmeetings and seminars for member societies, and commissions and working groups such as the Intention Foundry, made possible by a grant from the Mellon Foundation, and Design Workshop for a New Academy, made possible by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.


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 and providing a range of opportunities for scholars at all career stages – from graduate students to distinguished professors to independent scholars – in the US and abroad.


ACLS has a long history of supporting new methods and subjects of humanistic scholarship. Since 2020, ACLS has launched a host of new programs designed to meet the needs of today’s academy and the PhDs it serves. These include the Leading Edge Fellowships, which demonstrate the potential of humanistic knowledge and methods to solve problems, build capacity, and advance justice and equity in society; Emerging Voices Fellowships, which focused on the vanguard of scholars whose voices, perspectives, and broad visions will strengthen institutions of higher education and humanistic disciplines in the years to come; Sustaining Public Engagement Grants, which supported programs devoted to the co-creation of knowledge with diverse communities outside academia; and the Buddhism Public Scholars, which bolster the capacity of museums and publications in Buddhist art and thought across all traditions and regions in which Buddhism is practiced.


The 81 scholarly organizations of the federation each represent distinct fields of study. All are dedicated to producing and promoting knowledge through strong, collaborative efforts as members of the American Council of Learned Societies.