The fund is designed to encourage innovation and scholarship on enduring questions in the humanities.
Funding is awarded to projects aimed at the advancement of a discipline through the development of new ideas, conferences and technologies, or to a major piece of scholarly work. Proposers can request up to $50,000 for projects lasting up to two years.
Most people think of the Enlightenment as a historical era when Western civilization underwent an intellectual, cultural and political transformation, emphasizing reason over religion and tradition.
Sophie Gee and Sarah Rivett, both associate professors of English, will bring together leading scholars across fields and disciplines to discuss the Enlightenment as a complex, global phenomenon that has had lasting impacts on religion, race, and geographic and cultural diversity.
Speakers will consider how the Enlightenment took shape in not only in the West but also in the Middle East, Asia-Pacific regions, the Americas and India.
The ultimate goal is to use studies of the Global Enlightenment to understand our present civilization, particularly the pressing issue of how religious fundamentalism competes with and interrupts our understanding of enlightened modernity.