Founded in 1970 as a unique collaborative endeavor of the Folger Shakespeare Library and two Washington-area universities, the Folger Institute is a dedicated center for advanced study and collections-focused research in the humanities at the Folger Shakespeare Library. The Institute fosters targeted investigations of the world-class Folger collection. Through its multi-disciplinary, cross-cultural formal programs and residential research fellowships, the Institute gathers knowledge communities and establishes fresh research and teaching agendas for early modern humanities. Its advanced undergraduate program introduces students to rare materials and the research questions that can be explored with those materials. Plans are also underway to organize larger scale, collaborative research initiatives. This new aggregation was launched at the Folger in 2013.
The work of the Institute in all its many parts has been generously supported by endowments from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, program and fellowship grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the sustaining memberships of the universities of the Institute's consortium, and support from a variety of other sources. The Folger Institute helps set the intellectual agenda for early modern humanities. Through their interpretations of primary source materials, its associated scholars bring to light important issues from early modernity that still resonate today.
The Institute collaborates with a number of early modern scholars around the globe. Whenever possible, the fruits of these collaborations are provided gratis in order to foster scholarly conversations.
The Institute funds advanced, residential research fellowships at the Folger Shakespeare Library. The Library, which opened in 1932, offered its first fellowships in 1935; the current, more extensive, and more senior fellowships initiative had its start in 1984. The Mellon Foundation, the NEH, and the Folger support long-term fellowships. An independently awarded ACLS Burkhardt fellowship is also available annually. Several Folger endowment funds support short-term fellowships. The Folger also collaborates with the Renaissance Society of America, the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, and the American Historical Association to offer short-term fellowships.
Previous Folger Institute long-term fellows
- 2014–2015 long-term fellows
- 2013–2014 long-term fellows
- 2012–2013 long-term fellows
- 2011–2012 long-term fellows
- 2010–2011 long-term fellows
- 2009–2010 long-term fellows
- 2008–2009 long-term fellows
Short Term Fellows
Previous Folger Institute short-term fellows
- 2014–2015 short-term fellows
- 2013–2014 short-term fellows
- 2012–2013 short-term fellows
- 2011–2012 short-term fellows
- 2010–2011 short-term fellows
- 2009–2010 short-term fellows
- 2008–2009 short-term fellows
Now in its fifth decade, the Institute’s consortium of member universities has grown from the local to the regional to the international; it includes more than 40 leading colleges and universities. Generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and other sources augments the consortium’s program planning. An annual slate of seminars, conferences, and workshops explores the many fields represented in the Folger Shakespeare Library collections. Specialized Centers for the Study of Shakespeare and the History of British Political Thought focus programming in those fields.
Center for Shakespeare Studies
The Center for Shakespeare Studies was founded in 1986 with an NEH grant. The Center's first premise is that no single critical approach, historical perspective, scholarly method, or pedagogical strategy can do justice to Shakespeare's texts and contexts. The Center presents and encourages a wide variety of approaches to its subject. Generous support from the NEH has funded many Center programs and ensured that the Center's reach extends to college teachers across the country. Numerous NEH summer institutes, two groundbreaking year-long performance institutes, and conferences have been among the highlights of the Center's offerings.
Center for the History of British Political Thought
In 1984, a National Endowment for the Humanities grant established the Folger Institute Center for the History of British Political Thought. In 1996, an endowment from Dr. Barbara Taft assured its future. Further gifts and a bequest from Dr. Taft have strengthened its position. Since the Center's creation by J.G.A. Pocock, Lois G. Schwoerer, and Gordon J. Schochet, its Steering Committee has fostered a number of different agendas in British Political Thought. Through a series of carefully plotted seminars, conferences, and publications, it has re-mapped the main patterns of discourse in a major political culture over three seminal centuries. The Institute maintains a complete list of all Center programs and publications.
We expect and encourage our scholars—who are also often undergraduate professors—to bring their own and others’ Folger research findings into their classrooms. With this purpose in mind, the Institute provides [[::Category:Bibliography|bibliographies]] and primary sourcebooks, and maintains a list of other web resources for faculty to use in teaching. However, undergraduate students can also access the Folger on their own. They can apply for special reading privileges at the Folger to do their own research here. Undergraduate students can also explore the Folger and its collections through class tours and the Amherst Undergraduate Fellowship Program.
To browse the Folger Institute's upcoming seminars, conferences, and talks, click here.