Dear Colleagues,

7373911328_827d5a0bee_oI am pleased to announce the establishment of the Center for International Social Science Research, an initiative in the Division of the Social Sciences designed to promote the study of large-scale questions of global importance. Dan Slater, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, will be the Center’s founding faculty director.

The establishment of the Center for International Social Science Research is based on the recommendations of Divisional faculty, following several years of work and discussion with colleagues across the Division and throughout the University. The Center will invite research proposals from faculty in the social sciences whose research—alone or in collaboration with colleagues across the Division and elsewhere in the University—addresses fundamental challenges in international and global affairs. In addition to financial and logistical support, the Center will be a locus and community for cross-disciplinary inquiry, providing a fertile environment for the study of questions whose import may well transcend any single discipline, method, region, or time span.

The Center for International Social Science Research succeeds the Center for International Studies (CIS). Established fifty years ago, CIS helped catalyze the integration of international perspectives into the University’s graduate and undergraduate programs. The successes of those efforts are visible today in many curricular and pedagogic programs, from the strength of our library collections and diversity of our language offerings to the richness of undergraduate opportunities such as the Program on the Global Environment, the International Studies major, and the breadth of Civilizations Studies options, to name a few. At the same time that these programs have become integral to the University’s offerings, the research needs of our faculty have grown dramatically over the past decade as many fundamental questions in the social sciences have become global in scale. The new Center for International Social Science Research will meet these needs by supporting faculty research projects, providing funding and administrative support to set new research agendas, pilot new methods, and integrate new perspectives through deeper collaboration with scholars from across campus and around the world.

We are especially indebted to the faculty committee co-chaired by Brodwyn Fischer and Maggie Penn, and the work of Kaushik Sunder Rajan, Jenny Trinitapoli, Paul Staniland, Dali Yang, Mark Bradley, John Mearsheimer, Kathleen Morrison, and Larry Norman, who were charged with articulating a vision capable of supporting the Division’s continued research leadership in international and global affairs.

The Center for International Social Science Research will be introduced to the faculty more fully in the winter quarter, including a forthcoming call for faculty research proposals and a town-hall meeting with the center’s Director and Faculty Advisory Board, which includes Jenny Trinitapoli, Emily Lynn Osborn, Paul Poast, and Luis Martinez.  I very much look forward to collaborating with Dan, the advisory board, and all of you to build what I trust will be a valuable instrument for your work.

Warm regards,

David Nirenberg

Dean, The Division of the Social Sciences