The Folger Institute strongly believes that knowledge creation is the product of expansive and diverse intellectual communities, and we take seriously our mission to set agendas and standards for research in the humanities.
The Folger Institute is a center for advanced research in the early modern humanities at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Founded in 1970, the Institute gathers interdisciplinary communities of scholars for collections-based research. The Institute establishes agendas, models best practices, and tests new methods for scholarship. Together with colleagues around the Folger, the Institute seeks to bring public audiences together with scholarly ones as we discover more about the cultures and legacies of the early modern world.
For the Institute—as for the Folger as a whole—the renovation that has now begun changes the circumstances of our work, but not the nature of it. The Institute supports the curiosity-driven hunches that send scholars to the archives for evidence and to the seminar rooms, the tea room, and even the cloak room for discussion and feedback. Institute offerings facilitate the concentrated work of reading and writing, and provide access to modern scholarship, digital resources, and sociable spaces for trial and redirection and recommitment. We take seriously the questions that interrupt received wisdom, exceed easy answers, and open the scope of our understanding of early modernity with all its resonances in our own conflicted world. We have dedicated ourselves to this work at the Folger Shakespeare Library for nearly fifty years. We take this mission on the road with us to work with partners now. We will return stronger soon.
Each year, the Folger Institute awards a number of research fellowships in one annual competition. We welcome applications from scholars holding the PhD, as well as inquiries and applications from curators, librarians, archivists, and creative artists. A funded fellowship will provide sustained time to read, write, and share ideas.
Folger Institute scholarly programs gather advanced scholars—from early stage graduate students to faculty—to work together around specific topics relating to the history and literature of early modern Europe and the British Isles. Program formats include weekend seminars and symposia, weeklong skills courses, and yearlong monthly colloquia, among others. Participant funding is available to support travel and lodging.
The Mellon Initiative in Collaborative Research is designed to re-invigorate deeply rooted forms of humanistic inquiry. With a $1.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Folger Institute sponsors a new model of collaborative research at the Folger. The inaugural project is Before 'Farm to Table': Early Modern Foodways and Cultures.
The Folger Institute creates unique opportunities for scholars from many different career stages to share their works-in-progress in ever-shifting communities of intellectual inquiry. Scholars should read and adhere to this code of professional conduct.
We expect and encourage our scholars—who are also often undergraduate professors—to bring their own and others’ Folger research findings into their classrooms. However, undergraduate students can also access the Folger on their own by applying for special reading privileges or by coming as part of a class visit.