Promoting collaborative research on ideas central to the pressing issues of our time.

Annual Conference


Please note: This program will be suspended as of Summer 2024. No new applications for funding will be taken at this time.

We invite University Park humanities faculty to suggest a conference theme, with proposed speakers, schedule, partners, and budget. Applications that demonstrate coordinating collaboration between departments/fields will be given special consideration. Faculty members are required to meet with HI Director John Christman and Associate Director Lauren Kooistra in order to determine fit and funding possibilities prior to application. Please email to arrange for an appointment. Only applications that have received prior consultation and have substantially planned proposals will be considered.

The purpose of this funding is to support the fruition of a modest conference held at Penn State under the rubric of the annual Humanities Institute Conference (i.e., 7-10 planned speakers, or a call for papers with keynote). The HI will consider requests up to $10-15,000 to support the conference, but we expect faculty hosts will solicit additional funding from their home department and other sources to support the cost of the entire event.

We will consider conferences proposed for 2024-2025 or for 2025-2026 if more advanced planning is needed or special anniversaries or dates mark the significance of the event.

Conference topics may be in any area of humanities research, including interdisciplinary collaborations with other fields. Specialized research topics with focused appeal are welcome, but special consideration will be given to events with broader community appeal and especially to those that involve interdepartmental collaboration.

HI Staff will support accepted proposals by working with the faculty hosts and their home departments to arrange organizational details (such as some if not all travel/lodging, venue, and catering arrangements), and creating and disseminating publicity materials. Specific terms will be arranged in consultation with the HI team, and as specified in the final proposal acceptance agreement.

Proposal Requirements

Up to 5 pages; submit as one document

  • Briefly introduce the organizers
  • Briefly explain the conference theme and importance, both to specialized faculty and the broader humanities (and university) community
  • Provide a general outline of proposed schedule of events, possible speakers, intended audience, etc. It is particularly helpful if the organizers can specify which parts of the conference the HI might support (such as a public facing keynote lecture), if not the conference in whole.
  • Include an approximate budget of anticipated costs, as well as other possible sources of funding
  • Additionally: A brief statement of support from appropriate Department Heads should be emailed to with the subject line “Faculty Invites Support”