About Us

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Our Mission

The Institute for Humanist Studies is committed to information and practices meant to address the socio-political, economic and cultural challenges facing communities within the United States and within a global context. At The Institute for Humanist Studies we view humanism as having the moral imperative to extend the circle of justice, caring and concern to all. 

What is Humanism?

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity. Areas of Focus While IHS will begin its work within the context of a small set of issues, the major themes and sub-categories might grow to include but not be limited to:

  1. Politics
  2. Social Advancement
  3. Religion and Spirituality
  4. Economics
  5. Global humanism
  6. Sciences and Medical Developments
  7. Energy and the Environment
  8. Culture and Cultural Production

Social Change

Current political and cultural developments within the United States have resulted in new opportunities for and altered attitudes towards humanists and humanism-based enterprises.  A clear symbol of this shift is captured by the inclusion of non-theistic orientations in President Obama’s inaugural speech.  A new openness to the full scope of belief and practice in the United States became a subject of public conversation, and now is the time to maximize the potential marked by the President’s inclusiveness.    We are at this moment in history presented with opportunity to forge new collaborations, intellectual synergies, and community outreach meant to enhance the welfare of human communities in the United States and beyond. 

Our Leadership

Dr. Anthony B. Pinn, Research Director

Anthony Pinn, director of research for the Institute, holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University.  He taught at Macalester College (St. Paul, MN) before becoming the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University. He is also the founding director of the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning at Rice. He is the author/editor of thirty books, including By The Hands: A Documentary of African American Humanism (2001); African American Humanist Principles: Living and Thinking Like the Children of Nimrod (2004); and, The End of God-Talk:  An African American Humanist Theology (2012).  In 2006, he was honored to be the Harvard University Humanist Chaplaincy “Humanist of the Year.”  In 1999, he received the African American Humanist Award from the Council for Secular Humanism.

                   

Anthony Pinn

MEET OUR FELLOWS

The Institute also hosts a stellar group of Fellows.  The Fellows comprise the core of the Institute’s research division and whose expertise and insights will help shape both the information and modes of practice we are able to provide the larger humanist movement.  The Institute currently hosts seven Fellows, with the goal of expanding this number.

  • Dr. Peter Derkx

    Dr. Peter Derkx

    Fellow

    Professor of Humanism and Worldviews at the University of Humanistics (Utrecht, Netherlands). His main fields of interest are the theory of humanism as a worldview, and science, technology and meanings of life.

  • Dr. Sikivu Hutchison

    Dr. Sikivu Hutchison

    Fellow

    Editor of blackfemlens.org. She is a leading figure in African-American humanism and a popular blogger and speaker, and a commentator for KPFK 90.7 FM.

  • Dr. Monica Miller

    Dr. Monica Miller

    Fellow

    Assistant Professor of Religion and Africana Studies at Lehigh University. Among other publications, she is the author of Religion and Hip Hop.

  • Dr. Sharon Welch

    Dr. Sharon Welch

    Fellow

    Internationally known scholar with award winning work related to issue of social ethics and culture. She is currently Provost and Professor of Religion and Society at Meadville Lombard Theological School.