The Louise W. and Edmund J. Kahn Liberal Arts
Institute supports collaborative research among Smith College faculty, students and
visiting scholars without regard to the traditional boundaries of departments, programs
and academic divisions. Each year the Institute supports long-term (i.e., yearlong) and short-term
projects proposed, planned and organized by members of the Smith College faculty.
Fellows participating in long-term
research projects meet weekly throughout the semester or the year to develop their research and to
critique one another's work-in-progress from the perspective of their own disciplines
and intellectual interests. In addition to these discussions, the Fellows of each
project may invite visitors to participate in the research colloquia and in public
events that are open to the academic community and the broader community of western
Short-term projects (such as weekend workshops,
debates, sounding boards, etc.) provide new contexts for Smith College faculty to
explore topics of common intellectual concern that bear on their own research, and
may serve as seeds for future long-term projects.
The idea of a liberal arts institute at Smith was first proposed by a group of faculty
members during Smith College's 1997 self-study as an innovative way to provide intellectual
(as well as physical) "space" within the College for the scholarly development
of the faculty. An imaginatively designed and managed institute, outside the curriculum
but creatively linked to it, would provide a setting in which faculty, along with
students and outside experts, could collaborate on research projects of broad scope.
In addition, a rich series of public events related to these projects would enhance
the intellectual life of the college.
A generous bequest from Louise Wolff Kahn (1910-95),
Smith '31, substantially augmenting the Louise W. and Edmund J. Kahn Fund for Faculty
Excellence, made it possible to establish the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute in early
1998. The Institute's permanent quarters
on the third floor of Neilson Library opened in September 2000.
"Participating as a Faculty Fellow in the Kahn Project organized by Lois Dubin and Alice Hearst, Marriage and Divorce, was one of the most intellectually rewarding experiences of my academic career. I was able to break ground on a long-standing research interest in African-American folklore and the values and attitudes toward love and marriage as reflected in that lore. The opportunity to engage in the interdisciplinary exploration of multiple aspects of marriage and divorce was phenomenal."
Lecturer in Afro-American Studies & Ombudsperson
Marriage & Divorce (2006-2007)
The following links provide access to information that may be useful to visitors to the Kahn Institute. We hope you find them helpful in planning for your visit, but if you need any additional information, please contact our office by calling 413. 585.3721 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.