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About the Institute


Kahn Liberal Arts Institute

21 Henshaw Avenue
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-3721
Fax: 413-585-4294
Photo of the Kahn Institute building

A group of faculty members proposed the idea of a liberal arts institute as an innovative way to provide intellectual as well as physical space for scholarly development. Their goal was to create an imaginatively designed and managed institute, outside the curriculum but creatively linked to it, to give faculty, students and outside experts a place to collaborate on research projects of broad scope. They also envisioned a rich series of public events related to these projects to enhance the intellectual life of the college. 

History of the Kahn Institute

A generous bequest from Louise Wolff Kahn ’31 substantially augmented the Louise W. and Edmund J. Kahn Fund for Faculty Excellence, making it possible to establish the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute in 1998. The institute opened in September 2000 on the third floor of Neilson Library and is now located at 21 Henshaw Avenue.


Photo of Alexandra Keller

About the Director

Alexandra Keller, director of film and media studies at Smith College, was appointed director of the Kahn Institute in the summer of 2017. She specializes in the American Western; cinema and the postmodern, avant-garde and experimental film; and the relationship between cinema and other forms of artistic and cultural production.

Publicity & Project Administrator

Eric Weld

Administrative Coordinator

Christine Reynolds

Advisory Committee

Chris Aiken
Associate Professor of Dance

Payal Banerjee
Associate Professor of Sociology

Susan Fliss
Dean of Libraries

Bosiljka Glumac
Professor of Geosciences

Alexandra Keller
Professor of Film and Media Studies and Director, Kahn Institute

Eric Weld
Publicity & Project Administrator, Kahn Institute

Sujane Wu
Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures