School of Humanities

Strategic Vision

The humanities are usually understood as a set of academic disciplines that seek to examine and interpret the human experience that of individuals as well as entire cultures. These disciplines engage in the discovery, preservation, and communication of the past and present in order to more deeply understand contemporary society while fostering the imagination of a new future.

Yet, the Humanities at Rice also live and thrive in new spaces beyond the disciplines —African and African American Studies, Environmental Studies, Medical Humanities, and Politics, Law and Social Thought, to name a few — which form the foundation for the connective humanities we seek to expand.


Rice Campus architectural detail

We occupy a distinctive place at Rice as a school with a genuinely global expertise and engagement that reaches from ancient times to the future. The “connective humanities” at Rice fosters the visibility in and impact of Humanities in every arena of research, teaching and public outreach on campus. Our connective ambition aims to support cutting-edge research, innovate and transform the Humanities undergraduate classroom, and advance our PhD programs to national preeminence through cross-disciplinary hiring initiatives, joint faculty appointments, co-taught courses that conjoin disciplines and a new infrastructure of support for collaborative research.

This connective ambition extends beyond our classrooms to local institutions and publics that build upon the location of Rice in Houston and its ties to the Texas Medical Center, to the Menil Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and other cultural institutions, as well as Houston’s vast landscape of ethnic and religious communities.