• PY_with_logo

    See the collection of talks by ACLS President Pauline Yu. 

  • 2018-board

    The ACLS Board of Directors at the 2018 annual meeting.  William Kirby, board chair, is at Pauline's right. See board and committees.

  • 2018-PY-ELewis

    Pauline in conversation with Earl Lewis, then president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  See the video series.

Our Work


ACLS, a private, nonprofit federation of 75 national scholarly organizations, is the preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences. Advancing scholarship by awarding fellowships and strengthening relations among learned societies are central to our work. Other activities include support for scholarly conferences, reference works, and scholarly communication innovations. 

Leadership. Since its founding in 1919, ACLS has provided the humanities and related social sciences with leadership, opportunities for innovation, and national and international representation. President Pauline Yu speaks in the US and abroad on topics vital to scholarship and the academy today. ACLS convenes representatives from across the academic and public humanities for conferences on issues of broad interest to scholarly community, including an annual meeting, meetings and seminars for member society representatives, and commissions and working groups.

Research. ACLS fellows and grantees are engaged in creating new knowledge that benefits our understanding of the world. ACLS continues to be the leading private institution supporting scholars across a variety of humanistic disciplines. In the 2017-18 competition year, ACLS awarded more than $24 million to about 325 scholars worldwide. ACLS’s fellowship and grant competitions provide a range of opportunities for scholars at all career stages (from graduate students to distinguished professors to independent scholars) working with varied disciplines and methodologies in the US and abroad. Major international initiatives include the  African Humanities Program, the Center for Educational Exchange with Viet Nam, and The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program In Buddhist Studies global competitions.

Innovation. ACLS has long supported new methods and subjects of humanities scholarship. New fellowship programs address digital humanities, collaborative research, and scholars at work outside the academy. Recent initiatives on scholarly communication include Humanities E-Book, and sponsored publications such as the American National Biography and the Darwin Correspondence Project.

Stewardship. ACLS is a federation of 75 member societies, professional organizations for humanities scholars, and its mission is to strengthen the relationships among them. Each society is concerned with a distinct field of study, but all are involved in the promotion of research, scholarly publication, and education.

ACLS is a member of the National Coalition for History, the National Humanities Alliance, and the Union Académique Internationale (International Union of Academies). 

The Humanities in Action.

News about ACLS activitiesACLS Annual Meetings. Talks from President Pauline Yu. Media collection


Our Mission

The mission of the American Council of Learned Societies is "the advancement of humanistic studies in all fields of learning in the humanities and the social sciences and the maintenance and strengthening of relations among the national societies devoted to such studies."

What are the humanities?

What is a learned society?

What is peer review?


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