Claremont Graduate University's Institute for Signifying Scriptures was given a new $600,000 grant by the Ford Foundation to continue its work in groundbreaking studies on the relationship between societies and sacred texts.
The institute was established with a similar grant from the Ford Foundation back in 2004, and was funded by the Henry Luce Foundation as well.
Led by Professor Vincent Wimbush, the ISS aims to explore how sacred texts function in society, and, conversely, how society produces religious texts. The institute is affiliated with CGU's School of Religion.
"This award means a lot: In a time in which human aspirations--but also differences, conflicts, and tensions--around the world are understood and articulated ever more stridently and feverishly with the uses of scriptures, the agenda of ISS is more and more compelling," Wimbush said. "Funding sources like this are significant because what ISS represents is fairly non-traditional and avant-garde work in the field."
The grant will allow the ISS to continue to host special lectures (last year, it hosted Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka) as well as advanced colloquia, visiting professors, and student assistants. Over the last several years, a number of projects and initiatives have advanced the ISS agenda. For instance, there is now a group of more than a hundred scholars and community activists spanning the globe which are ISS conversation partners and supporters. And the ISS Brown Bag Lunch Discussion Series has become a popular mainstay in Claremont: Twice a month, scholars from varying fields (anthropology, sociology, art history, literary critics) meet at CGU to discuss transdisciplinary themes.
Wimbush said upcoming projects include a documentary film based on scriptures in Los Angeles, and an ethnologies project based on five communities of color.
Director Vincent Wimbush of the Institute for Signifying Scriptures was funded by the Ford Foundation.