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About Us

Founded in 1952, Emory's Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts (ILA) was one of the first interdisciplinary Ph.D. programs in the United States. Today, the ILA provides a unique, intellectual environment for the pursuit of research projects that cut across conventional academic boundaries. The Institute has a tradition of fostering emergent fields of study and has encouraged the practice of new modes of inquiry at Emory and beyond. It provides a challenging space for both faculty and students to pursue theoretically sophisticated and methodologically innovative studies of history, culture and society. Read More

Spotlights & Events


Kevin McPherson 15'C has had a manuscript titled:  "The perfect colonizer: Understanding alcoholism and its treatments in Native America" accepted by the Stanford Undergraduate Research Journal (SURJ) for publication.

Katie Rawson has accepted a 2 year position at the University of Pennsylvania as the Bollinger Fellow in Library Innovation, focusing on encouraging and developing digital humanities scholarship.

Molly McGehee, ’07, was named PC's Professor of the Year, which also meant an Excellence in Teaching award from the SC Independent Colleges and Universities Commission. For more information click on:

The faculty and staff of the ILA would like to congratulate the following Ph.D. recipients who participated in the Spring 2013 Commencement ceremonies:

Camila Aschner Restrepo
Kwesi DeGraft-Hanson
Kazumi Hasegawa
James "Jay" Hughes
Laura Emiko Soltis
Anna Vandeberg
Kira Walsh

2013 PhD Recipients

Congratulations to Melissa Creary (3rd year graduate student) who has received the 2013 National Security Education Program (NSEP) David L. Boren Fellowship.

Congratulations to ILA students, Joey Orr and Andy Ditzler, on receiving an NEA Southern Constellations Fellowship from the Elsewhere residency program in Greensboro, NC.  For more information visit:

ILA stuents, Joey Orr's and Andy Ditzler's next project,  The Campaign for Atlanta: an essay by John Q, will be held at the Atlanta Cyclorama Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18, 6:30pm reception, 7pm performance time. Admission: $8.  For more information visit:


Anthropologist documents a life in the forest.  Dr. Anna Grimshaw was interviewed by the Emory Report on her four part documentary "Mr. Coperthwaite: A Life in the Maine Woods.  To read the complete interview please visit

The National Council on Public History just published an interview with John Q (ILA-ers Andy Ditzler and Joey Orr, members).  For details please use the link listed below.

OCTOBER 24 & 25, 2013

 In these times of uncertainty, the ILA wants to both celebrate its 6o years of achievements and look towards its future in today’s changing academic climate, at Emory and beyond.

On Thursday, October 24
Dr. Robert Pippin, Evelyn Stefansson Nef Distinguished Service Professor
Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago
will talk with us about his own interdisciplinary work and how the academy can support such work.

On Friday, October 25, we will feature facilitated roundtables focusing on the amazing work ILA alumni have done, both inside the academy and in the public sphere. We hope you will participate. 

The 2013 Manuel Montoya Service Awards recipients are Jay Hughes and Mael Vizcarra.  The Montoya award is presented each year to a graduate student or students who are committed to the service of the community and are examples of graduate student service.  ILAC (the graduate student governing committee), along with the Directors of Graduate Studies and the Director of the ILA respectively, choose the recipients from nominations received by the ILA community.  ILAC members will present this award to Jay and Mael to recognize their dedication and commitment during this most challenging year for the ILA community and other graduate students across the College. These awards will be presented at the luncheon during the annual ILAC Retreat on Saturday, April 13, 2013 in the Math & Science Building.  Congrats Jay and Mael!

As most of you know by now, Jay Hughes has left the ILA to take a position as an academic advisor in Political Science.  I know you will join me in wishing him well and much success in his future endeavors.  We thank Jay for all did for the ILA graduate program, faculty, and students.

Here is a link to a recent NPR article following interviews of Michael Hall and Civil Rights icon Dorothy Cotton by NPR national correspondent Kathy Lohr for the opening of the SCLC exhibit "And the Struggle Continues."  Audio from these interviews is  available via Saturday Morning Edition :

The ILA is pleased to announce the Shan Mukthar and Jennifer Sarrett organized conference: Critical Junctures:  Exploring the Intersections of Race, Gender, and Disability

There will be a tribute to Dr. Richard Long at the CAU gallery on Saturday the 26th.  If you would like to attend please RSVP to Below are three recent articles about Dr. Long in local papers.

AJC article on Richard Long in Saturday’s paper. article by Cathy Fox.

Atlanta Daily World article by Alexis Scott.


It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Dr. Richard A. Long.  Details regarding a memorial service will be forthcoming.  To read more about Dr. Long and his long, illustrious life as a scholar can be found here and here.

Congratulataions to Ulester Douglas for winning the Ford Freedom Unsung Award!

Southern Spaces has just published an essay by Mark Auslander, "Enslaved Labor and the Building of the Smithsonian," which examines evidence that enslaved persons were involved in the construction of the original Smithsonian Building ("The Castle") in Washington, D.C.

You may also be interested in an article in today's Washington Post in which Mark Auslander discusses the research that led to the Southern Spaces essay.

The ILA would like to congratualte Anna Vandenberg and Emiko Soltis on completion of thier doctorates this semester.

We are proud to announce the Ivan/Cory fund which supports the work of African scholars and graduate students.  You can make a tax-deductable contribution here.

IDS Alumni, Cullen Gardepe, has recently been comissioned to illustrate a page in a forthcoming graphic novel.  You can check out some of Cullen's work here.

Congratulations to ILA Alumni Rosemary Magee who has been named the Director of MARBL, Emory's Manuscripts, Archival, and Rare Book Library.

Dr. Kimberly Wallace-Sanders, Associate Professor of the ILA, was recently awarded the 2011 2012 Scholar Teacher Mentor Award as the Rudolph P. Byrd Distinguished Lecturer for her commitment to transforming the academy. Congrats, Dr. Kim!

First year student, Fahamu, recently completed work for an exhibition in New York at Lyons Wier Gallery, titled "ALL DAT GLITTERS AINT GOALS". The work in the show observes the performance of success as articulated through contemporary hip hop and challenges the aspirational models presented within the culture. To take things a step further, he collaborated with local rappers to produce an accompanying EP. Each of the songs on the EP corresponds with a particular painting in the exhibition - including the title track 'ALL DAT GLITTERS', a posse-style cut in the tradition of KRS-1's "SELF-DESTRUCTION".

We are pleased to wecome this year's new cohort, Bree, Fahamu, Laura, Christopher, Clinton, and Marisela!

Director of the ILA, Kevin Corrigan, and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Peter Wakefield, recently published Religion and Philosphy in the Platonic and Neoplatonic Traditions: From Antiquity to the Early Medieval Period.

Professor Michael Moon recently published his book Darger's Resources which re-examines Henry Darger's art and influences.


Kevin Corrigan, Director of the ILA, has recently published an article entitled Collaborative Thinking: The Challenge of the Modern University in Arts and Humatities in Higher Education

Check out the below link to read an article that was featured on the first page of the AJC’s Arts and Living section (E). Michael Hall and Mashadi Matabane, Ph.D. candidates in the ILA are shown pictured with Randall Burkett, Curator of the African American Collections, viewing one of the many photos that Emory has acquired from Robert Langmuir of Philadelphia. The collection is being called one of the largest photo libraries of African American History.

Southern Spaces has recently added a reviews section to our journal.  To inaugurate this category, we published two new reviews.

Gary R. Mormino reviews Southern Prohibition: Race, Reform, and Public Life in Middle Florida, 1821–1920 by Lee L. Willis (University of Georgia Press, 2011).

 Amy Louise Wood reviews Troubled Ground: A Tale of Murder, Lynching, and Reckoning in the New South by Claude A. Clegg, III (University of Illinois Press, 2010).

Drs. Kevin Corrigan and Peter Wakefield and their Emory College Maymester class visited the Atlanta History Center, May 17, 2012. Gordon Jones, Senior Military Historian at Atlanta History Center and a Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts Alumnus, provided a tour and discussed the current exhibition: War in Our Backyards: Discovering Atlanta, 1861-1865 with the students.

Please click here for The Chronicle of Higher Education's article on Dr. Rudolph Byrd.

The ILA is pleased to announce that Kevin Barbour has won the 2011-2012 Robert Detweiler Essay prize in Literature and Religion.

We are proud to present the newly published Ivan Karp Archive.  Please see the permanant link above to access the collection.