The Folger Institute is a center for advanced research in the early modern humanities at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Founded in 1970, the Institute gathers interdisciplinary communities of scholars for collections-based research. The Institute sets agendas, models best practices, and tests new methods for scholarship. Together with colleagues around the Folger, the Institute seeks to bring public audiences together with scholarly ones as we discover more about the cultures and legacies of the early modern world.
Folger Institute scholarly programs gather advanced scholars—from early stage graduate students to faculty—to work together around specific topics relating to the history and literature of early modern Europe and the British Isles.
Folger Institute fellowships support individual scholarly and artistic research that enriches and expands our understanding of the early modern world. We aim to ensure equitable access to research funding by offering multiple fellowship modules and removing barriers to fellowship participation.
For the Institute—as for the Folger as a whole—the renovation that has now begun changes the circumstances of our work, but not the nature of it. The Institute supports the curiosity-driven hunches that send scholars to the archives for evidence and to the seminar rooms, the tea room, and even the cloak room for discussion and feedback. Institute offerings facilitate the concentrated work of reading and writing, and provide access to modern scholarship, digital resources, and sociable spaces for trial and redirection and recommitment. We take seriously the questions that interrupt received wisdom, exceed easy answers, and open the scope of our understanding of early modernity with all its resonances in our own conflicted world. We have dedicated ourselves to this work at the Folger Shakespeare Library for nearly fifty years. We take this mission on the road with us to work with partners now. We will return stronger soon.
About the Folger Institute
The Folger Institute strongly believes that knowledge creation is the product of expansive and diverse intellectual communities, and we take seriously our mission to set agendas and standards for research in the humanities.
Code of Professional Conduct
The Folger Institute creates unique opportunities for scholars from many different career stages to share their works-in-progress in ever-shifting communities of intellectual inquiry.
Undergraduate students can access the Folger collections by applying for special reading privileges or by coming as part of a class visit.
Learn more about the Institute’s work
"What’s in a name?" That which we call [primitive] by any other word...
Artist Eva Rocha’s multimedia work investigates processes of dehumanization and in this post she looks at early colonial depictions of “Original Peoples”.
Othello: what’s in a name?
Simon Newman examines the use of the name “Othello” given to enslaved people on both sides of the Atlantic.
Carib Garifuna Chief: Transatlantic Images of Chatoyer in the Early 19th Century
Folger Fellow Désha Osborne looks at Horace Twiss’s early 19th century play The Carib Chief.