About the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
History: Founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock, James Bowdoin,
and other scholar-patriots who helped establish the new nation, the Academy provided
a forum for academics, members of the learned professions, and leaders from government
and business to work together on behalf of the democratic interests of the republic.
Mission: The Academy is an honorary learned society and independent
policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging
problems, the results of which are disseminated to a broad public through publications,
conferences, symposia, and the Internet.
The work of the Academy: The Academy’s work is carried out by its
members and other experts—distinguished leaders in the humanities, the sciences,
the arts, business, and public affairs.
Together, they engage in four major activities:
Academy studies bring together experts to examine critical issues and develop policy
recommendations in five core areas:
- Providing the long-term analysis of critical social and scholarly issues
- Fostering public scholarship and the exchange of ideas through meetings, conferences,
symposia, and publications, including the quarterly journal Daedalus
- Mentoring a new generation of scholars in the humanities and social sciences through
the Visiting Scholars Program, and in the sciences through the Hellman Fellowships
in Science and Technology Policy
- Honoring distinction in every field and profession
- the humanities and culture
- science and technology policy
- social policy and American institutions
Publications: The Academy publishes the quarterly journal Daedalus,
the quarterly magazine Bulletin, books, white papers, reports, and Occasional Papers
resulting from projects and studies. (Academy Publications)
The American Academy’s Role in the Humanities and Social Sciences:
The American Academy is among the oldest non-partisan policy research centers in
the nation. Its members include leaders in the sciences, business, and public affairs
as well as the humanities and social sciences. The Academy has been instrumental
in the creation of some of the nation’s leading humanities institutions including
the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities,
the Council on American Overseas Research Centers, and the National Humanities Center.
In 1998, in response to growing concerns about the state of the humanities in America,
the Academy organized an Initiative for Humanities and Culture. The Initiative supports
and promotes a greater role for humanists in communicating the significance of their
research and teaching to a wider audience. Through research, data collection, publication,
and outreach, the Initiative for Humanities and Culture contributes a national perspective
on the changing nature of humanistic learning and works to advance and strengthen
the humanities in our schools and universities and in society more broadly.
Drawing on leaders from the social sciences, the Academy’s program on Social Policy
and American Institutions carries out studies aimed at bringing thoughtful policy
solutions to pressing problems facing key national institutions. Academy projects
have examined challenges facing the judiciary, the criminal justice system, the
media, the modern corporation, and immigration policy.