The Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University, established in 1988, promotes interdisciplinary research and study in the humanities, social sciences, and when appropriate, natural sciences. Because cooperative study in higher education is crucial to the modern university and the society it influences, the Warren Center is designed to intensify and increase interdisciplinary discussion of academic, social, and cultural issues. Members of the Vanderbilt community representing a wide variety of specializations take part in the Warren Center’s programs. The work of the Warren Center strengthens the place of the humanities not only at Vanderbilt but also within the larger society in which we live.
The Warren Center, housed in a beautifully restored Victorian home in the central part of campus, is a hub of intellectual activity. Its annual programming includes a theme-based faculty fellows program; a dissertation completion fellows program for advanced graduate students; the Harry C. Howard, Jr. Lecture; several conferences and public programs; dozens of visiting speakers; and twelve to fifteen regularly-meeting seminars and reading groups representing an extraordinary range of topics.
"In addition to embodying the history of the humanities at Vanderbilt, the Robert Penn Warren Center represents their future. The Center has proven prescient in its modeling of the value of collaboration in the humanities. Over its quarter-century of existence, the Robert Penn Warren Center has evolved into a site of deep exploration for Vanderbilt's faculty, as well as for national and international scholars, by its situation at the heart of campus and through its promotion of the work faculty from different departments and disciplines can do together, the RPW Center confirms all of Vanderbilt to be a place for the humanities." — Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos