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The mission of the Humanities Research Center (HRC) is to identify, encourage, and fund innovative research projects by faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students in the School of Humanities and beyond. This involves fostering scholarly work in the humanities broadly understood, facilitating research between the School of Humanities and other areas of Rice University, as well as leading institutional change by partnering with other foundations, centers, research institutions, and universities. 

Regular programming produced by the HRC includes exhibitions, lectures, conferences, workshops, and seminars covering a wide range of topics. Independent initiatives are also taken by the HRC in order to incubate ideas and detect disciplinary changes that will shape the future of the university.