IHS: Institute for Historical Study (San Francisco) is an active, independent community of researchers, writers, and artists who share a devotion to history in its many forms. IHS members share research, ideas, and practical advice and provide a public forum for the discussion of history.

Recent Events

IHS: Institute for Historical Study (San Francisco) is an active, independent community of researchers, writers, and artists who share a devotion to history in its many forms. IHS members share research, ideas, and practical advice and provide a public forum for the discussion of history.

  • June 10, 1:30 pm: Writers Group, with presentation by Marilyn Geary
  • June 11, 1 pm: Medieval Study Group: Berkeley. Lyn Reese will give a presentation about the Vikings and the Lewis Chessmen.
  • June 17, 2 pm: Monthly Program, Berkeley Central Public Library. A conversation with Malcolm Margolin and Jackie Pels on publishing history books.
  • June 19, 1 pm: History Play Readers, San Francisco, will discuss Joe Turner's Come and Gone, by August Wilson.

The IHS Annual Meeting took place on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at the Mechanics’ Institute, where member Monika Trobits gave an illustrated talk on “From Vigilance in Early San Francisco to the 1859 Duel.”

Workshop on "Funding for Creative Writers" took place on January 20, 2018 for members considering applications for writing grants, fellowships, scholarships, or residencies.

Public Program on April 27, 2018: “The Making of Benjamin Madley’s Book, An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe,” Mechanics’ Institute

For more information on IHS activities consult the website: www.instituteforhistoricalstudy.org

ISAA: Independent Scholars’ Association of Australia 

2018 ISAA Annual Conference will be held on October 11–12, 2018 at the National Library under the theme, "The Declaration of Human Rights – 70 Years On.” Australia played a significant role in drafting The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which celebrated its 70th anniversary this year. Despite all the achievements that have flowed from the Declaration, there have been many counter-pressures, such as the break-up of the bipolar international power blocs; the rise of civil wars; and a large increase in involuntary population movements. Papers dealing with factors leading up to the Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent human rights developments that have followed from it are welcome.

ISAA publishes a National Newsletter several times a year and the ISAA Review twice a year, as well as the Annual conference proceedings. The latest issue of the ISAA Reviewwith the theme, “Science: Natural and Social,” includes articles by Ian Lowe, Sybil Jack, Ann Moyal and Mike Pepperday, and opinion pieces by Graeme Pearman, J.E.N. Vernon, Ann Moyal and Dierk van Behrens. Creative Corner is Climate Change Matilda by Ian Lowe. 

NSW ISAA Chapter
April 5, 2018: Open Forum was held at History House, Royal Australian Historical Society. Prof. Shirley Randell spoke on "Revolution, Activism and Social Change in Rwanda." Professor Randell is an award-winning global mentor, educator, trainer, author, speaker, company director, change activist, ambassador, patron and campaigner for human rights.

May 17, 2018. Annual General Meeting of the ISAA NSW chapter was held at the Mitchell Library of NSW. Guest speaker Maggie Borschke spoke on “Process as Product: Using Social Media in Academic Research Strategies.” She discussed aesthetics of online circulation and expression and offered practical advice for creating a social media strategy for independent scholars.

July 21, 2018: The annual NSW Chapter Seminar will be held on Saturday, July 21, 2018, in the Metcalfe Auditorium at the State Library of NSW. The seminar will celebrate the centenary of Women's Legal Status Act 1918. This Act made it possible for women to be appointed Justices of the Peace, to practice as lawyers and to stand for local government and state parliament.

September 25, 2018. Upcoming Open Forum, a joint meeting of ISAA’s (NSW Chapter) & Royal Australian Historical Society on the topic of “Charles Dickens and His Performed Readings: A New Art Form." Royal Australian Historical Society in Sydney.

The Chapter publishes a Bulletin every two months. ISAA holds “work-in-process” reviews for members who seek feedback on their research.

Other states:
The ACT ISAA Group meets monthly at the National Library in Canberra and features a guest speaker program. The Victorian group has not met for some time as the members are quite dispersed. There are also members in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, but there are no active ISAA groups in those states. Members receive emailed communications and published material and at times they attend the Annual Conference. There are also two international members.

For more information: http://www.isaa.org.au

MISF: Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum
MISF has regular meetings for scholarly presentations on the fourth Saturday of each month at the Minneapolis Washburn Library. Information about their Grant Programs and their journal, The Minnesota Scholar, may be found on its website.’

The MISF Philosophy Study Group, which meets on the second Wednesday of each month, is starting discussion of Science Set Free: 10 Paths to New Discovery (2013) by Rupert Sheldrake.

The MISF History Study Group meets monthly on the third Wednesday; it will soon start studying Midnight's Furies: the Deadly Legacy of India's Partition (2015) by Nisid Hajari.

Recent Events
June 23, 2018: "Connections and Corrections: Women in the Criminal Justice System and Their Families” by Ruth Campbell, MSW. This presentation is a review of a qualitative study of eighteen women who were in a women’s residential correctional facility.

April 28, 2018. Dr. Tamim Saidi led a discussion on “Minnesota Muslims Up Close.” Muslims have been part of Minnesota since the nineteenth century so why are we just noticing them now? We examine the diversity and the unity of the Muslim experience in the Land of a Thousand Lakes.

Upcoming Programs, all at the Washburn Library, Minneapolis: 

  • September 22, 2018: "F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota” led by Dave Page, editor and writer, has researched how the wealth of the Midwest, the Catholic Church of St. Paul, and the romantic notions of the Civil War his Maryland father planted in his head while living in St. Paul influenced F. Scott Fitzgerald's life and writing.
  • October 22, 2018: Authors Lucy Brusic, Evelyn Klein and Mike Woolsey will present "How Our Book Came to be and Why” discussing Scholars without Walls: The History of the Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum.
  • November 22, 2018: Tom Balcom will present "Minneapolis and Tangletown Neighborhood Landmarks.” He will discuss the questions, “What is a neighborhood and how does change make it better, lessen it, or make it a different world?” Step into the past with a presentation illustrated by maps and photographs of historical interest.

For more information about MISF, http://www.mnindependentscholars.org


NISA: Northwest Independent Scholars Association
NISA meets five times per year (every other month except July) to encourage and promote scholarly discussion, research, writing, and publication outside formal institutions of higher education, for individuals who are actively pursuing serious scholarly research.

2018 Meetings:

  • January 17, 2018: David Kohl: "Portland's Lan Su Chinese Garden in Context"
    March 28, 2018: Barbara Canavan: "High Politics and Pandemic Predictions: A Historical Perspective"
  • May 23, 2018: David Ritchie on "The Mortar and the Sword: Weapons in Fantasy and Reality” about changes to the reality of weapons and their status in our moral imagination

2017 Meetings:

  • January 25, 2017: Richard March: "Rough Stuff: The Assassination Attempts"
  • March 15, 2017: Nikki Mandell: "A Hotel of Her Own: Building by and for the New Woman, 1900-1930"
  • May 17, 2017: David Ritchie and Bob Martin: Teaching Art: Circumstance, Creativity
    September 20, 2017: Martha Bailey: "Understanding Islam: Networks Across Time and Space”
  • November 8, 2017: Richard Etulain: "Ernest Haycox and the Western”

For more information about NISA and their bi-monthly meetings, see


Princeton Research Forum
Founded in 1980, Princeton Research Forum is a community of independent scholars in the greater Princeton area. Monthly meetings are held at the Institute for Advanced Study and PRF members share their interests in study groups focused on the humanities, poetry, and science, as well as through works-in-progress sessions and presentation seminars.

Special study groups convene regularly for discussion, setting their own programs and schedules. New members are encouraged to join an existing study group or set up another according to their interests. The study groups welcome the participation of nonmembers. Existing groups include: Humanities—readings in literature, philosophy, history, and the arts; Poetry—critical reading and analysis of works by selected poets; Science/History of Science—contemporary and historical perspectives on science, medicine, and technology.

Works-in-Progress. Members are encouraged to present their work, at any stage of development, for discussion with other members. These sessions provide opportunities to raise questions, elicit feedback, and hone one’s projects in a supportive environment that facilitates clarity of thought.

Presentation Seminars. Discussions of members’ completed projects offer a chance to share expertise in a non-judgmental and constructive environment.

Recent member activities:

Winifred Hughes taught a course on literature and nature as part of the Language of Nature series at the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Center in Pennington in 2018.

Toni Vogel Carey was awarded a 2017 Elizabeth Eisenstein Prize by the National Coalition of Independent Scholars for her paper, “Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand: A Brief History,” published in the Adam Smith Review.

Pat Hyatt spoke about “American Women on the Move” at the University of Houston Women’s Conference in November 2017. Pat’s book, American Women on the Move: The Inside Story of the National Women’s Conference, 1977, celebrates the 40th anniversary of that unique gathering.

Joyce Irwin presented a paper entitled “Luther, Mattheson, and the Joy of Music” at a conference on “Lutheran Music Culture,” sponsored by the University of Uppsala, Sweden in September 2017.

Karen Reeds presented a slide-illustrated talk, “Essential to their Health and Service: Keeping Washington's Army Well Enough to Fight,” in June 2017 as part of a symposium commemorating George Washington’s First Middlebrook Encampment (1777) in Martinsville, New Jersey.

For more information on the PRF, go to www.princetonresearchforum.org


SDIS: San Diego Independent Scholars
San Diego Independent Scholars holds ongoing meetings of four study groups, in addition to monthly general meetings. Study groups include Colloquy Café, Culture One,  Film Group and Science Group.

At the annual SDIS Business meeting on May 19, 2018, Dr. Michael Sage gave a presentation on “Roman Republic in Memory: From Reality to an Idea” which focused on the creation in stone of a legacy in the period of the living Republic from its beginning until its death at the end of the first century BCE.

At the April 2018 general meeting, Dr. Erik Gartzke discussed emerging conflicts in cyberspace—what to expect in the growth of internet crime and why new forms of deterrence are required.

Colloquy Café recently has featured discussions on the topics of “socialization” and “Retirement II.”

Culture One is currently reading Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. How do current trends in AI affect the economic and political status of humans, our current notions of individualism, and the ultimate likelihood of intense inequality among humans?

The Film Group has recently screened A United Kingdom, a 2017 biographical drama about the courtship and marriage of an African prince (about to become king) of Bechuanaland (now Botswana) and a British woman in the 1940s. At their April meeting, they reviewed Finding Vincent, the 2017 animated biographical drama about the repercussions a year after the death of a tormented artist, Vincent Van Gogh.

Recent meetings of the Neuroscience Study Group have been discussing Michio Kaku’s book, The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance and Empower the Mind.

Supper with Scholars gatherings are held on the third Thursday of each month.

For more information on SDIS, go to http://www.sdscholars.org

Barbara Williams Ellertson, NCIS Partner Liaison—June 2018

CIS Bids Farewell after 40 Years

The Center for Independent Study (New Haven) is disbanding after 40 years' service to the independent scholar community. As part of the dissolution process, the CIS board decided unanimously to disburse remaining CIS funds (about $3,000) to NCIS in support of members' conference travel, conference registration fees, and library fees incurred to support members’ research. We are immensely grateful to CIS for their generous gesture, and delighted that we will be able to fund even more of our members.

As documented in CIS’s final newsletter, the organization originated in 1977, when “five women — all married to Yale professors — came together to establish the Center for Independent Study (CIS). By Yale’s rules at that time, the women were ineligible to join the faculty, though they were equally qualified, because Yale would not hire members of the same family. CIS would provide its members some of the perks that faculty positions offered: a letterhead to be used in applying for grants; a structure to oversee and administer grants; and, perhaps most important, collegiality for those who work independently.

“CIS was the second such organization of independent scholars in the country, and the first to be open not only to academics but also to writers, artists, and editors.” 

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