History is a field of inquiry critical to all human understanding. The New School for Social Research seeks to bring historians together with social scientists and philosophers to produce critical histories of the present. It recognizes that historical inquiry has transformative potential for interpretation and theory in the social sciences. Its mission is to rejuvenate the empirically based social sciences with humanities-inspired, linguistically informed, and pictorially sympathetic approaches. The committee aims to provide The New School for Social Research with an archive and a perspective on the world that works “from the outside in.”
The Committee on Historical Studies (CHS) was founded on the conviction that the social sciences, public discussion of contemporary problems, and policymaking all become richer and more effective when joined with historical analysis; that practicing social scientists who want to work with history should learn to use historians’ standard materials and methods; and that the theories and methods of the social sciences strengthen historical research. This belief continues to guide the pedagogical and research programs of Historical Studies at The New School.
CHS was founded in the mid-1980s by Charles Tilly, Louise Tilly, Aristide Zolberg, and Ira Katznelson. Its premise is that history is a field of inquiry critical to all human understanding and that The New School for Social Research is a natural place for historians, philosophers, and social scientists to come together to develop theoretically informed and critical approaches to historical questions.