Institute for the Study of Culture & Society

Established in 1996, the Institute for the Study of Culture & Society (ICS) is a public humanities hub at Bowling Green State University. Our aim is to encourage innovation in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and to communicate the value and significance of that work to the wider public.

ICS delivers programs and initiatives that empower BGSU faculty, students, staff and community members to leverage the strengths of the humanities to serve the public good.  We encourage you to explore our website to learn about the work ICS does and how you can become a part of our community!  

Our Mission

ICS seeks to empower people and communities to leverage the strengths of the humanities to serve the public good.

At ICS, we employ the humanities to inspire and empower diverse publics to use their voices, experiences, and expertise to contribute to the public good. We define the humanities as the qualitative study of society and culture, the written and oral narratives that shape people’s lived experience and potential for change. We define the public good as increasing access, equity, and opportunity via social, cultural, and civic engagement.

Our Vision  

To make the world more equitable, just, and inclusive.

ICS strives to be a place where nuanced conversation and meaningful connections are made, and where complexity and ambiguity are valued. ICS seeks to reduce barriers to access, challenge disciplinary silos, and overcome the constraints imposed by the structures of higher education, ensuring that the university serves to benefit, empower, and improve the lives of local people.  

Our Principles

Modeling Inclusion

We serve as a model for inclusivity, equity, and accessibility on campus and beyond with programs and events whose participants are representative of our constituent communities’ diversity (e.g., range of abilities; race; class; university employment status and ranks, etc.). We utilize an intersectional approach to equity, diversity, and inclusivity in order to reduce social inequality and ensure the full, meaningful, and equitable engagement of our constituents.

Collaborating Intentionally

We build bridges and offer opportunities for cooperation and co-creation of the efforts we pursue, rather than making decisions internally that then need buy-in.

Empowering Others

We empower others to identify problems and co-create solutions, particularly those who are marginalized and are too often silenced by multiple, intersecting systems of oppression. We are more effective and impactful when we value the unique perspectives, talents, and experiences of all constituents.

Coming With an Open Mind

Curiosity is the engine that drives ICS. We continuously explore and seek to expand the possibilities of what the humanities actually do and how they contribute to the public good.

Questioning the Status Quo

We bring a spirit of inquiry to everything we do and act in ways that help us think beyond disciplinary and functional silos in order to connect outcomes for complex, multifaceted problems with nuance.

Access Statement   

The Institute for the Study of Culture and Society is committed to curating fully accessible experiences for all users. We believe that equitable access to information is a basic human right, and we strive to ensure that our programming and online presence are accessible for all users including those with visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, language, learning, and neurological disabilities.  

If any elements of our website are inaccessible to you, please email  

Land Acknowledgement

Bowling Green State University and its affiliated campuses are situated in the homelands of numerous Indigenous and Native tribal nations. Our campus footprint holds many contemporary and historical ties to the Wyandot, Kickapoo, Miami, Odawa, Potawatomi and multiple other Indigenous tribal nations, present and past, who were forcibly removed to and from the area.

This area's history reveals an arterial network of complex economic and cultural significance. We recognize the stewardship, dedication, and presence of those for whom the Great Black Swamp and the Lower Great Lakes region is home. Through this statement, we aim to trace the past to the present to inform current conditions. It is within BGSU's responsibility as an academic institution to disseminate knowledge about Indigenous peoples and the University’s relationships, past and present, with tribal nations and individuals. 

As such, we recognize the forced relocation of tribal nations to and from this land and we strive to decolonize history and present conditions. We thank Indigenous individuals and communities who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. This type of acknowledgment must not only be through statement, but in action and practice as well, in order to foster an inclusive, respectful and sustainable community.  

To our ICS community, we ask that you commit yourselves to acknowledging, addressing, and confronting systemic inequality in your communities. This includes combatting: the absence of representation from Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC), Queer, and disabled communities; stereotyping; and inequities in education, housing, health, law, and commerce. To learn more about the land acknowledgement and to find more resources, please visit  


Updated: 04/27/2024 03:09PM