During the 2023-2024 academic year, the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study is sponsoring residential research projects that investigate The Long Run.
Practical decision-making, ethical evaluation, scientific modeling, and cultural meaning-making all increasingly push us to consider causes that extend further and further into the past and consequences that extend further and further into the future. The Long Run Project will bring together humanists, scientists, social scientists, policy scholars, and artists to consider how we understand, manage, and respond to events that lie in the distant future or past, or challenges that unfold over long periods of time.
Potential research proposal topics on The Long Run may address, but are not limited to:
- Physics and Engineering: Ways of representing uncertainty in predictive models; work on modeling origins of the universe. Study of building materials and the longevity of structures.
- Biology: Evolutionary studies of organisms, microorganisms, viruses, etc.
- Ecology and Resource Management: Approaches to the climate crisis or ecological forecasting that inform our understanding of duration; work that advances indiginous perspectives in resource management and modeling; work that deals with how to conceptualize preservation and understand the longevity of organisms, microorganisms, viruses, species, etc.
- Psychology: Studies on self-control, goal achievement, or perception of long durations; longitudinal research in understanding well-being and flourishing; the interpretation of data from such research.
- Theology: The development of theological and religious doctrines over many generations; “advaita” and other ways change and duration are conceptualized in non-Western religions and cultures; ways that religious narratives reflect or challenge other forms of explanation and storytelling.
- Philosophy: The ethical dimensions of intergenerational tradeoffs; study of discount functions and how to weigh competing moral interests; approaches to understanding the nature and passage of time itself, in both human and natural scales.History and Literature: Longue durée approaches to history and their significance for analyzing the present; study of dynasties; analyses of the concept of a “classic” and what makes a work, movement, or idea stand “the test of time”; work that challenges an accepted periodization.
- Political Science: analysis of reparations and questions of justice that involve long durations; study of electoral politics and the future of democratic systems; study of constitutional originalism and other approaches to constitutional development and interpretation; work that integrates advances in scientific modeling to new forms of policy analysis.
- Arts and Culture: Approaches to restoring material dimensions of culture and the moral arguments for restoring or removing elements of culture; analyses of taste, trends, or fashions.
The NDIAS is also interested in supporting artistic works—fiction writing, visual arts, musical composition, etc.—that challenge our perception or understanding of long durations or time.
The above list is a mere sampling of projects that fit with the theme: the NDIAS welcomes any research project that fits with The Long Run, whether or not it is explicitly specified above. The NDIAS also welcomes projects that fit the theme in creative or surprising ways.
Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of their potential for research impact, fit with the theme, and fit with the Institute’s mission.