- Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) is an American
interdisciplinaryresearch body in Stanford, California. The center officially became part of Stanford University, effective Jan. 1, 2008. It is dedicated to advancing knowledge about human behavior through research, hereby focusing on the social sciencesand humanities. The Center is funded by the Ford Foundation, and was founded after World War II. It is a member of the group Some Institutes for Advanced Study.
Since its inception in
1954, the Center has offered a residential fellowship program for leading scholars in a variety of academic disciplines (including social sciences, natural sciences, humanities, interdisciplinaryfields, and professional schools) from a wide range of colleges and universities. Cohorts of as many as 48 Fellows form a collegial, intellectually diverse community, which fosters an open exchange of ideas, theories and methods. The results are unexpected collaborations and exciting new work.
The Center also organizes group-based Special Projects, and runs Summer Institutes which foster innovative interdisciplinary work and build intellectual networks for young scholars. Its director in
2007is Claude Steeleand was preceded by Doug McAdam.
Evidence of the center's success can be seen on its library shelves. There are more than 1,700 books, many of whose authors credit their writing to the yearlong fellowship. Among them are such seminal works as Robert Dahl's Who Governs, E. D. Hirsch's Cultural Literacy, Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolution and John Rawls' A Theory of Justice. Other signs of the center's influence are apparent in the recognition its fellows receive later in life. For example, 17 of the fellows have gone on to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
After two world wars, the Holocaust, and a prolonged depression, peopleat mid 20th Century longed for a better understanding of
human behavior. Having seen the advances coming from the work of physicistsduring the war, they reasoned that scientific methods applied to human behavior might find solutions. [ CASBS - Annual report 2006, p.1.] . For these reasons in the Ford Foundationset up a program to advance human welfare.
Four initiatives were launched in policy, analysis, area studies, and democratic institutions. A fifth program aimed to develop basic knowledge of human behavior through the
behavioral sciencesa term coined by thefoundation itself. Within a few years, Program V had produced the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS). [ CASBS - Annual report 2005, p.48. ] . Ralph W. Tyler(1902-1994) [ Stanford University News Service (415) 723-2558, [http://www.stanford.edu/dept/news/pr/94/940228Arc4425.html Ralph Tyler, one of century's foremost educators, dies at 91 ] ] was named founding directorof the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in 1954and held that position through 1966. The center was originally envisioned as a five-year project, but eventually became an ongoing independent institution that would eventually claim to have supported over 2,000 leading scientists and scholars. As a member of the governing board, Tyler is credited with playing a critical role in determining the character of the center as a new type of educational institution.
The Institute has been home a lot of renowned thinkers, including:
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Henry Louis Gates
Ralph W. Gerard
Adriaan de Groot
Leopold H. Haimson
France Winddance Twine
* [http://www.casbs.org Center for Advanced Study website]
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