Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies: Program Overview

A group of students gathers in front of an old theater.

The Rhodes Institute is an innovative, 8-week summer program that capitalizes on the liberal arts tradition of the college, the research expertise of its faculty, and its location in one of America’s great cities.

Memphis and the Mid-South region afford unique opportunities for academic research. From the foothills of the Appalachians to the foothills of the Ozarks, from the cotton fields of West Tennessee to the battlefields of Vicksburg, the region encompassing an approximately 200-mile radius from Memphis has figured prominently in the social, cultural, political, and economic life of the nation. The area’s racial and cultural diversity, its significant contributions to literature and music, its pivotal role in the history of civil rights, the prominence of its national political leaders, and its growing importance as a commercial and distribution hub make it an ideal laboratory for research.

All Rhodes Institute fellows receive housing, research expenses, and $3,000 stipends while they pursue their academic work. Over the course of the program, Institute fellows spend their first week together engaged in an intensive regional studies seminar; six weeks working on their own projects, interspersed with weekly group meetings; and a final week presenting and discussing their research. By the end of the program, all fellows submit research papers and reports on their work. In addition, Rhodes Institute fellows are encouraged to continue their research beyond the summer by enrolling in a directed inquiry, pursuing an honors research project, or preparing their research for publication.

The Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies, part of Rhodes CARES (Center for Academic Research and Education through Service), is made possible by the generous support of the Robert and Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust of Wichita Falls, Texas and the Mike Curb Family Foundation.

The RIRS Library Guide can be found here.