Founded in 1973, the School of Social Science takes as its mission the analysis of societies and social change, and is devoted to a multi-disciplinary, comparative and international approach to social research. Each year, the School of Social Science invites about 20 visiting scholars with various perspectives to examine historical and contemporary problems, providing a space for intellectual debate and cross-fertilization to flourish. Scholars are drawn from a wide range of fields including political science, economics, law, psychology, anthropology, history, philosophy, and literary criticism. Members pursue their own research, and participate in a weekly seminar at which each has an opportunity to present on-going work.
In an attempt to create a sense of community, the School designates a theme for each year. The theme for 2013-2014 is "The Environmental Turn and the Human Sciences." For 2014-2015, the theme will be "Egalitarianisms." Each year, about one-third of the scholars will pursue work relating to the theme, which conducts its own, more focused, seminar. An archive of past themes is available. Applications are strongly encouraged from scholars across the social science spectrum, however, regardless of whether their research corresponds to the year's theme.