Constituent Societies

The purpose of the Council, as set forth in its constitution, is "the advancement of humanistic studies in all fields of learning in the humanities and the social sciences and the maintenance and strengthening of relations among the national societies devoted to such studies." Constituent societies pay dues based on the number of individual members, ranging from $990 for societies with under 1,000 members to $9,900 for societies with over 20,000 members.

Applications for membership undergo a multi-stage review process based upon the society’s ability to make a “substantial, distinctive, and distinguished contribution” to ACLS's mission of advancing humanistic scholarship.  Applications are considered first by the Committee on Admissions, composed of members of the Executive Committee of the Delegates, and then may be advanced to the ACLS Board of Directors and then to the Council for a vote at the annual meeting. 

The following are the criteria for admission as a constituent learned society, as adopted by the Council:

Policy Statement on Admission of New Constituent Societies

The ACLS welcomes societies with broad intellectual interests and national or international membership. We especially encourage applications from societies representing constituencies not already included among the Council's member societies.

Member societies contribute to the Council's efforts to strengthen relations among learned societies and to support the work of those societies to advance scholarship in the humanities and humanistic social sciences, both within the academy and in the wider society.  

The ACLS welcomes applications from societies whose work focuses on the advancement and support of humanistic scholarship and whose membership includes a substantial proportion of scholars. Member societies will normally support continuing scholarly research and publication in ways that are distinguished and recognized, often through journals and regular meetings.

In considering an application for membership, the Council may seek the advice of appropriate scholars to help evaluate a society’s scholarly strengths. The Council values maturity and stability and normally expects a new member society to have been in existence for a minimum of five years and to hold regular scholarly meetings.

Member societies should possess a sound constitution and by-laws and should be well-administered and financially secure. Copies of the constitution and by-laws and the latest audited financial statement should accompany an application for membership.

Although the number of constituent societies is not fixed, maintaining an effective size for the Council and assuring the Council represents a wide range of scholarly interests shape the Committee on Admissions’ decisions about membership.