Odum Institute for Research in Social Science

The Institute for Social Sciences was established in 1924 with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and encouragement from university president Harry Woodburn Chase. It was the first program of its kind in the country. Led by sociologist Howard Odum, the institute focused most of its research on social and economic problems facing the American South, including poverty and race relations. The early work of the institute helped raise the academic reputation of the university, especially among other regional schools, but it also drew criticism and accusations of a liberal or even Communist influence at the university. The institute evolved throughout the twentieth century, adding equipment and staff to adapt to the increasingly complex data-processing needs of social scientists. In 1999 the name was changed to the Howard W. Odum Institute for Research in Social Science in honor of the institute's founding director.


Date Established: 1924

Date Range: 1924 – Present