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The Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities (IASH) of the Russian State University for Humanities was founded in spring 1992. It was intended to be one of the first university research centers in Russia oriented towards fundamental research in humanities and, at the same time, advanced educational work (undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate programs). In other words, the principal aim of the IASH is integration of academic research and higher education. In 2006, the Institute changed its name to Meletinsky Institute for Advanced Studies.

The “founding fathers” of the IASH were Eleazar Meletinsky, Leonid Batkin, Aaron Gurevich, and Yury Afanasiev, the first rector of the Russian State University for Humanities.

Academic staff of the IASH assembles both senior and junior researchers and professors. This partnership as well as research activities of undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students of the IASH contribute to cooperation of various generations of scholars and continuity of research traditions.

Most IASH members came to the University from the Russian Academy of Sciences. They brought here their unique experience of studies in various branches of humanities as well as research programs and projects that constitute an important part of general work of the IASH and are resulted in publications, dissertations and educational courses.

Research results are published in individual monographs, edited volumes, and scholarly journals as well as special periodicals issued by the Russian State University for Humanities, the “Arbor Mundi” journal and its supplements (“The Arbor Mundi Library”), and the “Readings in History and Theory of Culture” edited by the IASH.

The IASH members deliver educational courses at various departments of the Russian State University for Humanities. The curriculum of the IASH includes doctoral and postdoctoral programs. The IASH arranges interdepartmental seminars for postgraduate students on a regular basis.

The IASH regularly organizes research seminars, conferences and workshops attended by the members of the Institute, professors and students of the Russian State University for Humanities, and scholars from various research and educational institutions. Since 1993, the IAHS is the host for Lotman Memorial Conference that is held annually in late December.

The IASH does not have any formal internal structure. For the needs of particular research projects, the IASH members establish short- or long-term research groups.

The IASH actively cooperates with other institutes and departments of the Russian State University for Humanities and often coordinates interdepartmental research work. The IASH maintains close relations with the Russian Academy of Sciences as well as a number of Russian and foreign universities and research institutions. Like all the research centers of the Russian State University for Humanities, the IASH is oriented towards multiple forms and types of international cooperation.

Since 1992 and till the end of his life, Eleazar Meletinsky was the Director of the IASH. In 1994–2004, the Deputy Director of the IASH was Sergey Nekliudov. Now he is the Director of the Center for Typology and Semiotics of Folklore which was founded by him in 2004.

In 2004–2005, the Deputy Director of the IASH was Sergey Serebriany. Since 2006, he has been the Director of the IASH. In the same year Elena Shumilova, who had worked as the Institute’s Learned Secretary in 1992–2006, became the Deputy Director. In 2013 she was replaced in this position by Elena Zhigarina.

The research and educational strategies of the IASH are governed by the General Meeting of its members.