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ILEX Foundation
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Ilex Mission


Ilex Foundation promotes the study of humanistic traditions that derive from the civilizations of the Mediterranean and the Near East, from the second millennium BCE to the present.


The key word is "traditions," oral as well as written, with an emphasis on the historical contexts of performance or text production. The plural of "traditions" draws attention to the Foundation's strong interest in the detailed study of variation itself as a cultural phenomenon.


Stressing the need to examine cultures on their own terms, the Foundation especially supports research that is language based and text based; also, it encourages the application of comparative methods that fully engage the details of "thick description." Points of special interest for comparison include


  1. models of classicism vs. "local color"
  2. canonical vs. multiform traditions
  3. the rhetoric and the poetics of cultural and cross-cultural constructs, such as Hellenism, "Rûm," Islam, Shi'ism.


The Foundation is dedicated to the active dissemination of the research it promotes, seeking new models of publication that allow for a workable coexistence of hard-copy and electronic versions. Ilex is committed to the general goal of revitalizing the intellectual mission of academic publishers by freeing them from constraints imposed by the mentality of material profit. The application of information technology is an integral part of the Foundation's strategy for achieving this aim.


Ilex is a non-governmental organization dedicated to purely intellectual agenda.


The Name Ilex as a Symbol of our Mission


The Foundation's emphasis on the study of cultural variation is reflected in the name Ilex as a symbol. In classical Latin, ilex means "holm oak," that is, a kind of oak that happens to be evergreen - unlike other oaks in the Mediterranean climate - and that happens to look like holly (or "holm" in older English); in scientific or "Linnaean" Latin, ilex means "holly." The plant to which ilex refers is thus a variable, but the concept of the holm oak or the holly as an evergreen is a constant. That is the symbol of Ilex.


Proposals or inquiries regarding funding or support from Ilex Foundation should be sent to:


Niloofar Fotouhi
Executive Director

Ilex Foundation
84 Revere Street
Boston, MA 02114 USA



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