The Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis (ISH) was established in 1992 as the first and one of the few autonomous higher education institutions in the field of humanities and social sciences in Slovenia. The institute attained state recognition and was authorised to confer M.A. and Ph.D. degrees for its accredited study programmes as early as 1995. The National Board of Higher Education accredited five graduate programmes offered by ISH: Anthropology of Everyday Life (with Media Studies), Anthropology of the Ancient Worlds, Anthropology of Genders, Historical Anthropology (with Historical Anthropology of Art), Linguistics of Speech, and Theory of Social Communication.
In December 2003 the ISH opened the Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, the first such institution in Slovenia. The centre facilitates research of the Jewish culture, literature, history, and language.
In October 2013 Neda Pagon, who has led the institution for three decades, announced that Alma Mater Europaea, European Centre Maribor has become a new founder of the ISH. Alma Mater Europaea (AMEU) is a university programme developed by the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, which has been founded in Salzburg, Austria, in 1990. The Alma Mater Europaea - European Centre Maribor is the first campus opened in 2011 by AMEU in Slovenia.
The roots of the ISH go back to 1987 when a series of Slovenian translations of international literature on the humanities and social sciences entitled Studia Humanitatis were published. In 1997 the series was reorganised into the independent publishing house Studia humanitatis. The establishment of a research institute in 1991 was the second step in the formation of the ISH.
The paramount goals of the ISH are: to conduct a graduate study of disciplines and fields not offered by other Slovene institutions of higher education; to provide study programmes of interest to students beyond Slovenia's borders, from West as well as from Central and East Europe; to create possibilities for Slovene university teachers and researchers to work in fields that are poorly represented in the Slovene scientific environment; and to establish close cooperation and ties with international higher education institutions which engage in the same or similar fields.
Since 1995 there has been an ongoing formal cooperation with the Centre Louis Gernet at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris. The ISH participated in the GEMMA network, a project of the European Commission and five European organisations whose aim was to contribute to the integration of research results into policy-making in gender and migration. Furthermore, the ISH is currently drawing up joint projects for the development of new graduate programmes, as well as a scheme to facilitate teacher and student exchanges. It regularly collaborates with the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana and its Department of Sociology.
The ISH publications include five collections: Ekskurzi, Monitor ISH, Dialog z Antiko, Documenta, and Topos. Monitor ISH, Journal for the Humanities and Social Sciences is a biannual publication covering different topics in the fields of anthropology, sociology, history, and social sciences. The journal has an international editorial board, and publishes articles in Slovenian and English. It is also accessible online.