To mark its centenary in 2002, the British Academy invited leading universities around the UK to host public lectures on the current state of and future prospects for a cross section of the disciplines which fall within the Academy's compass. The Academy proposed the discipline and theuniversities nominated their preferred speakers. Those selected were drawn from Britain, Europe and the USA, and they rose magnificently to the challenge, while interpteting it in a way specific to their discipline. The eight essays (plus four commentaries) span the disciplines in the Humanities andthe Social Sciences, from History of Art to International Relations and Geography. These are reflections on the stability and instability of the ways in which we organize knowledge and on how far the academic community can and should be involved in the shaping of public policy.