CIHAM, UMR 5648, was founded in 1977 and became a UMR in 1994. The Center is unique in France in terms of: the chronology of the research it carries out; its geographical research area, which comprises the South East of France and the Mediterranean World (particularly Italy, the Iberian Peninsular and the Magreb); and, its interdisciplinary and comparative work between the Muslim and Christian worlds, although comparative work is also carried within each of the cultural areas covered by the Center.
CIHAM is managed by the CNRS, the ENS in Lyon, University of Avignon and the Vaucluse, and Jean Moulin University Lyon 3.
The Center is based in Lyon and Avignon and has 5 sites between the two cities.
It is attached to the Institut des Sciences de l'homme in Lyon, which houses the Center's mangement team, as well as ITAM and CNRS researchers, and professors from the EHESS and Lyon 2.