The Deep Read

Welcome to The Deep Read, an annual program of The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz. We invite curious minds to think deeply about books and the most pressing issues of our contemporary moment.

In Spring 2024 we read Trust, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Hernan Diaz. Trust pairs the music of the roaring 1920s with the staccato rhythm of the ticker tape in an exploration of how trusts, bonds, and other financial instruments of the early twentieth century penetrate the very core of human relationships and the stories we tell about them. Together considered how the technologies of finance and fiction overlap in this novel about capitalism and its social, cultural, and political power in the U.S.

Catch up on our Weekly Emails
Week 1: Let’s Read Trust | Week 2: Finance is a Liberal Art
Week 3: The Fiction of a Fiction | Week 4: Inversion of the Retrograde

A Conversation with Hernan Diaz
This year’s program culminated in a live discussion of Trust with author Hernan Diaz in conversation with Deep Read Faculty Lead, Associate Professor of Literature Zac Zimmer on May 19 at the Kaiser Permanente Arena, Downtown Santa Cruz. Watch the video:


Salon Videos
April 30 Craft Salon | May 6 Faculty Salon

👇 Sign up below to get the Deep Read emails and info on the 2024 Deep Read events.

Join the Deep Read

Exploring Trust

This program is all about reading deeply with the help from scholars at UC Santa Cruz. Over 4 weeks starting in late-April, we read Trust by Hernan Diaz together. 

Deep Read Scholars

We enlisted a knowledgeable group of UC Santa Cruz professors who will help us analyze the book: 

Lori Kletzer, Economics, Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Madhavi Murty, Feminist Studies
Dard Neuman, Music
Zac Zimmer, Literature and Deep Read Faculty Lead

Email Explorations

There were weekly emails that dove into different aspects of the book, guided by our Deep Read Scholars in Literature, Economics, Feminist Studies, and Music:

Week 1: Let’s Read Trust
Week 2: Finance is a Liberal Art
Week 3: The Fiction of a Fiction
Week 4: Inversion of the Retrograde

Salons

Faculty Salon: On May 6, we hosted a salon-style event where our participating professors led a discussion of the book with UCSC students and the broader Deep Read community. Watch the video.

Craft Salon: On April 30, we hosted an online discussion focused on the writing craft of Trust. Watch the video.

Regional Alumni Salons: We hosted a number of salons planned up and down the California coast and in NYC. 

Community Conversations

We’ll have online forums for each of the weekly explorations of the book where you can ask questions, post comments, and engage with fellow Deep Readers. 

The Class

In Spring Quarter 2024, Lecturer and THI Program Manager Laura Martin will teach a course at Porter College for UCSC students exploring Trust and Hernan Diaz’s other writings. Many insights from the class will be shared with the broader Deep Read community throughout the program.

Events of Interest

Books and Boba
Friday, March 1 from 6-9pm at the Terry Freitas Commons: free books, boba, and snacks!

Unity in Diversity: A Celebration of Stevenson Core Course Book Themes
Wednesday, March 6 from 5pm-8 pm at the Cowell Stevenson Dining Hall.

Kresge College Night: Celebration of the Arts
Thursday, March 14, 2024 from 5pm-7pm at Porter/Kresge Dining Hall

CAMPUS PARTNERS
The Humanities Institute
Alumni Engagement
College Scholars Program
Council of Provosts
Humanities Division
Living Writers Series
Phi Beta Kappa
Porter College
Division of Student Affairs and Success
University Library

COMMUNITY PARTNERS
Bookshop Santa Cruz
Pacific Collegiate School
Santa Cruz High School

MEDIA SPONSOR
Lookout Santa Cruz

A Humanities Institute Initiative

For over 20 years, The Humanities Institute has fostered a vibrant community at the center of UC Santa Cruz and at the cutting edge of Humanities research, education, and public engagement. This work is essential in the face of ever-changing and tumultuous times. And the Deep Read is our newest platform for intellectual engagement, classes on campus, and major events with top writers and thinkers. We aim to foster thinking deeply across all mediums, driven by conversation and timely engagement with art, culture, politics and scholars here at UC Santa Cruz who see the forest and the trees every day.

Past Deep Read Programs

  • During the Spring of 2023, The Humanities Institute produced our fourth and largest annual Deep Read program focused on Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist Elizabeth Kolbert’s book Under a White Sky. Over 8,500 students, alumni, faculty, staff, and readers around the world considered her perspective on the stark changes taking place in our world and explored the efforts we are making to adapt and survive in the era of climate change.

    As we do every year, we read our annual text closely and comprehensively with the help from scholars at UC Santa Cruz. We read Elizabeth Kolbert’s book with the Deep Read community over 4 weeks, starting in late-April. Here are all the ways we engaged with the book:

    Deep Read Scholars

    We enlisted a knowledgeable group of UC Santa Cruz professors who helped us analyze the book from a variety of perspectives:

    Jorge Menna Barreto, Environmental Art

    Mike Beck, Marine Sciences, Director of the Center for Coastal Climate Resilience

    Jody Biehl, Literature and Science Communication Program

    Sikina Jinnah, Environmental Studies

    Faculty Salon

    On May 4, we hosted a salon-style event at the Cowell Hay Barn where our participating professors led a discussion of the book with UCSC students and the broader Deep Read community. Watch the video.

    Elizabeth Kolbert in Conversation with Ezra Klein

    This year’s program culminated in a live discussion of Under a White Sky with author Elizabeth Kolbert in conversation with NY Times columnist, podcast host, and alumnus Ezra Klein on May 21, 2023, at UC Santa Cruz’s Quarry Amphitheater. Over 750 Deep Readers attended the thought-provoking event.  Watch the video.

    Email Explorations

    We produced 4 weekly emails that reflected on a different aspect of the book, guided by this year’s Deep Read scholars.

    Week 1: Read the World 

    Week 2: Craft and Calamity

    Week 3: Best Coast

    Week 4: Look Up

    Community Salon

    On June 7, we hosted a Community Salon at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. Co-sponsored by Lookout Santa Cruz, this event focused on actions and projects that local organizations are taking in the face of climate change, providing ways for the community to engage locally with climate issues raised in Kolbert’s book. Ecology Action, Elkhorn Slough Foundation, and Regeneración Pajaro Valley led the discussion moderated by Jody Biehl. Watch the video.

    The Class

    This year’s Deep Read course—Climate Narratives: Elizabeth Kolbert and the Literature of Climate Change—featured climate journalist Elizabeth Kolbert’s climate journalism alongside other narrative genres, from film and comics about climate change to realist and dystopian climate fiction. It was taught by Laura Martin at Porter College.  Students also had the opportunity to meet Elizabeth Kolbert during her visit to campus and engage with her and her work.

    2023 Deep Read Partners

    CAMPUS PARTNERS
    The Humanities Institute
    College Scholars Program

    Division of Student Affairs and Success
    Council of Provosts
    Center for Coastal Climate Resilience
    Climate Coalition
    Confronting Climate Change Conference
    Living Writers Series
    Phi Beta Kapa
    Porter College
    Seymour Marine Discovery Center
    University Library
    University Relations

    COMMUNITY PARTNERS
    Bookshop Santa Cruz

    Ecology Action
    Pacific Collegiate School
    Regeneración Pajaro Valley
    Santa Cruz High School
    Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

  • The 2022 Deep Read program focused on Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom and explored the conditions of cultural assimilation for immigrants to the United States, religious faith vs. scientific inquiry, and the experience of first-generation students in higher education.

    Read the Good Times cover story!

    Catch up on our weekly explorations:

    Week 1: Let’s Dig In / Week 2: Dilemmas of Identity

    Week 3: Memory & Form / Week 4: Integrating Faith & Science

    A Conversation with Yaa Gyasi

    On May 15, 2002 novelist Yaa Gyasi and UC Santa Cruz Professor Emerita of Literature Karen Tei Yamashita spoke at the Quarry Amphitheater, as we closed the book on the 2022 Deep Read exploration of Transcendent Kingdom.

    Digging in to Transcendent Kingdom

    This program is all about reading deeply with the help from scholars at UC Santa Cruz. Over 4 weeks starting in mid-April, we read Yaa Gyasi’s novel together.

    Here’s what we did:

    • Faculty Salon
      On May 4 we hosted the 2022 Deep Read Salon where we discussed Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom with UCSC Chancellor Cynthia Larive, Vilashini Cooppan (Literature and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies) and Gina Athena Ulysse (Feminist Studies). Watch the video
    • Community Conversations
      We had online forums for each of the weekly explorations of the novel where Deep readers can poses questions, posted comments, and engaged with fellow Deep Readers.

    In Spring Quarter 2022, Porter College hosted a course (PRTR 151A) for UCSC students titled “Yaa Gyasi and Contemporary African Diasporic Literature.”  Students engaged with Gyasi as a Ghanaian American writer whose work is as interested in taking up established African American literary themes, such as trauma and the historical legacies of Atlantic slavery, as it is engaged with issues central to African Diasporic Literature, such as urban mobility and the difficulty African immigrants face navigating middle-class aspirations. Many insights from the class were shared with the broader Deep Read community throughout the program.

  • There There, by Tommy Orange

    The 2021 Deep Read Program explored Tommy Orange’s novel There There. The novel depicts a variety of urban Native American characters living in Oakland, CA. We think this novel meets the need to think deeply about Native American life in our contemporary moment, helping us rethink Native experience and representation. It was also hailed by last year’s Deep Read author, Margaret Atwood, as “an astonishing literary debut.”

    Digging in to There There

    This program is all about reading deeply with help from scholars at UC Santa Cruz.  Over 4 weeks in February, we’ll read Tommy Orange’s novel together.

    Here’s what you can expect:

    Email explorations
    There were 4 weekly emails that dove into different aspects of the book, guided by UC Santa Cruz professors in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Catch up here:

    Week 1: Let’s Find the There There 
    Week 2: Against Assimilation
    Week 3: Real Stories
    Week 4: Native Hubs  

    Salons
    You’ll be able to join the conversation in a series of online salons, where our participating professors will discuss the book with UCSC students and the broader Deep Read community.

    Community conversations
    We’ll have online forums open for discussion of the weekly explorations of the novel.

    Meet Tommy Orange
    This year’s program will culminate with a live, online discussion with There There author Tommy Orange on March 3, 2021. Register here.

    Deep Read scholars
    We’ve enlisted a great group of UC Santa Cruz professors who will help us dig deeply into the novel:

    • Mayanthi Fernando, Anthropology
    • Katie Keliiaa, Feminist Studies & Indigenous Studies
    • Micah Perks, Literature
    • Renya Ramirez, Anthropology
    • Jennifer Tseng, Literature

    Salon Schedule

    Thursday, February 18, 5:20 PM PST
    Creative Writing professors Micah Perks and Jennifer Tseng will lead a conversation about the techniques at play in the novel.  RSVP to receive the Zoom link

    Wednesday, February 24, 5:30 PM PST
    Professors Mayanthi Fernando,  Katie Keliiaa, and Renya Ramirez will participate in a salon-style conversation about the novel. RSVP to receive the Zoom link

    Thursday, February 25, 5:30 PM PST
    Discuss the novel with members of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, the Indigenous tribe native to the Santa Cruz region. RSVP to receive the Zoom link

    The Class

    In Winter Quarter 2021 Porter College will offer a course in conjunction with the College Scholars Program featuring Tommy Orange’s novel, “Tommy Orange, There There, and the New Native Renaissance.” In the course, students will explore how the power of collective storytelling and community activism is depicted in the struggle against the marginalization of Native life, the exploitation of Native lands, the continued erasure of Native experience from the historical record, and the legacies of genocide and occupation. Many insights from the class will be shared with the broader Deep Read community.

  • The Testaments

    The Deep Read book for 2020 was Margaret Atwood’s latest Booker Prize-winning novel, The Testaments, a sequel to her 1985 classic The Handmaid’s Tale. With The Handmaid’s Tale now a critically acclaimed television series set to enter its fourth season, Atwood’s prescient prose depicting a dystopian future is more relevant than ever.

    The program, which ran parallel with a class and events on campus, sharing insights from Literature, Feminist Studies, Engineering and Anthropology to bear on Atwood’s work. Informed by some of UC Santa Cruz’ brightest minds, The Deep Read expanded our understanding of The Testaments  and modeled deep reading practices that will stimulate minds and foster intellectual engagement.

    Catch up on the 4-week exploration of the book:

    Week 1: Welcome to Gilead
    Week 2: Feminist Intersections
    Week 3: Toxic Bodies
    Week 4: Atwood Answers

     

    Margaret Atwood Live

    Margaret Atwood joined the UC Santa Cruz community for a free, live, virtual event on Tuesday September 22.

    The virtual Peggy Downes Baskin Ethics Lecture featured Atwood in conversation with UC Santa Cruz alumna, and New York Times bestselling author, Kate Schatz (Stevenson ‘01, Creative Writing). This event culminated months of in-depth programming and community engagement focused on Atwood’s latest Booker Prize-winning novel, The Testaments, a sequel to her 1985 classic The Handmaid’s Tale.

    William “Bro” Adams (Ph.D. History of Consciousness ’82), Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 2014 to 2017, was the event MC.

    The Class

    In Winter Quarter 2020, a Porter College course, offered in conjunction with the College Scholars Program, is exploring The Testaments and other works by Atwood. Students will attend the Santa Cruz Salon as part of their quarter-long engagement with Atwood’s work. Taught by UC Santa Cruz Literature Lecturer, Laura Martin, the course will inform the curriculum for the Deep Read community. Material developed for the course will be shared via community emails and online.

    Salon Series—Santa Cruz

    The Santa Cruz Salon at the UCSC Hay Barn on March 10 featured a conversation with three UCSC professors, each exploring The Testaments from a different angle.

    Speakers

    • David Draper, Statistics, Director of the College Scholars Program
    • Marcia Ochoa, Feminist Studies
      Andrew S. Mathews, Anthropology
    • Moderator: Laura Martin, Porter College

    Deep Read 2020 Partners

    UC Santa Cruz Campus

    The Humanities Institute
    College Scholars Program
    Division of Student Success
    Porter College
    UCSC Council of Provosts
    University Library
    University Relations

    Community

    Bookshop Santa Cruz

Questions?

Email us at deepread@ucsc.edu

 

The Deep Read Program is made possible through the generous support of the Helen and Will Webster Foundation.

The land on which we gather is the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, comprised of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, is today working hard to restore traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from historical trauma.