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In 2019-2020, The Humanities Institute is investigating what lies ahead by leading conversations in Santa Cruz and beyond on the theme of Futures

What kind of futures can we imagine? And how does thinking about the future inform our present? Speculative fiction, historical insights, and feminist approaches are among the elements of the Humanities that help us grapple with an uncertain future and changing daily reality. 

Join our events and courses exploring the futures that are possible and the worlds we want to live in. Engage with us as we ask fundamental questions: How will human societies adapt to coming environmental changes? What is the future of race, gender, sexuality, religion, and other social categories? And what will it mean to be human in an age of genetic engineering and artificial intelligence? In the face of major technological advances, ecological transformations, and radical political developments, the Humanities can provide insights into a range of possible futures and inspire new ways to navigate our complex world.

Running through these discussions of Futures will be a meta-discussion about the future of the Humanities. Because in many ways, The Humanities Institute—and the programming, classes, and research we support—is a demonstration of where the Humanities is headed. We specialize in the specifics and the broader context. We see the forest and the trees. We’re the future of the Humanities, at the forefront of vital inquiry and new ideas. Onward into the future. Look ahead with us.



This effort is part of our Expanding Humanities Impact and Publics project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

  • Call for Co-Sponsorship

    The Humanities Institute is preparing an exciting year of Futures programs and events on campus and in our community. Please contact Saskia Nauenberg Dunkell (THI Research Program Manager) at saskia@ucsc.edu if you are interested in collaborating.

  • Nov 1-2, 2019
    Against Orthodoxies: Hayden White Conference

    Nov 14, 2019
    Living Writers: After Ursula – Karen Joy Fowler, Molly Gloss, Nisi Shawl, and Kim Stanley Robinson.

    Nov 22-23, 2019
    Frankencon, Looking at the Future of Science and Ethics.

    Dec 4, 2019
    Sawyer Seminar event with Déborah Danowski, co-author of the speculative analysis of our dystopian present, The Ends of the World, and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Brazilian anthropologist and author of Cannibal Metaphysics.

  • September 27th, 2019
    Celebrating 20 Years of Inquiry, Investigation, and Innovation

    This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Humanities Institute. What was originally an idea to fund interdisciplinary Humanities research has blossomed into something remarkable—a vibrant community at the center of UC Santa Cruz and at the cutting edge of Humanities research, education, and public engagement. Read more>

    May 8th, 2019
    Announcing Three New THI GSIs

    Three Humanities graduate students will develop a new THI-sponsored course focused on “Futures.” The course is part of The Humanities Institute’s Questions That Matter project and is funded through the Expanding Humanities Initiative. Read more>