News | 1 May 2018

The Humanities Institute Welcomes Rachel Deblinger


Back in Fall 2017, The Humanities Institute recharged its public-facing programs and resources for underrepresented graduate students thanks to generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The vision: to help empower the public and students to tackle the most vexing questions of our time, including politics, identity, and free expression.

Today, we’re proud to announce that Rachel Deblinger is joining the team to help realize the full potential of the “Expanding Humanities Impacts and Publics” initiative.

Deblinger has a broad background in humanities scholarship: Until recently, she served as Director of the Digital Scholarship Commons at the UCSC University Library where she launched the Digital Scholarship Commons and developed programs focused on digital research and pedagogy. Prior to arriving at UCSC, Deblinger completed her PhD in History at UCLA. Her doctoral research examined how American Jewish communal organizations crafted and communicated early postwar Holocaust narratives. Through her work, she’s developed valuable insights on studying the Humanities in a changing technological landscape and reaching new audiences. Her unique perspective will help THI use the grant to develop programming that achieves the shifting goals of the public university in today’s increasingly complex social and cultural landscape.

“We are thrilled that Rachel will be joining our team. Her work brings new modes of inquiry and audiences to Humanities research,” says Irena Polić, Managing Director of The Humanities Institute. “Her strategic vision will help The Humanities Institute develop relevant, provocative programming for the 21st century and reach a larger, more diverse public.”

For Deblinger, the Research Program Manager position represents the culmination of her work so far. She’ll increase access to academic opportunities for a diversifying student population and strengthen the relevance of Humanities studies for a growing audience. And the generous Mellon grant means that she—and the rest of THI—can achieve these goals on a larger scale than ever before.

“I am excited to create meaningful programming that builds connections, generates collaboration, and inspires moments of learning and exchange,” says Deblinger. “This is especially important work as universities rethink their purpose and their practices.”

The mission of the public university, technology, and public discourse are all changing rapidly and transforming the work of Humanities scholars.The Humanities Institute is thrilled to have the resources and staff to elevate our mission and continue empowering students, scholars, and the naturally curious to see the forest and the trees.