Impact Report


Download THI’s 2021-2022 Annual Impact Report (PDF)

Download THI’s 2020-2021 Student and Community Impact Report (PDF)

Cultivating a New Kind of Institute.

The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz is a global hub for academic research, cross-discipline collaboration, and public engagement. We support the work of faculty and students, and collaborate with our community partners to tackle the questions that matter to all of us.

We incubate ideas and foster collaboration by funding projects, centers, and research clusters that connect different scholars (often in different disciplines) to work on some of the biggest problems of our day. We see the big picture and the details. We see the forest and the trees.

Understanding the Humanities Today

Humanities are not a luxury; they are a necessity. We live in an era of fake news, big data, and debates over free speech.

That is why we are committed to engaging with the broadest community possible—from first-generation students and scholars in every discipline, to local residents and anyone interested in making sense of our complex world.

History, Literature, Language, Philosophy—the core elements of the Humanities—are also basic building blocks of a liberal arts education. And this kind of education, for which UC Santa Cruz is justly famous, remains more important than ever as science and technology increasingly shape our world. The Humanities have always played a crucial role in producing engaged citizens and critical thinkers.

Get Involved with The Humanities Institute

Today more than ever, we need critical thinking, human understanding, abstract thought, and curiosity. These tools are essential to our understanding of the world and will help us chart our way in a constantly evolving culture and society.

What we do is as diverse as UC Santa Cruz’s student body. On any given day, the work we support could help frame breaking news from China, Algeria, or Venezuela. An understanding of Shakespeare’s use of language informs how we think of identity, gender, even humor. And responsible progress in Artificial Intelligence needs ethical thinking and humanistic underpinnings.

The skills of the Humanities are critical. The work of the Humanities is a public good and it’s up to our most inclusive public institutions, and their supporters, to advance this research and share it with a wide audience.



Public Programs (since 2012)



Extramural Funds (since 2009)



Fellows Supported (since 1999)


Research Projects



Research Fellowships (since 1999)

YEAR IN REVIEW 2021-2022

Leading Public Engagement

We are engaging broad communities in dynamic Humanities scholarship through public events, campus and community partnerships, and experiential learning programs.


Community Impact by the Numbers







Programming Highlights

The Deep Read is an annual program that brings together students, staff, faculty, alumni, and members of the public to explore a compelling book by a living author. Our 2022 Deep Read book was Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom, a novel that explores 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. Over 7,000 Deep Read subscribers were given the opportunity to read together, share their insights, and attend presentations from the book’s author as well as UC Santa Cruz faculty.

THI dedicated the 2021-2022 academic year to explore the capacities, limitations, and possibilities of Imagination. Our theme included a series with Humanities faculty and emeriti to highlight connections between imagination and their work and reflect on the role of imagination in fashioning new worlds. We also launched a new course on Imagination in three colleges. Meanwhile, we co-sponsored 150 events with community and campus partners. Our Public Fellowships created opportunities for faculty and students to work with community organizations, including Watsonville is in the Heart, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society, and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.

YEAR IN REVIEW 2021-2022

Cultivating Excellence

The Humanities Institute provides scholars with vital support to pursue groundbreaking research and public humanities projects. We incubate ideas by funding projects, centers, and clusters that enable faculty and students to ask innovative research questions.

Campus Impact by the Numbers



Graduate Support

85 fellows, mentors, and instructors



Faculty Support

94 faculty, 43 projects



Undergraduate Support

44 fellows and research assistants

Recent Grant Highlights

Jennifer Derr (History) and Jennifer Reardon (Sociology)
Mellon Foundation

Jasmine Alinder (Dean of Humanities), Pranav Anand (Linguistics), and Laura Martin (Porter/THI)
National Endowment for the Humanities

Kirsten Gruesz (Literature)
Mellon Foundation


Invest in THI

Support our work and invest in the next generation of critical thinkers and citizens, bold new research in the Humanities, and events that spark fresh thinking and keep your community talking. Stay curious. Get involved with The Humanities Institute today.

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