News | 8 November 2019

Introducing Four New THI Research Clusters


The Humanities Institute is proud to introduce our four new Research Clusters for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Drug Histories and Futures

This research cluster creates new points of connection between UC Santa Cruz faculty and graduate students with an interest in the social and historical impacts of psychoactive drugs. Principal investigator Ben Breen and affiliated faculty Amanda Smith and Matt O’Hara will lead the cluster’s investigation into opioids, psychiatric drugs such as anti-depressants, incarceration, and international persecution of drug use.


This research cluster on neo-authoritarianism aims to interrogate contemporary rightwing movements around the globe to pinpoint the continuities and discontinuities they present with historical forms of authoritarianism. Principal investigators Banu Bargu and Massimiliano Tomba are interested in tracing the impact of neoliberalism and, more recently, its waning authority, on configuring new modalities of authoritarianism.

The Body, (Anti)narrative, and Corporeal Creative Practices

This cluster investigates the way the relationship between narrative and the body continues to trouble feminist, queer, critical race, and disability studies. Principal investigators Micah Perks, Irene Lusztig, Megan Moodie, lead an exploration of the way this relationship is all the more vexing in the case of unruly, challenging, non-normative and/or crip bodies, especially during experiences of change, pain, or illness.

Feminist Futures in the Indian Ocean

In this cluster, Principal Investigators Vilashini Cooppan and Nidhi Mahajan respond to the way Indian Ocean studies has been dominated by economic historians and political theorists who theorize the ocean as metaphor and as object. The cluster aims to articulate a range of feminist approaches within the broader theoretical orientations of the social sciences, arts, and humanities, and their application to area studies. We envision a Feminist Indian Ocean epistemology that will extend the field’s commitment to decolonizing scholarship.