THI’s 2020-2021 Theme


In 2020-2021, The Humanities Institute is leading conversations at UC Santa Cruz and beyond on the many facets of Memory and its significance in our lives.

As movements across the United States spark a national reckoning over how history is remembered through public monuments and our communities grieve the devastation wrought by unprecedented fires on the West Coast, a profound discussion about memory could not be more important.

Memory manifests in many different forms, from the physical to the symbolic. It is a way of processing and conveying the human experience that is neither fixed nor unchanging. Instead, memory is fluid and contentious, it can be reconstructed in different places and times, it both shapes us and is shaped by us. Memory offers a lens into who we are as individuals, as part of a collective, and a nation.

The Humanities – from literature to poetry to history and art – are vital spaces of memory and essential for examining what we remember and what we forget.

What can memory tell us about our past, present, and future? What is the relationship between individual memory, collective memory, and history? How is memory passed down through generations? And why are certain moments remembered while others are silenced or left out?

Join us for a year-long discussion about memory that includes events on transitional justice, indigenous resistance, and a Questions That Matter course on “Memory and the Americas.” Together, our humanistic inquiry into memory and its multiple dimensions can help us navigate this critical time and build a more just future.

We look forward to peeling back the layers of Memory with you this year.

THI’s theme is part of our Expanding Humanities Impact and Publics project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.