News | 21 September 2023

Technology Theme: Directors’ Letter


Dear Friends of The Humanities Institute,

We are excited to connect with you for a new academic year. We are in a moment of seemingly daily technological advancements, and in recognition of that, we are dedicating the 2023-2024 academic year at THI to “Technology.” With a focus on this theme, we will examine the relationship between technology and humanity throughout history and the transformations, threats, and opportunities that lie ahead. 

While these developments are momentous, the types of decisions that we are facing are not entirely new – throughout history, humans have created technologies that, in turn, have shaped our lives in profound, species-altering ways. And humanistic disciplines have developed holistic, nuanced lenses for understanding the nature and impact of these technologies on human life and thought, ones that can help us historicize, problematize, and contextualize our present moment. 

Humanists at UC Santa Cruz have long led the way in close analysis of science and technology, work that has shaped our understanding of how these disciplines are entangled with the human condition. This year’s research clusters and signature events, including the Deep Read, will continue that tradition, highlighting the importance of humanistic insight in responding to technological change. For example, we are excited to present an event with Dr. Joy Buolamwini to discuss her new book, Unmasking AI: My Mission to Protect What Is Human in a World of Machines.

From privacy concerns to the impact of automation on jobs, we need the critical thinking, social perceptiveness, and complex problem solving that humanists bring to guide our decisions about new technologies. 

Join us for this important year examining the humanities contributions to understanding and shaping technological change in our society so that we can build a better future.

More soon,

Pranav Anand
Faculty Director, The Humanities Institute

Irena Polić
Managing Director, The Humanities Institute

Learn more about THI’s 2023-2024 theme on our Technology page.