Event Recaps | 21 May 2023

The Deep Read – Elizabeth Kolbert in Conversation with Ezra Klein


On May 21, 2023 The Humanities Institute produced our fourth and largest annual Deep Read program. Pulitzer. Prize-winning science journalist Elizabeth Kolbert and NY Times columnist and podcast host Ezra Klein spoke at UC Santa Cruz’s Quarry Amphitheater, as we closed the book on the 2023 Deep Read exploration of Under a White Sky. Over 750 Deep Readers attended the thought-provoking event.

Watch the video of the event here:

View photos of the event here:


Digging in to Under a White Sky

As we do every year, we read our annual text closely and comprehensively with the help from scholars at UC Santa Cruz. We read Elizabeth Kolbert’s book with the Deep Read community over 4 weeks, starting in late-April.

Here’s what we did:

Email Explorations
We produced 4 weekly emails that reflected on a different aspect of the book, guided by this year’s Deep Read scholars.

Faculty Salon
On May 4, we hosted a salon-style event at the Cowell Hay Barn where our participating professors led a discussion of the book with UCSC students and the broader Deep Read community.

Community Salon
On June 7, we hosted a Community Salon at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. Co-sponsored by Lookout Santa Cruz, this event focused on actions and projects that local organizations are taking in the face of climate change, providing ways for the community to engage locally with climate issues raised in Kolbert’s book. Ecology Action, Elkhorn Slough Foundation, and Regeneración Pajaro Valley led the discussion moderated by Jody Biehl.

The Class
This year’s Deep Read course—Climate Narratives: Elizabeth Kolbert and the Literature of Climate Change—featured climate journalist Elizabeth Kolbert’s climate journalism alongside other narrative genres, from film and comics about climate change to realist and dystopian climate fiction. It was taught by Laura Martin at Porter College.  Students also had the opportunity to meet Elizabeth Kolbert during her visit to campus and engage with her and her work.

The Deep Read is an annual program of The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz. We invite curious minds to think deeply about books and the most pressing issues of our contemporary moment with the help from scholars at UC Santa Cruz.

The Deep Read Program is made possible through the generous support of the Helen and Will Webster Foundation.