Despite the bleak budget situation, there is good news for faculty, students, staff and all those engaged in and by humanities research in the University of California. Last spring, after a comprehensive review of 139 proposals from existing and proposed multi-campus research units, programs, and initiatives, the UC Office of Research awarded major funding over five years to the University of California Humanities Network. The UC Humanities Network continues the work of the UC Humanities Initiative, begun in 1987 by UC President David Gardner, which has supported faculty and graduate student fellowships, individual humanities centers on all ten UC campuses, and the system-wide UC Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI), based at UC Irvine.
Building on the successes of the Humanities Initiative, the UC Humanities Network will links and leverages three related elements: the new UC Society of Fellows in the Humanities, a multi-tiered program of research fellowships for faculty and graduate students; the new UC Consortium of Humanities Centers, a system-wide network of campus humanities centers and multi-campus research groups; and the nationally-renowned UCHRI, which has a central networking role and itself continues to offer an ambitious portfolio of programs, including the UC California Studies Consortium. This month, the funds will begin flowing throughout the UC system for these programs.
The UC Society of Fellows in the Humanities will provide outstanding graduate students and faculty with stipend support for one year to conduct an extended research project. A call for Faculty Fellowships for 2010-2011 will be distributed at the beginning of November and will be administered by the UC Humanities Research Institute. Graduate Fellowships will be awarded by individual campuses. Effective 2010-2011, these fellowships will focus primarily on dissertation year support for graduate students who have advanced to candidacy. Both faculty and graduate student fellows will be asked to contribute to the intellectual life of their campuses and the UC system through interactions with humanities centers and participation in an annual meeting of a new Society of Fellows.
Funding for the UC Consortium of Humanities Centers supports a range of programming at each of the ten UC campuses. Working locally and in collaboration with each other and UCHRI, the centers will incubate campus-based and multi-campus research groups and will provide the sites for coordination, communication, and cross-fertilization of campus research programs and fellows.
The University of California Humanities Research Institute will continue to support a wide range of system-wide research activities, including residential research fellows and groups, short-term residencies, conferences and seminars, extramural explorations in support of public programming, the annual Seminar in Experimental Critical Theory, California Studies, and new flexible and innovative structures in support of multi-campus engagement. UCHRI will provide administrative, technological, and programmatic support for the Humanities Network. Calls for Proposals can be found online at uchri.org.
The UC Humanities Network, as with the UC Humanities Initiative, will be overseen by the system-wide UC President’s Advisory Committee on Research in the Humanities, which includes humanities deans (or equivalent administrators), the UCHRI director, a humanities center representative, and at-large faculty members. A full description of the Humanities Network and its component parts will be posted on a website to be announced soon. A new website will provide programmatic information, links to campus centers and projects, and eventually reports and publications by faculty and graduate student fellows and multi-campus working groups.
This important award acknowledges the importance of the humanities to California’s intellectual and cultural life, and to the University of California’s mission as a premier teaching and research institution. As it supports the individual and collaborative research of faculty and graduate students in an interdisciplinary network of campus-based humanities centers, multi-campus research groups, and the UCHRI, the UC Humanities Network will leverage the individual and collective strengths of our ten UC campuses. The Humanities Network will situate the humanities at the crossroads of important disciplinary and interdisciplinary debates, while promoting knowledge, discovery, and modes of understanding crucial to California and its local and global communities.
On behalf of all of our colleagues, we are pleased to make these funds available to the humanities community during this time of fiscal stress at the university. We look forward to the important and innovative research, programming, and collaborations that will develop over the next five years, and well into the future.
With best wishes,
Chair, UC President’s Advisory Committee on Research in the Humanities
Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, University of California, Santa Barbara
David Theo Goldberg
Director, University of California Humanities Research Institute