News | 13 March 2012

UCSC to Showcase UC-wide Research in Humanities at Museum of Art & History


Free public event will explore vital role of the Humanities in shaping the future

The UC Santa Cruz Institute of Humanities Research (IHR) will host the second annual gathering of the systemwide UC Society of Fellows in the Humanities on Saturday, April 21, at the Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz.

A free public event, the forum will showcase the exceptional research efforts underway in the field of Humanities–both at UCSC and throughout the entire UC system.

“The Society of Fellows will bring together faculty researchers and rising scholars from around the state to share the excitement of their work in the Humanities,” noted UCSC humanities dean William Ladusaw.

“Though their projects contribute to many different academic fields, the focus here will be on engaging with each other and the public about the social value of humanistic work,” he added.

The afternoon will include a series of panels moderated by UCSC humanities faculty, as well as poster presentations covering a wide range of research–from the ethnography of disasters, to the fate of the novel.

Held in downtown Santa Cruz, this event represents a new partnership between UCSC and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH). In addition to the presentations, the museum will be free and open to the public for the entire day.

“By taking this event off campus we’re hoping to break down the conceptual wall between what we do in the university and what matters to the general public,” said Nathaniel Deutsch, director of the UC Santa Cruz Institute of Humanities Research.

“The core subjects of the Humanities—ethics, history, language, identity, religion, and so on—are core elements of human experience, in general, even if we sometimes talk about these things differently in the university then we do in our homes or in the public square.”

“By literally bringing the university to the public, we want to show that what we do in the Humanities both reflects and helps to shape conversations of great importance to everyone,” Deutsch added.

Nina Simon, who recently took over the reins as executive director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH), also praised the new collaboration.

“The MAH is focused on being a county hub for exploration of art, history, ideas and culture,” said Simon. “We’re thrilled to partner with the IHR on such a dynamic event that extends our mission and bridges community in a new way.”

The President’s Faculty Research Fellowships in the Humanities were created in 1986 as part of UC President David Gardner’s Humanities Initiative.

Now a core program of the UC Humanities Network, established in 2009, these competitively selected fellowships support the most compelling research projects of faculty and graduate humanities scholars across the UC system.

Research and education in the humanities provides both informational and cultural literacy to help people think clearly about such issues as the future of medical research, stem-cell research, nanotechnology, educational policy, human rights, and environmental and social sustainability.

Taking into account the rapid pace of globalization and technological change, the goal of the UC Humanities Network is to educate citizens to make informed ethical choices in an increasingly complex world.

Campus humanities centers play a crucial role in helping to connect dissertation fellows to each other, to multicampus research groups, and to other center activities, as well as offering mentoring and professional development programs to help outstanding students realize their full potential as doctoral researchers.

At the annual meeting held at a different UC campus each year, Humanities Fellows report on the research they’ve undertaken during their fellowship year, and participate in a public forum about key issues and trends in humanities research, describing the impact of this work.


The second annual gathering of the UC President’s Society of Fellows in the Humanities takes place on Saturday, April 21, at the Museum of Art and History in downtown Santa Cruz, beginning at 1 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. This event is sponsored by the UC Humanities Network, UCSC Institute for Humanities Research, UCSC Division of Humanities, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, and local Santa Cruz businesses. For more information, call (831) 459-3527, email, or visit the event web site.
By Scott Rappaport