About the Humanities Division

Photo by Crystal Birns.

What does it mean to be human, to analyze and construct the human experience? These are the fundamental questions that guide and unite the learning, teaching and scholarship conducted in UC Santa Cruz’s Humanities Division. The exploration and discussion of this query has culminated in some of humanity’s most deeply and widely valued beliefs and teachings about ourselves and the world in which we live.

Built in 2006, the Humanities buildings provide 85,000 square feet of classrooms, teaching and research space, language and computer labs, and offices. The Humanities Division is one of the original academic areas of research and teaching in the university. 

Our Departments

  • Feminist Studies, founded in 1974, is today one of the oldest, largest and most well regarded departments in the nation focusing on gender and sexuality studies.
  • History is a leader in developing a global perspective on “world history” and focuses on underrepresented and transnational areas such as East Asia, the Americas, and women’s and environmental history.
  • History of Consciousness is a field founded at UCSC. For nearly 40 years it has operated at the intersection of established and emergent disciplines and fields, acquainting students with leading intellectual trends in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.
  • Languages and Applied Linguistics offers instruction in 10 modern languages. The department also emphasizes the study of cultural values pertaining to the communities of speakers where the languages are spoken.
  • Linguistics consistently ranks among the top ten programs nationally, focusing distinctively on combining theoretical and experimental work with particular attention to minority languages.
  • Literature has from its beginnings approached both literary and cultural studies from a comparative and transnational perspective.
  • Philosophy has trained students and fostered research in fundamental historical and contemporary ideas about logic, analytics and perspectives that frame a philosophical view of the human world—including new lines of inquiry in medicine, science, environmentalism and human rights.
  • The Writing Program courses approach writing as one of the most important ways we have of making discoveries about ourselves and the world around us and of communicating these insights to others. The courses offered through this program teach skills of grammar, organization and strategies of invention, composition, revision, and editing.


The Humanities Institute

As the designated UC Santa Cruz Humanities Center, The Humanities Institute (THI) is part of the University of California system-wide Humanities Network and is able to leverage the human and intellectual resources of the finest public university system in the world. The Humanities Institute is a vibrant hub for academic research, cross-discipline collaboration, and public engagement. We support new directions in research, pedagogy, training, and public engagement. Through fellowship opportunities we directly support the work of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates. These grants provide much needed time and resources for fellows to pursue their Humanities work. Since 1999, we have supported over 450 scholars. Our current initiatives include Digital Humanities, Graduate Training, Humanities Teaching and Learning, and Public Engagement.

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