The Humanities Institute

The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz is a hub for academic research, cross-discipline collaboration, and public engagement. We incubate ideas and foster innovation by securing outside funding and seeding campus projects, centers, and research clusters that enable UC Santa Cruz’s world-class faculty and students to tackle some of the most vexing issues of our day.

The Institute is a source, resource, and force for Humanities-based inquiry and engagement with world events. We’re passionate about expanding the field of Humanities scholarship with digital tools and an interdisciplinary focus. And we believe strongly that the core subjects of the Humanities—philosophy, history, language and literature—should be accessible to everyone. That’s why we’re committed to engaging with the broadest community possible—from first-generation undergraduate students, to local residents, to anyone interested in compelling ideas and making sense of this increasingly complex world.

In our era of fake news, big data, and debates over free speech, we ask questions that matter. Does the past offer lessons for the present? Can literature help us imagine the future? What is lost when a language dies? Is artificial intelligence beyond good and evil? As technology increasingly shapes our world, we believe the Humanities are more essential than ever in helping understand and answer society’s most pressing inquiries. The Humanities gives us the power to get granular while understanding broader contexts—in short, to see the forest and the trees. 
  • Engaging the Public: Our public programs encourage the local community to stay curious
  • Funding Research: We provide support for innovative humanities research and teaching.
  • Cultivating Critical Thinkers: We prepare undergraduate students to grapple with a complex world.
  • Rethinking Graduate Education: We prepare the next generation of leaders in the Humanities and beyond.

As part of the the University of California system, the Institute is able to leverage the resources of the finest public university system in the world. Part of what makes the UC system of universities great—and what makes us different from so many universities around the globe—is the central role of the Humanities in our educational experience, not only in the curriculum but also in the vibrant intellectual life of our campuses. Here at UC Santa Cruz, we possess an especially rich tradition of innovation, creativity, and collaboration in the Humanities.