About the Humanities Division

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.

Graduates of the Humanities at UCSC pursue lives and careers in banking, business, diplomacy, education, entertainment, healthcare, law, medicine, public policy, public service and social entrepreneurship. Research and scholarship conducted by Humanities trained graduates and faculty inform the policies, products and plans of governments, institutions, corporations and communities.

Our faculty’s accomplishments in a diverse range of disciplines speak to the intellectual breadth and flexibility that distinguishes our division’s work. Feminist Studies Professor Bettina Aptheker, who along with Literature Professor and National Book Award finalist Karen Tei Yamashita was awarded an esteemed UC Presidential Chair in the emerging field of Feminist Critical Race and Ethnic Studies in 2012. Also in 2012, Linguistics Professor Sandy Chung was awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for her contributions to teaching and research in Linguistics. In 2013, lecturer and alumnus Gary Young received the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America for best original poem on a humanitarian theme. Young previously received the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America in 2009. The following year, he was named the first-ever Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County. Literature Professor Emeritus Nathaniel Mackey took the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship for poetry. Another UC Presidential Chair, Professor Emeritus Edmund Burke, founded the Center for World History, which is having a dramatic impact on the way we understand and teach that discipline.   

We invite you to discover the Humanities at UC Santa Cruz! Explore this web site. Attend a public lecture given by a world-class UCSC scholar. Read a book written by a distinguished faculty member. And please consider supporting the Division's education, research, and outreach activities with a financial gift. Your generous commitment will sustain the path-breaking scholarship and rigorous teaching that will transform our world for decades to come.