About the IHR

The Institute for Humanities Research at the University of California, Santa Cruz is a laboratory for theorizing and implementing new visions of the Humanities via faculty research projects, graduate and undergraduate education, and public programs.

What are we doing when we do the Humanities and why? These basic questions drive our work at the Institute for Humanities Research (IHR). The core subjects of the Humanities – ethics, history, language, identity, religion, and so on – are also the core elements of human experience, in general, even if we sometimes talk about these things differently in the university than we do in our home or in the public square.

This year the IHR is celebrating its fifteen-year anniversary. Since 1999, we have given out 69 fellowships to faculty, 148 to graduate students, 150 to undergraduate students, and have seeded 22 research clusters. Over the past decade and a half, we have grown into a vibrant hub of Humanities research on campus and a model for other Humanities centers in the University of California system. With our help, faculty and students have developed individual and collaborative research projects at the university and numerous sites around the world, with support from the Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, Fulbright, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and more.

We are launching several new projects that will extend our reach both locally and globally. In September we will be hosting a gathering of scholars and students from partner institutions in Australia, Germany, and Wisconsin to explore the topic of indigeneity. The event will inaugurate the Integrative Graduate Humanities Education and Research Training (IGHERT) program which seeks to re-imagine how we train graduate students in the Humanities. IGHERT is supported by a major grant from the Mellon Foundation and the Consortium for Humanities Centers and Institutes which was awarded following an international competition. In January I will moderate a dialogue in downtown Santa Cruz on the theme of “Cosmos” with Professors Minghui Hu from the Department of History and Anthony Aguirre from the Department of Physics, which will literally seek to bring the university to the public.

Finally, in 2015, the UC-Santa Cruz will also be celebrating an important anniversary—its 50th. We are proud that the university has designated the IHR as one of its giving priorities in the capital campaign. And so, as we turn towards the future, we invite you to join us as we continue to ask questions that matter.

The University of California is the finest public university system in the world. A crucial part of what makes us 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.

Please join us in celebrating this heritage and building on this foundation.


Established in 1999, the IHR has grown dramatically since its inception and now serves as an umbrella for a multitude of research centers, research clusters, and multi-campus research projects. With these and other initiatives, the IHR serves as an incubator for new ideas and provides crucial support to faculty and students at every stage of the research process.  One of our key functions is to identify promising graduate students and to help them become productive researchers through mentorship programs, fellowships, and internship opportunities.

As the designated University of California, Santa Cruz Humanities Center, the IHR is part of the University of California systemwide Humanities Network and is able to leverage the human and intellectual resources of the finest public university system in the world.


UCSC Green Office Program logo

The IHR became a certified Green Office in 2014. Visit the Humanities Green Team page to learn more.


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