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INTERIM DIRECTOR BETH LEVY


The year 2011-2012 brought sig- nificant changes to the UC Davis


Humanities Institute, with an Inter- im Director at the helm, a relatively new Associate Director, and five fresh faces on the Faculty Advisory Board. The much anticipated roll- out of a new and improved website has made it easier than ever to see the results of our continued mis- sion: bridging the boundaries that separate humanistic disciplines, building dialogues between schol- ars in different fields and at different stages of their careers, and helping UC Davis humanists communicate their good work to the wider world.


In other respects, 2011-2012 was a challenging year for humanists, and indeed for all of us at UC Davis—a year marked by peaceful student protests and pepper spray, econom- ic crisis, state budget cuts, and press- ing questions about access to higher education. While these could eas- ily seem unwelcome “distractions” from the ongoing work of scholar- ship and teaching, I have seen again and again how faculty and students have stretched to reach the greater goals of engagement with current events and renewed commitment to the scholarly exchange that makes the public university worth fighting for in the first place.


Expanding to the regional level,


this year marks the climax of the Art of Regional Change [ARC], a three- year collaboration with the Center for Regional Change in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Directed by jesikah ma- ria ross, this initiative represents the best of the public humanities, bring- ing together scholars, students, art- ists, and community groups to ad- dress shared concerns about our social and natural environments. Unveiled in fall 2012, ARC’s power- ful “Restore/Restory” project took shape in a site-based audio tour of Yolo County’s Cache Creek Nature Preserve, and an interactive website


It has been a year with much to


celebrate: the brilliant launch of the Civility Project, a new Arts Fac- ulty Showcase lecture series, the first flowering of Mellon Research Initiatives devoted to Early Mod- ern Studies and Environments & Societies, new directions for the California Cultures Initiative, and the culminating chapter in the Art of Regional Change, to name just a few. At the same time, important groundwork has been laid for the future success of two new Mellon Research Initiatives, the 2012-2013 Sawyer Seminar “Indigenous Cos- mopolitics,” and a whole host of graduate student research projects soon to reach completion.


‘‘It has been a year with much to celebrate’’ In October, we were encouraged


to reflect on the history of protest and free speech in the UC system, through the multifaceted Civil- ity Project, co-directed by Jessica Loudermilk and Carolyn de la Peña (American Studies). As part of our Conversations in the Humanities series, Cristina Gonzalez (Educa- tion) shared her thoughts on the UC system and the challenges it faces; among our co-sponsored events in February was an invigo- rating “teach-in” featuring activist and scholar Angela Davis as keynote speaker and inquiries into social justice by faculty in Hart Hall and students from across campus.


with input from more than 200 par- ticipants about the richly layered history of this unique place. In addi- tion to funding course development grants and research stipends for fac- ulty and graduate students, the Cali- fornia Cultures Initiative sponsored an ambitious research seminar called “California, the Great Excep- tion?” directed by Julie Sze (Ameri- can Studies) and Tom Beamish (So- ciology); and the quarterly BOOM was honored by the Library Journal as one of the “Best Magazines of 2011” for its engaging treatment of a wide range of Californian topics, in- cluding a special issue built around the contributions of faculty in the


d h i . u c d a v i s . e d u 05


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