Foundations in the Humanities

Susan Derwin
Germanic and Slavic Studies
UC Santa Barbara

Foundations in the Humanities is a program of correspondence courses in literary studies created for individuals incarcerated in California state prisons. By reading and responding to questions about texts in courses on literary studies, American literature, and the novel, program participants will develop analytic and interpretive tools for understanding themselves and their world(s) for the purpose of building better lives in prison and after release. Incarcerated individuals are introduced to the courses through on-site prison visits, after which UC Santa Barbara humanities and social science graduate students provide instruction via mail correspondence. Launched in 2016, the program was designed by UCSB’s Interdisciplinary Humanities Center Director Susan Derwin, in partnership with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’s restorative justice program, Partnership for Re-Entry Program (PREP). This year’s grant will support eight additional graduate student instructors and enable the program to enroll 120 new participants, thereby expanding the program’s impact on the UCSB campus and enabling it to reach new communities of incarcerated individuals. For the first time, as well, the program will be introduced into a women’s prison, with an inaugural rollout for the Central California Women’s Facility.