Horizons of the Humanities

Horizons of the Humanities is a Mellon-funded initiative exploring the ways in which changes in technology and society shape humanistic inquiry, research, and knowledge formation.

Throughout the grant, humanities faculty, graduate students, and staff at the University of California will partner with media and technology professionals, prominent national and international scholars, and other key stakeholders to engage with four interrelated pillars of inquiry:

Techno-humanities: An examination of how advances in digital technology are contesting our understanding of what makes us human, including the manner in which algorithmic logic is increasingly able to imitate human expression. This pillar also explores how individuals adopt disparate identities across public, private, and digital interfaces.

  • Experimentation: Exploring the experimental as methodology for advancing cross-disciplinary dialectics in the humanities
  • Algorithmic Life: The diverse ways in which the algorithmic turn has influenced humanities scholarship, policymaking, surveillance states, artificial intelligence, and governance more generally

Social heterogeneity: An inquiry into the challenges and opportunities of the supercharged ethnoracial, cultural, religious, and political heterogeneities that have emerged as a result of hyper-mobilities wed to a contentious climate, and the pressing consequences raised for sociality, democracy, political engagement, and knowledge production.

  • Initiative on Civil War: Analyzing disruptions born from irreconcilable and contesting notions of being in the world.

Future of the university: A call to consider and advance the role of postsecondary humanistic learning in the face of socio-technological changes, with the recognition that these developments cannot be addressed through one single knowledge discipline or topic of study.

Research infrastructure: An analysis of the manner in which interdisciplinary humanities centers throughout the world can (and do) foster the type of innovative, experimental research required to address the challenges of traditional humanistic inquiry, and an exploration of the infrastructure necessary to do so.