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 postsecondary knowledge formation.

Throughout the grant, humanities faculty, graduate students, and staff throughout 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.

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, and the pressing consequences raised for sociality, democracy, political engagement, and knowledge production.

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 (however broadly defined).

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 these kinds of the challenges to traditional humanistic inquiry, and an exploration of the infrastructure necessary to do so.


Interdisciplinary research models, rich sources of experimentation and innovation, are as critical to Horizons of the Humanities as the themes they investigate. Scholars collaborate in person and virtually through humanities studios, research residencies, mobile researcher networking events and graduate student seminars, non-traditional postdoctoral fellowships, and a variety of public partnerships.

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