The Center for Cultural Studies at UC Santa Cruz was founded in the Spring of 1988 as a part of the University of California’s President’s Humanities Initiative. It is now approaching its thirtieth year. Through an ensemble of research clusters, conferences, workshops, visiting scholars, publications, film series, and a Resident Scholars Program, the Center has encouraged a broad range of research in the rapidly evolving field of cultural studies. An external review of the Center in 1993 confirmed the Center’s reputation for innovation, a reputation that has grown steadily, on the campus, in the nation, and abroad. The Center’s current activities include lectures and colloquia.
The international field of cultural studies has emerged from the challenges posed to traditional humanistic and social scientific agendas by new research strategies in visual studies; anthropology, ethnography, and folklore; feminist studies; comparative sociology and politics; semiotics; social, cultural, literary, and political theory; science studies; colonial discourse analysis; ethnic studies; and the histories of sexualities. These challenges, and the new areas of scholarly activity they stimulate, compose the heart of cultural studies at UC Santa Cruz. Thus, the Center for Cultural Studies’ concern is to foster research across divisional as well as disciplinary boundaries. While based in the humanities, it engages with the “interpretive” or “historical” social sciences, as well as with theoretically informed work in the arts. The membership of the Center’s Advisory Board and faculty/graduate student participation in its events clearly reflect this cross-divisional agenda.