Affiliated Programs and Research

(For an expanded description of these programs please visit our Department Highlights page.)

The Center for Cultural Studies remains the mainstay of interdisciplinary and collaborative intellectual life in the humanities at UCSC. Literature professors have long been involved in its governance and programming, and participate actively as audience-interlocutors and presenters at the weekly Wednesday noontime works-in-progress colloquium featuring both visitors and UCSC faculty from across the university.

The Center for Mediterranean Studies fosters research that reconceptualizes the histories and cultures of lands in and around the Mediterranean with an emphasis on contact, exchange, and other modes of interaction. It is affiliated with The Mediterranean Seminar, an umbrella organization of over 1500 affiliated scholars worldwide.

The Creative Writing Program, with its signature Living Writers Series, creates campus, community, state, and national relationships around creative and creative/critical practices. The Living Writers Series features both Literature undergraduate and graduate students and established and emerging writers with an emphasis on diversity in all its forms. The series aims to create community within the program and connect students to the larger writing world. Partnering with multiple campus units and funded primarily through annual grants, Living Writers authors have included Samuel R. Delany, Lauren Groff, M. NourbeSe Philip, and Valeria Luiselli. 

Co-directed by Professor Renee Fox and Research Professor John Jordan and headquartered at UC Santa Cruz, the Dickens Project is a multi-campus consortium devoted to research, teaching, and public outreach on the literary works and culture of Charles Dickens and 19th-century Anglophone culture. Its membership consists of over 40 colleges and universities from across North America and overseas. Now in its 41st year of operation, the Project sponsors an annual week-long summer institute, the Dickens Universe, that brings together scholars, teachers, undergraduates, graduate students, and members of the public. The Project also promotes the training and professionalization of graduate students to become leaders of the next generation of 19th-century scholars.

Co-founded and directed by Professor Sean Keilen, The Deep Read is a new annual program sponsored by The Humanities Institute (THI) that brings current students, faculty, and staff together with alumni and local residents to read one book. The program unfolds in courses in the ten colleges, visiting lectures and live interviews, public-facing programs on and off campus, and informal reading groups conducted on the internet.

As part of UCSC's Astrobiology Initiative, Professors Zac Zimmer and Martin Devecka convened an Ethics and Astrobiology Reading Group. The group is composed of faculty from four campus divisions (Physical and Biological Sciences, Humanities, Social Sciences and Arts), plus postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, staff and alumni. There are weekly meetings to read a variety of texts (NASA white papers, peer-reviewed science and anthropology papers, philosophical essays, and literary fiction). The Initiative funded a Graduate Student Research position currently held by a Literature graduate student. To sign up or learn more, please subscribe to the Ethics and Astrobiology group or email 

The Jewish Studies Program (administered by the History Department) and the Center for Jewish Studies (housed in The Humanities Institute) have long enjoyed a close relationship with the Literature Department. A number of courses that fulfill requirements for the Jewish Studies major and minor are offered through the Literature Department. Some of these are supported by Jewish Studies endowments generously created by the program's supporters, including the Diller Endowment, the Neufeld Levin Endowed Chair in Holocaust Studies, and the Baumgarten Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies, created in honor of the Jewish Studies Program's founder, Distinguished Professor of Literature Murray Baumgarten.

The Maghrib Workshop, funded by grants from the UC Humanities Research Institute and elsewhere, brings together researchers in interdisciplinary workshops to provide feedback for new scholarship on North Africa. Professor Camilo Gómez-Rivas was the PI, with collaborators from History, Jewish Studies, Politics, and History of Art and Visual Culture (HAVC). Since 2019, it has been incorporated into the newly established Center for Middle East and North Africa Studies (CMENA), an interdisciplinary center bringing together UCSC faculty and graduate students working on the wider region. CMENA has a unique strength in the area of Maghrib Studies. Several Literature professors are affiliated faculty with the Center. 

Shakespeare Workshop, a research center of The Humanities Institute (THI), was founded and directed by Professor Sean Keilen and creates public programs that bring the campus and local communities together to discuss contemporary issues through the lens of Shakespeare's works. Shakespeare Workshop partners with Santa Cruz Shakespeare (SCS) to produce two annual programs: Weekend with Shakespeare, a free public symposium about the summer season at SCS; and Undiscovered Shakespeare, a live broadcast of dramatic readings and discussions of Shakespeare’s little-known plays on Zoom. In 2021, Professor Keilen co-created and co-hosted "How to Live Like Shakespeare" with Professor Julia Lupton (UC Irvine). This weekly series of live seminars on Zoom explores practical wisdom for living well that Shakespeare develops and questions in his plays.

The Spanish Studies Program (administered by the Languages and Applied Linguistics Department [LAAL]) is an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental major taught by faculty in Literature and LAAL. It attracts primarily Hispanic/Latine students, often first-generation college students drawn to the program to learn about the cultural and intellectual history of their families’ countries of origin. The major is a program of study that contributes to UCSC’s status as a  Hispanic-serving institution.

Teaching and Learning in the Humanities is a collaboration of The Humanities Institute (THI) and the Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning (CITL). Founded by Professor Jody Greene, this multi-year research cluster and learning community works to define the purpose and process of an education in Humanities and to consider how to better use the tools—including scholarship and technology—available to instructors to teach the students of today, almost half of whom are first-generation college students coming from communities historically marginalized and minoritized in higher education and in the Humanities curriculum. The collaboration seeks to collectively redefine what an education in the Humanities should and can accomplish, with an eye toward the role of the Humanities in promoting values such as justice and liberation. 

The Humanities Institute Research Clusters support research in the Humanities, often serving as incubators for larger projects. Clusters involving Literature faculty and graduate students have included:

Making Sense of Memory

Memory of Forgotten Wars

Speculatively Science Fictions of the Future