Our Mission

Established in 1989, the Center for Ideas and Society is an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to advancing humanistic studies and creativity at UC Riverside. The Center’s fellowships, research workshops and public events strengthen the intellectual and creative life of the university. The Center is committed to disseminating the results of its programs to the Riverside community and beyond.

The Center also houses the Institute for the Study of Immigrant Religions and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program.

The Humanities

The work of the humanities is too often dismissed as a luxury for, or irrelevant to, a world that is increasingly measured by the advances of, for example, engineering science, medicine and technology.

Yet, if various sciences explore the physical, chemical and biological world, if engineering harnesses technology for human and environmental purposes, and if medicine seeks to improve human health and wellbeing, the humanities are equally important for they ask what scientific, technological and medical advances are for. What are the meaning and ends of these endeavors? How are they related to morality, justice and/or happiness and how are we to understand what morality, justice and happiness are?

The humanities and humanistically oriented social sciences illuminate the ways in which human beings create and explore a distinctly human life. Disciplines such as History, Literature, Philosophy, Language, Anthropology, Sociology and Religion examine our practices, activities and attempts at meaning-making and try to understand who we are as humans in all our diversity.

We ask: what is it to be human? Who do we want to be? What are the various forms of human flourishing?

Interdisciplinary Dialogue

At the Center for Ideas and Society our goal is to bring the humanities disciplines into dialogue with one another, with the sciences, engineering and medicine, and with the surrounding community.

We do this by

  • funding interdisciplinary research through research teams, faculty fellowships, graduate student research grants and co-sponsorship of campus events
  • promoting public humanities events such as conferences, lectures, round-table discussions and performances
  • hosting visiting scholars, writing groups and departmental retreats

Join the Conversation

We welcome you to join us at an upcoming event! We’d love to hear your feedback or ideas for a program or research initiative. Your financial support ensures that the Center can continue to fund humanities research and create quality programming.