From its founding in 1989 through 2008, the Center hosted an all-star academic lineup of humanist scholars in its flagship program: the Distinguished Visiting Faculty Fellowships. For almost 20 years, the program invited eminent professors to host quarter-long faculty seminars on a topic of their choosing. Faculty guests and research agendas included Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak on institutional humanities pedagogy, Marxism and de-colonialism; Stanley Fish, on “Foundations Without Deity: The Structure and Dilemma of Liberal Thought”; Martha Nussbaum on the emotions; Toby Miller on “Cultural Citizenship”; and Carroll Smith-Rosenberg on “Nationalism and Colonialism,” among others.
In addition to the formal faculty seminar, visiting fellows met with graduate students, attended Center events and developed a wide range of contacts across the college. Many UCR faculty who participated in the seminars report the experience as one of the most formative and memorable in their careers. The program was closed in 2008 due to budget cuts related to the financial recession.