Dear colleagues and friends,

At last, summer is around the corner – after what felt like an unusually long and demanding academic year. We did get a lot done at the Center for Ideas and Society, with the revamping of our internal structure, two new event streams designed by Dylan and me with Katharine’s input, and a variety of activities on zoom and in person, most notably perhaps our two impromptu zoom events at the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, attended by a lot of you.

We were also dealing with an unexpected event at the beginning of spring quarter: the abrupt loss of our home in College Building South, which gave us a big headache Luckily, we now have a new temporary home on the top floor of College Building North, right next door. Please come and join us there for in-person events, starting in the fall (fingers crossed)!

That said, I will be on leave for the entire year of 2022/23, on a fellowship at the Hamburg Institute for Advanced Study (HIAS). While I am very much looking forward to the extended time in Germany, I also know that I will miss UCR and the CIS. I am planning to participate in a couple of events each quarter, and I will be returning to SoCal for several weeks in the spring. In my absence, Dylan and Katharine will take care of most of the CIS programming, with the exception of a few events that have already been in the making for the “Being Human” event stream.

I also wanted to update you on a couple of other things: “Being Human” is partnering with UCR Arts for the 2024 Pacific Standard Time (PST) initiative, a collaboration of art institutions across SoCal, made possible largely through Getty Foundation grants. We are planning for additional programming around the CMP’s “Digital Capture” project, which is part of PST. A huge thank you to our Vice Provost for International Affairs, Marko Princevak, who agreed to fund our first international CIS Visiting Scholar for this project collaboration with the CMP, and to Susan Laxton (Art History) and Judith Rodenbeck (MCS) for taking the helm on things.

Conversations with the Getty Research Institute and Museum have been started about joint events with the CIS on our Palm Desert Campus in 2023/24, such as curator talks and events with guest scholars. Another set of conversations with the Medical School and the Center for Health Disparities Research as part of a new CIS “Connecting Colleges” initiative is underway; the series of joint discussions with physicians (When Will This Pandemic End?, What Happens When We Nearly Die?) will be continued with an event on Life at all Costs? in 2022/23.

Finally, a heartfelt shout-out to our donors Barbara Brink and Georgia Elliott for generously sponsoring two graduate student travel grants to Germany in 2022/23. We never have enough of those, and their contribution to the education of our graduate students will make a big difference! You will hear from us from Berlin in this newsletter.

If you have ideas for events or collaborations, please do not hesitate to be in touch! My involvement with the CIS will be noticeably reduced in 2022/23, but I am looking forward to robust and energetic planning for the year after.

Warmly, wishing you a productive and calm summer,