By Jeanette Kohl

Dear colleagues and friends of the CIS,

As we all find ourselves in the midst of the fall quarter already, I write to you with some updates and good news from the Center. I am happy to announce three new initiatives in the Being Human event stream, all of which are part of our efforts to create a robust cross-disciplinary discussion platform, emphasize the role of the Arts and Humanities in our university, and increase international exchange.

Thanks to the continued support of Rodolfo Torres, VC for Research and Economic Development, we will launch a second round of our successful mini labs, under the theme of Innovation Through Humanities. MiniLabs.02 supports experimental collaborations and cross-campus conversations with an interest in Humanities as a motor for innovation and problem-solving. The program provides opportunities for interdisciplinary brainstorming between faculty across different schools, with the potential for later grant applications. At least two members must be from CHASS, and each member will receive $ 500 in research funds. Mini labs can take place any time between January and September 2024. If you are interested, check out the application guidelines.

We are also hosting a new series of lunch conversations on current themes in medicine and society. The Albert Lunches, sponsored by Dr. Albert Stroberg, are organized together with David Lo, Senior Associate Dean for Research at the School of Medicine. The conversations will be recorded, and transcripts will be available on our website. Our first conversation is on Nov. 1, on: Just a Job? Medical Education between Science and Practice.

I am also proud to announce our first CIS Visiting International Scholar, Finnish scholar Jussi Parikka, who will join us in January 2025. Parikka is professor in digital aesthetics and culture at Aarhus University in Denmark and an internationally renowned media archaeology scholar. His work in technological culture and digital aesthetics provided the scholarly framework for UCR ARTS’s Digital Capture programming, part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time initiative in 2024/25. Parikka will conduct a student workshop and give a public lecture. His visit is funded by UCR’s VP for International Affairs, Marko Princevak.

I just came across an essay on the UC’s DEI policies in Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education online series that I want to share with you. It is co-authored by UC faculty Steven Brint and built as an open controversy, which I find heartening.

Finally, please join me in welcoming two new members of our advisory committee: Kris Neville, chair of Art History, and Bruce Link, distinguished professor of Sociology and Public Policy. We are glad to have you aboard!