The Center hosts an array of programs that help develop humanities and humanities-related research and also help connect humanities scholars with the community.

Click the + links below for more information on these programs.

Hosted at the Center, CHASS Academic Book Clubs are comprised of 6-8 members (faculty, staff and/or students, ideally from two or more departments) who meet on campus at least four times over the quarter to read and discuss an academic title selected for its potential to engage multiple perspectives, disciplines and methods in critical inquiry.

Book Club Awards are made each quarter on a rolling basis, as funds permit. Awards of up to $300 cover books (one for each confirmed participant). Coffee and meeting facilities are provided at the Center in College Building South.

Winter 2019

Birth of Biopolitics
Conveners: Stefan Kehlenbach and Sean Long

iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us by Jean M. Twenge
Conveners: Annika Speer and Kalina Michalska

Worldmaking: Race, Performance and the Work of Creativity by Dorinne Kondo
Convener: Deborah Wong

Learning and using more than one language has many benefits, but there are also misconceptions about what it means to be bilingual. Some believe that exposing infants to more than one language will confuse them and harm their development or that it is impossible to fully learn a new language as an adult. The new research on language learning and bilingualism shows that these misconceptions are false. Bilingualism changes the minds and brains of babies in ways that produce greater cognitive flexibility and openness to new learning. Adults are also far more open to new language learning than we previously understood. New findings on older adults suggest that lifelong bilingualism may protect them against the cognitive declines that individuals experience normally as they age and also against the symptoms of dementia. How can we better communicate the excitement of these new findings?

Bilingualism Matters began as a public information service at the University of Edinburgh in 2008, in response to a lack of information about bilingualism in the community. In October, 2017, Bilingualism Matters at UCR launched a new branch to bring together researchers at UCR and elsewhere with the Southern California community. This region is a linguistically diverse environment and UCR, as one of a small number of research intensive HSI, is no exception. UCR is one of the most diverse of the UC campuses. A large percentage of our students are bilingual. Many are heritage speakers who grew up in homes with a language other than English and were only first exposed to English when they entered primary school. At the same time, within universities across the country and internationally, there has been an explosion of research on bilingualism, to understand what bilingualism means historically, politically, and linguistically in the context of immigration and border communities, to identify the patterns of learning that might promote the acquisition of more than one language, and to determine how a life in two languages might come to have positive consequences for social development and for the quality of the mind and brain. Bilingualism Matters brings together the lives that are lived in two languages and the research that uses bilingualism as a tool to illuminate issues of scholarship.

The program hosts speakers and events throughout the year. To learn more about Bilingualism Matters, visit their Facebook page or email bilingualismmattersucr@gmail.com.


Judith Kroll, Psychology
Cova Lamar-Prieto, Hispanic Studies
Christine Chiarello, Psychology
Hyejin Nah, Anthropology
Vrinda Chidambaram, Comparative Literature
Liz Davis, Psychology

The CHASS Mid-Career Research Initiative (CMCRI) focuses on fostering research productivity, leadership skills, and professional balance for associate-level faculty in the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. A multi-unit collaboration hosted by the Center for Ideas and Society, CMCRI hosts working groups, online support forums, and annual retreats—often geared towards women faculty, who are underrepresented in the full professor ranks—that are designed to support productivity in research, teaching, and service for mid-career faculty.

CMCRI is sponsored by the CHASS Dean’s Office, the Center for Ideas & Society, and by contributions from the participant’s home departments.

Working Groups

CMCRI organizes faculty to attend bi-weekly working group meetings, which are designed to provide support and accountability for research and writing. These two-hour meetings may focus on idea-sharing and problem-solving or on writing accountability and professional development. Working together, scholars create an invigorating and motivating community of intellectual discourse. Members are encouraged to exchange work as desired. Faculty participate in a CMCRI online accountability group to encourage progress toward research and writing goals.

During the summer months, the Center welcomes scholars from all fields of the humanities, arts and social sciences to use its meeting spaces or offices for an on-going writing retreat. Our in-residence scholars report that the quiet, non-institutional feel of the building and the distance from departmental responsibilities enhances creativity, productive writing time and intellectual engagement. Some choose to come by once a week, while others use a private office daily to research and write. If this sounds appealing, contact Center director Georgia Warnke. georgia.warke@ucr.edu

Participants include:

Juliann Allison (Associate Professor, Gender and Sexuality Studies)
Andrea Denny Brown (Associate Professor, English)
Katherine Kinney (Associate Professor, English)
Deborah Willis (Associate Professor, Engish)
Susan Zieger (Associate Professor, English)
Bronwyn Leebaw (Associate Professor, Political Science)
Deborah Wong (Professor, Music)
Goldberry Long (School of Medicine)
Patricia Morton (Associate Professor, Art History)
Jennifer Nájera (Associate Professor, Ethnic Studies)
Alejandra Dubkovsky (Assistant Professor, History)
Rebecca Kugel (Associate Professor, History)
Jennifer Hughes (Associate Professor, History)
Judith Rodenbeck (Associate Professor, Media and Cultural Studies)
Carole-Anne Tyler (Associate Professor, English)
Michelle Raheja (Associate Professor, English)
Setsu Shigematsu (Associate Professor, Media and Cultural Studies)
Freya Schiwy (Associate Professor, Media and Cultural Studies)
Sarita See (Associate Professor, Media and Cultural Studies)

Annual Retreats

Each spring, CMCRI hosts a day-long retreat at the Center for Ideas and Society. The retreat focuses on short-term and long-term planning, advancing from associate professor to full professor, and practical writing strategies. In the fall, CMCRI hosts an off-campus writing retreat to encourage collaboration, foster support and accountability, and practice writing strategies.

For more information or to join this initiative, contact: Dana Simmons (History) dana.simmons@ucr.edu.

A quiet, creative space for CHASS faculty.
Coffee + Quiet + Time = Writing

Fridays, 12:00-3:00 PM
College Building South
Room 114

CHASS faculty are invited to join us for free coffee (or tea) and quiet, self-directed writing sessions at the Center each Friday afternoon.

View the UCR campus map or download a print-friendly map of UC Riverside.

Note: Parking at College Building South (Lot 3) or the lot next door (Lot 8) requires a red or blue permit. Our location is a pleasant 10-12 minutes walk from the bell tower, up the hill to Lot 3, second building at the back of the Lot. For questions about accessibility and access, please contact Katharine: katharine.henshaw@ucr.edu.

Our popular and long-running series returns in January! In honor of the Center’s 30 anniversary, the 2019 series theme is “How Far We’ve Come.” Each of the conversations in our 4-part series will reflect on the history of thought and development in that month’s topic– and ask where research might lead us in the future.

Cohosted with the UCR Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the UCR Palm Desert Center, the annual series arose our of our Disciplines in Dialogue (formerly ‘Dueling Disciplines’) program. Each discussion features two UC Riverside professors offering distinct perspectives on the selected topic and audience members are invited to join in on the conversation.

Each monthly discussion will be hosted twice: on select Tuesdays at 3:30 PM in Riverside and Wednesdays at 6 PM in Palm Desert.


UCR Extension Center
1200 University Ave, Riverside, CA 92507
Parking is available in the east and west lots and in the parking structure south of the UCR Extension Center. Vehicles must display a permit daily until 10 pm. Learn more.

Palm Desert

UCR Palm Desert Center
75080 Frank Sinatra Dr, Palm Desert, CA 92211
Free parking is available for all events in this series.Learn more.

**Events to be announced**

Made possible by gifts from Emory’s family and friends, the Emory Elliott Book Award honors the book published by a CHASS faculty member during the previous academic year that, in the judgment of the selection committee, best exemplifies the values that characterized Professor Elliott and his contributions to life and letters.

Among these many contributions are the capacity to recognize complexity together with the passion to clarify, the ability to contribute to a conversation rather than to summarize agreements already established, and the intent to further a tradition of creative and scholarly munificence.

Submissions and self-nominations from CHASS faculty are accepted through October each year for books published in the preceding academic year. (Ex. A book published between July 2018 and June 2019 is eligible for the 2019 award if submitted by October 2019.) Email nominations to Georgia.Warnke@ucr.edu. Include Author, Book Title, Publisher, and Date of Publication.

Annual submission deadline: October 15. (Earlier submissions appreciated to allow time for review.)

2018 Winner

Sang-Hee Lee (Anthropology)
Close Encounters with Humankind: A Paleoanthropologist Investigates Our Evolving Species

What can fossilized teeth tell us about the life expectancy of our ancient ancestors? How did farming play a problematic role in the history of human evolution? How can simple geometric comparisons of skull and pelvic fossils suggest a possible origin to our social nature? And what do we truly have in common with the Neanderthals? In this captivating international bestseller, Close Encounters with Humankind, Korea’s first paleoanthropologist, Sang-Hee Lee, explores some of our greatest evolutionary questions from new and unexpected angles. This book is the perfect read for anyone curious about where we came from and what it took to get us here. As we mine the evolutionary path to the present, Lee helps us to determine where we are heading and tackles one of our most pressing scientific questions―does humanity continue to evolve?

The book was awarded the W.W. Howells Book Award by the Biological Anthropology Section of the American Anthropological Association. The award is given to honor a book that represents “the highest standard of scholarship and readability,” and informs “a wider audience of the significance of physical or biological anthropology in the social and biological sciences, and demonstrate a biocultural perspective.” It is now in five languages (Korean, English, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, and Japanese). Next year (2019) the Greek, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, and Russian editions will be out.

Must-read in 2018 by Forbes, 

Must-read in 2018 by New Scientist

Best Book of the Month by Amazon

No. 1 New Release by Amazon

Nature Review

New York Times Book Review

Past Winners

  • 2017: Charmaine Craig (Creative Writing) – Miss Burma
  • 2016: Anthea Kraut (Dance) – Choreographing Copyright: Race Gender, and Intellectual Property Rights in American Dance
  • 2015: Conrad Rudolph (Art History) – The Mystic Ark: Hugh of Saint Victor, Art, and Thought in the Twelfth Century
  • 2014: Amanda J. Lucia (Religious Studies) – Reflections of Amma: Devotees in a Global Embrace
  • 2013: Maudemarie Clark (Philosophy) – The Soul of Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil
    Perry Link (Comparative Literature) – An Anatomy of Chinese: Rhythm, Metaphor, Politics
  • 2012: Priya Srinivasan (Dance) – Sweating Saris: Indian Dance as Transnational Labor
  • 2011: Michelle Raheja (English) – Reservation Reelism: Redfacing, Visual Sovereignty, and Representations of Native Americans in Film

The “Hot off the Presses” series features presentations by CHASS faculty on their recently published books. While their book is still “hot off the press”, the authors give an informal talk about the book, its themes and expected impact, and/or their experience of writing it. Each talk is followed by a question and answer session and a reception. The Center adds these new titles to its growing collection of CHASS publications. Eligible titles are also considered for the annual Emory Elliott Awards.


Please check our Events Calendar for upcoming book talks. You can view information about past talks here.

The Humanities Graduate Student Research Grants assist graduate students involved in original research or creative projects in the humanities. Awarded funds are primarily intended for research proposals related to dissertation or MFA work, though other projects are considered as funds permit.

The award process is competitive. Applications are collected each fall and announced the following spring. Projects are judged according to intellectual merit, faculty support and justification for the proposal as it relates to completion of the dissertation or MFA project.

The Humanities GSR Awards are sponsored by UCR Graduate Division, the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and the Center for Ideas and Society.

We congratulate the following award winners!

2018-19 Winners 2017-18 Winners
Trangđài Glassey-Trầnguyễn, Anthropology
Logan Marg, Sociology
Kevin Sliwoski, Music
Iris Blake, Ethnic Studies
Katrin Boniface, History
Kelly Bowker, Dance
Mayela Caro, History
Kellie Flint, Visual Art
Irvin Gonzalez, Dance
Bernard Gordillo, Music
Ayize Jama-Everett, Creative Writing
Elizabeth Kopacz, Ethnic Studies
Lynnee Bonner, Creative Writing
Jeremy Coltman, Anthropology
Rainy Demerson, Dance
Christina Gregory, Political Science
Theresa Heindel, Anthropology
Merideth Hillbrand, Visual Art
Eric Johns, Music
Alan Malfavon, History
Hannah Manshel, English
Elizabeth McDonald, Music
Ania Nikulina, Dance
Marlen Rios-Hernandez, Ethnic Studies
Santos Roman, History
Chelsea Silva, English
Maria Vidaurrazaga, Creative Writing
Corey  Blake, Ethnomusicology
Miranda Butler, English
Jennifer Coons, Psychology
Ricardo Crespo, Political Science
Theresa Goldbach, Critical Dance Studies
Christina Gregory, Political Science
Shelley Guyton, Anthropology
Kristen Hayashi, History
Amy Hough, Comp Literature
Jaclyn Howerton, Musicology
Rachel Howerton, Music
Elizabeth Hughes, Sociology
Eric Johns, Musicology
Joshua Lieto, Anthropology
Shaun Miller, Creative Writing
JoeAnn Nguyen, Education
Loubna Qutami, Ethnic Studies
Samantha Reid, Creative Writing
Carlotta Robinson, History of Art
Patrick Rohrer, Anthropology
Sharon Rushing, Anthropology
Arianne Schulz, Anthropology
Kevin Sliwoski, Ethnomusicology
Kacie Wills, English

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) is a two-year program that provides financial support, research mentorship, and assistance with graduate school applications.

Visit UCR’s MMUF website for more information on eligibility and benefits.

The Mellon Mays program at UC Riverside is administered by the Center for Ideas and Society.

Program CoordinatorGeorgia Warnke
Administrative CoordinatorKatharine Henshaw