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UC San Diego’s Institute of Arts and Humanities Hosts Inaugural Events

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Jordan Camp (far right) addresses the audience at “Challenging Conversations” Oct. 18. Photo by Farshid Bazmandegan

UC San Diego’s new Institute of Arts and Humanities (IAH) makes its public debut this fall with a series of events that explore issues of race, culture and social justice. The campus events, one which took place Oct. 18 and the other occurring Oct. 25 and 27, spur thought-provoking exchanges about urgent issues faced by American cities, including San Diego. The programs also tackle ideas at the core of the institute—bringing together diverse UC San Diego programs in a shared mission.

The upcoming second event is, “Community, Arts and Resistance.” It begins Oct. 25, 12:45 p.m., at San Diego Community College’s Black Box Theater, and continues Oct. 27, 2:00 p.m., at the Marshall Room, UC San Diego, Price Center West. This program is intended to advance an urgent multicultural dialogue from the perspective of the featured author, activist and educator, Adrian Arancibia, a UC San Diego alumnus, as well as a founder of the Taco Shop Poets. This poetry collective was formed in the early 1990s, and took its spoken-word performances to informal neighborhood locales, including San Diego-area taco shops. Since then, Arancibia has broadened his impact by joining the faculty at San Diego Miramar College and by running for a seat on the Sweetwater Union High School District’s governing board. During “Community, Arts and Resistance,” he will lecture, lead discussion and perform poetry.

The Oct. 18 program, “Challenging Conversations: Race and State Violence,” took place at the Huerta Vera Cruz Room, UC San Diego Student Center. It featured two prominent activist scholars—Gaye Theresa Johnson from UCLA and Jordan Camp from Brown University—whose research and writing explores timely topics such as police shootings, incarceration and the Black Lives Matter movement. It also included presentations by local San Diego community organizers Wilnisha Sutton and Rumbie Mubaiwa.

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Mark Hanna (far left), associate director of the IAH, listens intently with other members of the audience. Photo by Farshid Bazmandegan

“In the upcoming year we will utilize public events to promote public dialogue in the arts and humanities and to encourage interdisciplinary research and teaching,” said IAH Director Luis Alvarez. “We bring diverse thinkers and communities together to share insights, produce new findings and address the challenges we all face on our campus and in our world.”

The vision for the IAH was spearheaded by Dean of Arts and Humanities Cristina Della Coletta, with the support of UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla, and in conversation with faculty in and across the division. Implemented, the vision unifies a number of programs ranging from Science, Korean and Japanese studies to African American, Chinese and Jewish studies. Recently the IAH added the CLAH program (Chicana/o Latina/o Arts and Humanities), an interdisciplinary minor that brings students, staff, faculty and the community together in the scholarly examination of Chicana/o and Latina/o life, history and culture, as well as Third World Studies.

"By supporting the division's diverse independent programs," Della Coletta said, "the IAH elevates the role of arts and humanities on campus through cross-divisional and cross-campus education programs, through centers dedicated to specific regional or cultural studies and through agile lab-style research collaborations and initiatives focused on multidisciplinary themes."

The Institute of Arts and Humanities houses 14 individual programs, encouraging conversations about the arts and humanities across borders of time, place, culture and discipline. It is committed to issues concerning social equity, diversity and inclusion; the hemispheric and global arts and humanities; public arts and humanities and digital arts and humanities. The institute is one of the resources offered by the Division of Arts and Humanities, which ranks in the top 35 nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report.