The Engaging Humanities Initiative brings together UC Santa Barbara faculty and administrators invested in learning and humanities education. 2019-2020 collaborators included:
I’m a professor in the Writing Program at UCSB. I’ve been here for 10 years, but teaching for almost 30—I came to UCSB from Eastern Michigan University (and U. of Minnesota before that), but I grew up in Albuquerque. I have two roles in this grant. First, I’m very excited to be team-teaching with Peter Bloom in an EH Learning Community in Fall 2019. My discipline goes by a couple of names: composition and rhetoric, or writing studies. One of the many things I love about being in my discipline is that we look closely at something people often take for granted: writing. Super broadly, we look at writing as a subject of study and as an activity. This opens up lots of really fantastic questions to explore—for instance: how is “good writing” defined in different places, by whom, and for what reasons? How do ideas about “good writing” differ in different places? I’ve been teaching and studying questions like these for about 30 years. I often teach first year writing (aka freshman composition). I’m excited to explore questions related to “attention” with students and with Professor Bloom in our EH Learning Community! In addition to teaching the learning community, I am one of the leaders of the Engaging Humanities initiative, so you can talk with me (or Dr. Elina Salminen, who works on the initiative as well) about any part of the project. When I’m not teaching, conducting research, or doing other school-related things, I really enjoy cycling, being outdoors, and eating!
Elina M. Salminen
I’m the Activity Coordinator for Engaging Humanities, helping facilitate all aspects of the initiative. I’m brand new to UCSB and look forward to getting to know the university and all of you! Before coming to Santa Barbara, I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, where I studied burials from northern Greece to learn about the lives of women and children in the region 2,500 years ago. I’m also interested in community-based learning and collaborating with off-campus communities. In my free time, I enjoy hiking and binge-watching YouTube videos of dogs. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions, concerns, or just for a chat: email@example.com.
John Majewski is the Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts and Professor in the Department of History, where he has taught since 1995. He has been an Associate Dean for the division and served as the History Department Chair from 2009 to 2012. Dr. Majewski was a member of the Letters & Science Faculty Executive Committee and the Committee on Research, and served for five years on the campus Program Review Panel. He earned his Ph.D. from UCLA, where he won the Allan Nevins Prize in American Economic History for the best dissertation on an American subject. He also received a Howard Foundation Mid-Career Fellowship, the Hubbell Prize for an article on Civil War History, and an Andrew Mellon Research Fellowship from the Virginia Historical Society. His areas of specialization include American economic, social, and legal history; Southern history; and the U.S. Civil War. Dr. Majewski earned the Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award in 2003. He is the author of A House Dividing: Economic Development in Pennsylvania and Virginia Before the Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2000), Modernizing a Slave Economy: The Economic Imagination of the Confederate Nation (UNC Press, 2009), and numerous articles, reviews, and book chapters.
Anne H. Charity Hudley
I am the Director of Undergraduate Research for the College of Letters and Science, and a North Hall Endowed Chair in the Linguistics of African America in the Linguistics Department. I'm also Faculty-in-Residence in the Santa Catalina Residences and San Joaquin Villages. My research focuses on African-American language and culture and educational linguistics. My research addresses the relationship between language variation and Pre-K-16 educational practices and policies, as well as inclusion in higher education. I have co-authored or edited four books and over 25 articles and book chapters. The focus of my work has been on the actions that educators can take to create high impact inclusive learning environments with students.
Peter J. Bloom
In the Department of Film and Media Studies at UCSB I teach a wide array of courses related to fairy tale cinema, soundtrack media, semiotics, media archaeology, radio studies, and early cinema, among other large survey courses and seminars related to the history and theory of film and media cultures. My research is focused on the relationship of film and radio to politics and empire. Twentieth-century Francophone and Anglophone contexts are a focus for my work, and a basis for considering media in postcolonial studies by reference to the regional contexts of West Africa and Southeast Asia. Film and media studies is an expansive field that draws on many sources, including the history of perception and the film-viewing experience. The “Inventing Attention” seminar that I will be teaching with Professor Linda Adler-Kassner is partially developed from considering how watching and listening to media can be mediated by creative acts of viewership, audition, and making. Please join us to invent new contexts of attention and creation.
I am a historian of science and religion who thinks the past most comes alive through stories that reveal worlds either very different from our own or those that are uncannily similar. I have conducted research on diverse topics including autopsies performed on saints, cannibalism in early modern cities, false saints and the Roman Inquisition, and rising meat consumption in Renaissance Italy. My favorite courses to teach focus on Machiavelli, the Inquisition, daily lives in early modern Europe, and witch trials in the early modern world. In my free time I enjoy running, cooking, reading science fiction, and playing with my two small boys.
At UCSB, I’m an Assistant Professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies. As an undergrad, I was determined to make my own way, so I studied biology, English, and film, and years later I have 2 Master’s degrees (one in English and one in Rhetoric) and a PhD in Rhetoric. This might explain why I think of myself as a film nerd, science nerd, game nerd, music nerd, you name it--and it definitely means I love teaching classes like “Digital Theory,” “Indie Games,” “Comparative Natures,” and “Television and New Media Theory.” I also have a book coming out this fall called Playing Nature: Ecology in Video Games (from the University of Minnesota Press), which looks at what games can tell us about our contemporary environmental crisis.
Christopher (Chris) Dean
I’m a continuing lecturer in the UCSB Writing Program, and I have been at UCSB for 14 years. Before that I ran a secondary English education program at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut. I’ve been in education, in one way or another, since 1993. I’m excited to get a chance to teach a special section of Writing 2 or Writing 1 in the fall of 2019 in our program, and rest assured we’re going to create some ridiculous cool writing that makes use of the following: screencasting, blogging, essay writing, and an in-depth dive into not just the “how” of writing but the “why” of it. Also, one final thing to know about me: I care deeply about my students and helping them grow as readers, writers, thinkers, and people. I also care deeply about the Portland Trailblazers, blues music, and the beautiful game football/soccer. I look forward to working with you all and helping you write through the things you love and know--as well as the things that you will come to love and know at UCSB.
I’m the Associate Director of the UCSB Writing Program, and I received my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Yale University. I wrote Poetry and the Romantic Musical Aesthetic (Cambridge University Press, 2008), which won the Jean-Pierre Baricelli Award for scholarship in Romanticism. I received the 2015-16 UCSB Distinguished Teaching Award for Non-Senate Faculty. I conduct research in a number of fields, but my main interest is in how different disciplines interact, both in the arts and in different genres of writing. I’m eager to work with the rest of the group to learn more about what they do and why they do it. In my spare time, I play the bass and swim in the ocean.
I’m an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies. I study the religions of India (more broadly, South Asia), specializing in Hinduism as practiced in the present day, primarily in vernacular languages, primarily by non-elite people. I’m committed to an interdisciplinary approach to the study of religion, but my main research method is ethnography. I recently published a book based on my fieldwork in Mumbai, The Neighborhood of Gods (University of Chicago Press, 2018), and I hope to build on my inquiry there in years to come, focusing on shantytown neighborhoods, or what Indians call “slum colonies.” Like almost everyone else in Mumbai, I’m a fan of Hindi-language popular cinema--Bollywood--and I’m also one of three coauthors of a book-length study of one of the silliest movies made in any language, Amar Akbar Anthony (Harvard University Press, 2015). I’ve taught courses on Gandhi, sex and romance in India, caste in Indian society, and food and religion in India--among others--and I am very excited to be teaching a Learning Communities course in Fall 2019 with Claudia Moser!
I’ve been teaching writing and rhetoric in UCSB’s Writing Program for 5 years. In that time, I’ve most enjoyed teaching courses that integrate multimedia, design, and writing. I want to inspire students to care for their writing through creative, fun, and community-oriented writing assignments. We experiment with new and emerging digital composition tools; in the process I learn new things alongside my students. I also study digital technology. I’m currently writing a book about the history of computing, where I ask how the invention of computers may look different when we focus on the contributions of gender and sexual minorities. I invite students to contact me anytime via email firstname.lastname@example.org or drop by my office 1516 South Hall.
I am a professor of German and public history, at UCSB since 1992. A physics and computer science major in college, while bicycling across Europe I became interested in how different countries memorialized the former Nazi concentration camps in their territory. I went back to Germany to study history of art, writing my M.A. thesis and mounting a traveling exhibition on the memorials commemorating events in the Nazi and World War II era. I wrote my Ph.D. thesis on the post-1945 history of the former Dachau concentration camp, which I expanded into a much too thick book, Legacies of Dachau: The Uses and Abuses of a Concentration Camp, 1933-2001. I've since written many articles on monuments, memorials and museums. I teach the World History survey course, a large course on genocides in European History, and lecture courses on German history from the French Revolution to the present, as well as various honors and research seminars. My approach is called reception history: studying how historical events come to be defined, and how those understandings are "received" and changed by various audiences over time. I am also interested in how people use the internet to learn historical information, and work with students to publish their research on the web, often as contributions to Wikipedia articles. Still an avid bicyclist, I commute from Santa Barbara to Goleta, enjoying audiobooks and podcasts all the while, with occasional sunset rides up Ferren Road or weekend rides up Old San Marcos Pass Rd.
I teach in the Writing Program and direct the Professional Writing Minor. My research and publications in literature and philosophy have focused on how language enables identity and desire, thought, and social formations. I’m currently working on an essay on the philosophy of composition. In the variety of writing classes I teach, from business communication to creative nonfiction, I aim to engage students’ current passion and engage them in questions about living a fulfilling post-college life. Outside the university, I like to work with the local Democratic Party, build furniture from reclaimed wood, bake my own bread, and take long walks in the foothills with Maggie, my dog.
At UCSB, I’m an Assistant Professor in the History of Art & Architecture Department. While I do study both art and architecture, I define myself more as a Roman archaeologist. Since my days as an undergrad, I have spent most of my summers on archaeological digs in Italy, Greece, and Jordan (though my heart lies in Rome and the area right around it). My research is focused on the archaeological record of Roman religion, specifically animal sacrifice and the temples, shrines, and altars at which this ritual took place. I have taught classes on Ancient Spectacle, Field Archaeology, Roman Religion, the City of Rome, Greek Art and Archaeology, and Roman Art and Archaeology; in each of these classes, I love making the ancient world come to life through activities outside the classroom, such as digging up a mock archaeological trench next to UCSB’s Lagoon, re-enacting an ancient Roman dinner party and mock animal sacrifice in the center of campus, or participating in an archaeological field survey on the streets of Isla Vista. I am very excited to be teaching a Learning Communities course in Fall 2019 with William Elison!
I’m an assistant professor in the Writing Program at UCSB. My background and training is in geography and environmental studies, as well as in professional writing and communication. This combination of interests has led me to become interested in how we communicate about the environment across audiences and cultures, and how we can leverage writing and communication practices in ways that help advocate for underrepresented groups and vulnerable species. I’m especially interested in the intersections of technology and conservation practice, and the question of what it means to act ethically and responsibly in an age of climate change. In addition to teaching and doing research at UCSB, I am also an animal care volunteer with the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, and an affiliated, registered volunteer with the Oiled Wildlife Care Network.
I am a professor of Japanese religions and cultural history and International Shinto Foundation endowed chair in Shinto Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I’m the author of Vegetal Buddhas (2001), Buddhas and Kami in Japan (co-edited with Mark Teeuwen, 2003), Buddhist Materiality (2007), Buddhism and Iconoclasm in East Asia: A History (with Eric Reinders, 2012), A Buddhist Theory of Semiotics (2013), Zen Anarchism (2013), The Sea and the Sacred in Japan: Aspects of Maritime Religion (edited, 2018), and Spirits and Animism in Contemporary Japan: The Invisible Empire (edited, 2019). I work at the intersection of philosophical discourses, material practices, and everyday life in premodern Japan, especially in subjects and fields that are understudied or even unrecognized (iconoclasm in East Asia, sea-related religiosity). I am currently working on the cultural imagination of India in premodern Japan and on the cultural history of the shō, an ancient mouth organ still used in the classical music and dance repertory at the Imperial Court of Japan. In my free time (?), I play music: the shō, the saxophone, and the flute.
I’m the Director of the Writing Program at UCSB, where I’ve been teaching for pretty much my entire career--the past 30 or so years. I teach multimedia writing in a variety of courses, and my students get to experience the fun and frustration of creating digital, visual, aural, and/or interactive compositions. I’m pursuing research in data literacy and visualization, so I work that into my courses as well. I strive to help my students find opportunities for creative expression, learn new ways of representing knowledge, and make things that are meaningful and beautiful. At home my husband and I are occupied with raising our delightful daughter and letting our three cats in and out of the back door.
I am a music historian who thinks about how music carries histories, and how our histories and social realities are created by the very practices of music. I like to explore how in certain places and times music uniquely provides a central lens through which to study how people express feelings, make meaning, tell stories, relate histories, create rituals, or perform identities. In my research, I study early modern opera and cultural history. In the 17th and 18th centuries, music and staged drama was the most powerful genre in European culture for telling complex stories and representing affect: passion, eroticism, anger, grief, madness, delight, and many other possibilities. Such narratives and feelings form a kind of social discourse invested with cultural beliefs. They suggest to us how communities use music, voices, bodily movement, and spectacle to mean certain things. At UCSB, I use these ideas in a wide range of courses I like to teach—on music in society, music in different historical periods, music and genre, opera production and social culture, and most recently, on voice studies. Most people have something to say about music, which is why it is a great subject to engage students and create timely and important conversations across the humanities. When I’m not teaching and writing, I like to play music, cook with my family, run on the bluffs near campus, go camping, and follow my kids’ newest adventures and passions.
I grew up in Germany and lived for ten years in France before coming to Santa Barbara. At UCSB, I teach in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies and the Comparative Literature Program. I like to explore with my students how alive literature is, and how it enlivens our thinking. Literature is about imagining and engaging community. Imagination is a wonderful ability that allows us to put ourselves in someone else's shoes, including the most difficult experiences. I have taught classes on how fiction, poetry, and memoirs deal with collective trauma; how the refugee crisis is addressed in German cultural productions, and how climate change challenges our imagination. I look forward to exploring with you the ways in which the humanities deeply engage our imagination to respond to this most urgent challenge.