News from Fall 2016

 Lei Liang

Department of Music professor Lei Liang's "Portrait Concert" at Miller Theatre is included in former New York Times and Bostom Globe music critic's "Best of 2016: 10 Musical Events" list. Read more...

Frank Biess

Department of History professor Frank Biess wins National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship  to examine the role of fear and anxiety within the historical context of postwar West Germany.


Department of Music’s Susan Narucki and Lei Liang continue developing their chamber opera, “Inheritance, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Composer and UC San Diego Music Professor Lei Liang appears in the New York Times for his innovative use of technology in music.  

Basic Writing Program

UC San Diego’s Division of Arts and Humanities is devoted to developing students’ skills of critical thinking and analytic expression. Dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities Cristina Della Coletta said that in less than one year, a team of instructors for the Basic Writing Program was put together who, under Karen Gocsik's leadership, are propelling a program of innovation and excellence.

The US News and World Report Global University Rankings just came out and UC San Diego has moved up in the rankings from no. 19 to no. 15. Not only has the university as a whole moved up in the rankings, but we are proud to announce that the Division of Arts and Humanities has moved up 10 spots from 33 to 23! This is a tremendous achievement!

Composer Roger Reynolds’ “FLiGHT,” which premieres Oct. 30-31 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City, is the latest landmark in a career distinguished by a quest for new modes of making music.

Yolande SnaithLa Jolla Light: The 2016-17 IDEAS Series began Oct. 20 with a multimedia dance collaboration helmed by Yolande Snaith, head of UCSD’s Undergraduate Dance Program. “Measuring the Dream” is based on the poetry and life of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, a 17th-century nun in colonial Mexico who was a self-taught scholar and poet, known in her lifetime as “The Tenth Muse.”

Founding Visual Arts Professor Emeritus David Antin passed away October 11, 2016, at the age of 84. An illustrious poet, critic, teacher and performance artist, Antin joined the Department of Visual Arts in 1968 as the director of the University Art Gallery. Antin was renowned for his innovative, conceptual art practice, and while at UC San Diego he became famous for his improvised "Talk Poems." LA Times.

From its earliest years, the Visual Arts Department at the University of California, San Diego — established in 1967 — brought in artists who raised new ideas about how to think about photography and the role of the artist.

StudentsThe Division of Arts and Humanities took a leading role to secure a $2.59 million grant award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The award supports a joint program with the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) that helps humanities transfer students transition to UC San Diego—a top 10 public university. According to Dean Cristina Della Coletta, it is the largest foundation award the division has received in support of the humanities.

Michigan Daily op-ed about Professor Natalia Molina's lecture on racial scripts that provided a clear and much-needed message: Racism is embedded in our institutions and must be addressed through comprehensive reform.

NimbusA new multimedia installation, “Nimbus,” opened Oct.1 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with a storm of clouds and music conjured up by artists from UC San Diego and the LA Philharmonic.

Molii and Arthur Wagner WalkwayIn a ceremony held on Sept. 26, a newly-designated walkway was unveiled in honor of Arthur Wagner, founding chair of the UC San Diego Department of Theatre and Dance, and his wife, Molli in La Jolla Light.

Professor Eric WatkinsCongratulations to Professor Eric Watkins of Philosophy who has been elected recipient of a Humboldt Research Award! This award is conferred in recognition of lifetime achievements in research.

NimbusLA Times featured 'Nimbus,' a new art installation created by Angeles Philharmonic’s artist-collaborator, Yuval Sharon, in conjunction with composer and Music Professor Rand Steiger and artist Patrick Shearn. The nebulous slate-colored thunderheads looms above the escalators that transport visitors from the parking garage into the soaring architecture of the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Natalia MolinaNatalia Molina explained the influence of racial scripts on the experiences of various immigrant groups during a talk titled, “How Race is Made in America” for the Mexican American and Latina/o Studies Lecture Series in the University of Texas at Austin.

Stephanir RichardsComposer, trumpeter and assistant professor of contemporary music Stephanie Richards was featured in San Diego Union Tribune. “I embrace all the colors of expression I can, and I’m very interested in the senses, multidisciplinary works and gesture in music,” said Richards, who performs with her quintet Nov. 3 at The Loft@UCSD.

Celebrating Artists of the FutureChancellor Pradeep K. Khosla, Dean Cristina Della Coletta, and members and affiliates of the Department of Theatre and Dance attended Celebrating Artists of the Future Sept. 10. The event benefitted the department’s Student Productions Fund. The Chancellor posted an event summary on his blog.

News from Spring and Summer 2016

Roddey ReidEmeriti Professor Roddey Reid from the Department of Literature weighs in on the state of bullying.

Seth LererSlate chatted with literary critic and Distinguished Professor Seth Lerer about the very first children’s books, how libraries once taught kids the ABCs of American citizenship, and the juggernaut phenomenon of Harry Potter.

Regan LintonDepartment of Theatre and Dance alumna Regan Linton (MFA, 2013) is the new interim artistic director at Phamaly Theatre Company in Denver, where she previously spent six years as a company actor. Pictured here is Linton performing the lead in “Elizabeth I” at UC San Diego (Photo by Jim Carmody).

The Princess Grace Foundation-USA, an organization that supports emerging artists, recently named its 2016 Princess Grace Award winners that include Christopher Scott Murillo, ’13 and Keith A. Wallace ’16 for Theater and Playwriting category; and Jiehae Park, ’09 for a Works in Progress Residency grant.

Mark DresserNew York Times' Playlist included Mark Dresser's ‘TrumpinPutinStoopin’. Pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and videos — and anything else that strikes them as intriguing — in the Playlist.

Literature Assistant Professor Babak Rahimi talks about "Muhammad Ali is dead, long live his America! in The Huffington Post.

Natalia Molina blogProfessor Natalia Molina blogs about the California Humanities board meeting held recently in San Diego. All discussions came back to why humanities matter.

Jann PaslerJann Pasler, Distinguished Professor of Music was awarded the highly competitive ACLS Fellowship for academic year 2016-17 for her project Sounding the French Empire: Colonial Ethnographies of Music, 1860-1960. For over ninety years, providing fellowships for scholars in the humanities and related social sciences has been one of the signal activities of the American Council of Learned Societies. Professor Pasler is a musicologist, pianist, documentary filmmaker, and has published widely on new American and French music, modernism and postmodernism, interdisciplinarity, race and gender, material culture, and radio.

Trio MNBC 7 San Diego's Robert Bush reviewed the magnificent performance of the faculty concert by Trio M, the gold-standard improvising ensemble featuring bassist Mark Dresser, Bay Area pianist Myra Melford and New York City drummer Matt Wilson.

Emily RoxworthyTheatre and Dance Professor Emily Roxworthy, currently serving as Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Diversity and Equity, will assume the Warren College provost position on July 1 after completing her interim appointment. “Professor Roxworthy is an active and accomplished scholar and teacher with a demonstrated record of commitment to undergraduate education,” Subramani said. “Her experience and broad service contributions across UC San Diego make her the ideal leader for this position.”

The Last Tiger in HaitiProof of Theatre and Dance and La Jolla Playhouse collaboration’s success lies in, “The Last Tiger in Haiti,” an award-winning play by UC San Diego alumnus Jeff Augustin, which premieres during the playhouse’s upcoming 2016/2017 season, June 28 – July 24, 2016, in the Mandell Weiss Forum. This marks the first time that a former UC San Diego theatre student’s production has premiered during the playhouse’s regular season.

Department of Visual Arts students showcase their annual art exhibitions with impressive success - Undergraduate Artists' exhibition "Meeting at Square One" on May 5-12  at  the University Art Gallery and MFA exhibition DOSSIER THALAMUS on May 13 - June 3 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (MCASD).

First Folio: ShakespeareDistinguished Professor of Literature Seth Lerer organized a two-hour panel discussion with prominent University of California (UC) Shakespeare faculty entitled, "How the University of California Makes Shakespeare New," June 6, at the San Diego Central Library’s Neil Morgan Auditorium. UC President Janet Napolitano gave a brief introduction, Division of Arts and Humanities Dean Cristina Della Coletta attended the event, and Lerer led the discussion to explore UC contributions to Shakespeare scholarship and public outreach.

Dennis ChildsLiterature Professor Dennis Childs is the recent winner of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Distinguished Teaching Award for 2015-2016. Department of History Professor David Gutierrez, chair of the DEI Graduation Requirement Committee, explained in his announcement letter that the award was given to acknowledge and honor efforts professors make to teach and support the courses that fulfill the graduation requirement for students. Childs won for this reason, plus his exemplary teaching and his commitment to educating students about the importance of understanding the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in our diverse and complex society.

Science Fiction Meets Architecture: London in 2080Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination Director and UC San Diego Professor in Digital Media Sheldon Brown and award-winning science fiction writer and former SDSU Professor in computer science Vernor Vinge, on KPBS Radio Midday Edition, share their concepts about future malls. Dr. Vinge will give a lecture on May 25, 10:30am at the Atkinson Hall Auditorium.

Luis Alvarez and Mark HannaThe Division of Arts and Humanities has appointed the first new director and associate director—Luis Alvarez and Mark Hanna, respectively of the newly established Institute of Arts and Humanities (IAH). Both are faculty members in the UC San Diego Department of History. They assume their new leadership posts July 1.

Noon at DuskSan Diego Union Tribune featured kallisti ensemble’s Noon at Dusk which premieres on May 11, 7:00 p.m. at Conrad Prebys Center Experimental Theater. kallisti, is a vocal ensemble led by Music Professor Narucki and Noon at Dusk is a chamber opera composed by Stephen Lewis with a libretto by Yi Hong Sim.

Object TypeMingling the past with the present, the University of California San Diego’s Department of Visual Arts is embarking on a series of programs to celebrate its upcoming 50th anniversary entitled, “VISUAL ARTS@50: ART INTO LIFE.” Kicking off the celebration is “Object Type,” an exhibition that runs May 3 – 13 in the Visual Arts Gallery, at the SME Building on campus.

What would it be like to live in 2080 London? Visual Arts Professor and Director of the Clarke Center, Sheldon Brown, introduced the topic and served as moderator of the discussion, which included a talk on the science involved in the predicament by sci-fi writer Kim Stanley Robinson and a speculative architectural proposal submitted in real time over the Internet by London architect Usman Haque. (La Jolla Light)

Congratulations to the 2016-2017 Hellman Fellows from the Division of Arts and Humanities: Matthew Werner Vitz (History), Amy Marie Cimini (Music), Deborah Isobel Stein (Theatre and Dance) and Alena Williams (Visual Arts)!

Cristina Rivera-GarzaThe Guardian featured Literature Professor Cristina Rivera-Garza who sees writing as a vessel for exploring the limits of our own humanity, a medium with the power to solve the most perplexing paradoxes of our time.

Luis Martin CabreraLiterature Professor Luis Martin-Cabrera has been named a 2016 Whiting Public Engagement (WPE) Fellow by the Whiting Foundation for his proposal to investigate the lives of indigenous groups living in a region known as the “Saudi Arabia of Lithium.”

San Diego Union Tribune reports about UC San Diego’s renowned playwriting program, Wagner New Play Festival, where five brand-new works by graduate students will be presented at the La Jolla Theatre.  UC San Diego News Center

Learn more about our African American Studies minor program. Hear what students and faculty say!

Blurred Borders Dance FestivalTheatre and Dance Lecturer Patricia Rincon is featured in San Diego Union Tribune.  She discussed about her coming Blurred Borders Dance Festival on April 29-30, 8:00 p.m. at the Molli and Arthur Wagner Dance Building.

Charlie OatesCongratulations to Theatre and Dance Professor Charlie Oates for receiving the Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award!

Naomi IizukaProfessor Naomi Iizuka is featured in New York Times as one of the playwrights tapped for the Big Ten New Play Initiative which aims to create opportunities for women in theatre. Ms. Iizuka said, the program has “planted a flag in the sand,” one she hopes other institutions embrace as a challenge.

The University of California, San Diego Division of Arts and Humanities will be well-represented during the 42nd Annual Chancellor’s Associates’ Faculty Excellence Awards on April 14, 6:00 p.m. at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine on campus.

Michael MannThe UC San Diego Division of Arts and Humanities, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Muir College present a special Earth Day Lecture with award-winning climate scientist, Michael E. Mann, Ph.D entitled Environments in Motion: "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars" on April 22, 2:00 p.m. at the Great Hall.

Mark HendricksonThe University of California, San Diego has received an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship grant - an award intended to assist humanities scholars in acquiring systematic training outside their areas of special interest - for the first time. The $209,000 grant will support Department of History Professor Mark Hendrickson’s efforts to explore how the work of American mining engineers and geologists working abroad between 1880 and 1930 helped shape the development of 20th-century American capitalism, science and foreign policy.

News from Winter 2016

Grant Kester - FIELDVisual Arts Professor Grant Kester recently distributed the third issue of "FIELD: a Journal of Socially Engaged Art Criticism."

Envision Arts and Engineering Maker StudioInaugurated on March 11, EnVision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio is a 3,000-square-foot space on the third floor of the Structural and Materials Engineering building. It provides a wide range of design, fabrication and prototyping tools from 3D printers and welding stations to a sophisticated laser cutter that would promote collaboration between visual arts and engineering students. Visual arts students interested in the new speculative design major will take classes in this studio.

Carrie Mae WeemsVisArts alumna Carrie Mae Weems was named the 2016 National Artist Award Honoree by the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. The award is given to artists who have innovated in their fields and across disciplines. In a statement, Weems said receiving the award was “humbling,” adding, “I am a working girl who is so consumed and engaged with my work that I’m often surprised when anyone takes note.”

Roscoe MitchellRoscoe Mitchell, a leading saxophonist and co-founder of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), will be joined by pianist Anthony Davis, trumpeter Stephanie Richards and contrabassist Mark Dresser, all from the Department of Music faculty, along with drummer Mike Reed and flutist Nicole Mitchell for this rare West Coast performance, 7 p.m. at the Experimental Theater at Conrad Prebys Music Center.

Watch the presentations featured during the Feb. 10 Department of Visual Arts inaugural event for the launch of "UCSDSD: The Speculative Design Major."

Denise DemetriouTo help the campus stay competitive, Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla recently launched the UC San Diego Chancellor’s Endowed Chair and Faculty Fellowship Challenge. Associate Professor of History Denise Demetriou, Gerry and Jeannie Ranglas Chair in Ancient Greek History, explained that the chair allows her to host academic events that help position the campus as a leader in the arts and humanities.

Gregory BufordThe Division of Arts and Humanities is "CRASSHing" the Conference for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), sponsored by campus Academic Enrichment Programs (AEP), Feb. 19, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the Institute for the Americas auditorium. To help AEP assert recognition of undergraduate student research, Dean Cristina Della Coletta will deliver opening remarks, and noted cosmetic surgeon and alumnus Dr. Gregory Buford, ’90, literature, will deliver the keynote address. Alumni, faculty and students are encouraged to attend the informative, fun-filled event and to present posters, artwork and performances.

Lei LiangProfessor and composer Lei Liang is profiled in the January issue of Harvard magazine, where he talks about being a finalist for a 2015 Pulitzer for his piece Xiaoxiang and explains the personal and artistic experiences that led to the piece.

Undergraduate Studio Honors: Open StudioThe Undergraduate Studio Honors Program of the UC San Diego Visual Arts Department will be opening their doors to the public on February 17, 3-5 p.m. Each year a dozen top Undergraduate Studio Art Majors are nominated by faculty to join the Honors Program, this event will display the work and process of current Studio Honors Program members.

David Brink, Teddy Cruz and Anya GallaccioCongratulations to recipients of the 2015-16 Chancellor's Associates Faculty Excellence Awards: Philosophy Professor David Brink (Research in Humanities & Social Sciences), Visual Arts Professor Teddy Cruz (Community Service) and Visual Arts Professor Anya Gallaccio (Performing and Visual Arts)!

Emily RoxworthyCongratulations to Associate Vice Chancellor and Theatre Professor Emily Roxworthy as one of the recipients of the 2015 UC San Diego Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Awards Program!

Scarlet StoneKPBS News reports that BBC Persian will broadcast a recording the dramatic work "The Scarlet Stone" by Professor Shahrokh Yadegari to more than 14 million people worldwide.

Department of History Professor Natalia Molina will be among a diverse group of 25 women selected to be honored for their contributions to higher education in the March 10th “Women’s History Month” issue. The publication will be distributed at the 2016 American Council on Education (ACE) Meeting, March 12-15, in San Francisco.

Black History MonthUC San Diego will celebrate Black History Month throughout the month of February with the theme “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memory.” commemoration of the history, contributions and achievements of African Americans in U.S. history. There is a broad array of programs, including lectures, concerts and film screenings.

Cristina Rivera-GarzaNew Writing Series (Winter 2016) Director and Literature Professor Cristina Rivera-Garza explained, "The winter NWS is designed to share the explorations and achievements of writers who work in between languages—mostly between Spanish and English—and especially in and through translation. .... they connect with communities characterized by diversity and change: they constitute sheer examples of the writer of the 21st century.”

Natalia MolinaHistory Professor Natalia Molina has won the 2015 Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship for her book, “How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts.” She will formally accept the award on Feb. 24, at Texas A&M University’s Glasscock Center Library, where she will also give a lecture about her work.

Casey and Matthew ShenUC San Diego alumni couple, Casey and Matthew Shen, recently donated one-half million dollars to their alma mater to establish the Casey and Matthew Shen Endowment to support graduate student fellowships in the Department of Literature.

Barry LopezAn upcoming conversation between National Book awardee and environmentalist Barry Lopez and music professor Steven Schick for the Helen Edison Lecture Series on January 20, 7:00 p.m. at the Price Center East Ballroom will focus on what role the arts can play in raising awareness and understanding on climate change and humanity’s impact on nature.

San Diego Union Tribune gave an outstanding review of "Canyons," a concert held to honor the Reed family.

Susan Narucki and Lei LiangComposer Lei Liang and Soprano Susan Narucki have won $50,000 in grant-funding from Creative Capital for their project, “Inheritance,” a proposed chamber opera addressing the complex issues of gun violence in America.

Distinguished Professor of Literature Seth Lerer explores and explains an annotated, first edition of Geoffrey Chaucer (London, 1598).

Huffington Post op-ed about "What Star Wars Can Teach Us About the Islamic World" written by Literature Professor Babak Rahimi.

Paul PickowiczDistinguished Professor in the Department of History, Paul Pickowicz, is honored with the Humboldt Research Award.

Visual Arts new majorWith an eye to the future and emphasis on students' marketable skills, the Department of Visual is offering a new major called Speculative Design.

Emily RoxworthyTheatre and Dance Professor Emily Roxworthy has been appointed Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Equity and Diversity effective January 1, 2016.

IAHThe Division of Arts and Humanities has launched the Institute of Arts and Humanities (IAH). “This overarching entity serves as a consolidated, yet richly diverse, resource for improving the effectiveness of humanities study as it impacts our fast-evolving, interconnected world,” said the division’s Dean Cristina Della Coletta, who considers this a critical objective reflective of UC San Diego’s #1 ranking in the nation for its impact on society (Washington Monthly, 2015 College Guide).

Nancy CaciolaHistory Professor Nancy Caciola was profiled in the Washington Post for her research about revenants which she defines as "a corpse that comes back to life meaning death preceded it." Caciola is considered one of the world’s leading experts on such matters.

Degrees of Health and Well-BeingFor Winter 2016, the Division of Arts and Humanities presents the "Degrees of Health and Well-Being" lecture series that features extraordinary speakers Larry Smarr, Natalia Molina, Steffanie Strathdee, Cheryl Anderson, Tom Wong, and Veerabhadran (“Ram”) Ramanathan. Now on its 5th year, the lecture series is aligned with the university’s strategic planning process, and the overarching, multi-year series title, Understanding Cultures and Addressing Disparities in Society.

Dean Cristina Della ColettaDean Cristina Della Coletta was profiled by arts writer Jim Chute of San Diego Union Tribune. His interview covered her vision for the Division of Arts & Humanities, her career as an academic, author, educator and administrator, and the challenges of attracting new A&H majors.

Robert Bush of NBC San Diego recounted another very rich year 2015 for San Diego jazz that included concerts of Mark Dresser, Anthony Davis, Stephanie Richards, David Borgo and Steve Schick's red fish blue fish.

Craig CallenderProfessor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy Craig Callender, who is launching UC San Diego’s new bioethics minor this month, has big plans to establish the Institute for Practical Ethics. He was quoted in San Diego Magazine - "The idea is not to slow down science, but rather to figure out what’s responsible, so that we can progress.”

Cuatro CorridosCuatro Corridos, the chamber opera led by UC San Diego Professor of Music Susan Narucki, was featured at the 2015 FIL - Guadalajara International Book Fair, the largest Spanish language book fair in the world. More than 1,000 people attended the performance at Guadalajara's Teatro Diana, which earned extensive press coverage from Mexican media including El DiarioInformador and El Universal. The chamber opera, which addresses human trafficking along the Mexico-U.S. border, will be performed at UC San Diego’s Conrad Prebys Music Center on Jan. 13 at 7:00 p.m.