Humanities Center
University of San Diego

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Humanities Center Director

Brian Clack Professor

Assistant Director

Lindy Villa

Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Noelle Norton

Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Ron Kaufmann


The University of San Diego’s Humanities Center is dedicated to the exploration of the human condition and the limitless ways in which human beings understand and interact with our world. Established in 2016, the center includes five major elements: Collaborative Research, Interdisciplinary Curriculum, Public Humanities, Technology & Humanities, and the Humanities Center Gallery.

Collaborative Research Each year, the center hosts distinguished scholars through the Knapp Chair of Liberal Arts program. Knapp chairs spend 1-3 weeks in residence, delivering public lectures and interacting with faculty and students. Launched with the generous support of the William M. Keck Foundation, the Keck Undergraduate Humanities Research Fellows program provides a cohort of undergraduate students with funding for a year-long, independent research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Interdisciplinary Curriculum The Center features courses grounded in discussion and exploration on topics of current interest. Interdisciplinary courses that connect the humanities to other areas of study are especially encouraged. Faculty typically offer these courses, which often are team-taught, in a seminar format to small groups of 12 to 20 students.

Public Humanities USD’s Humanities Center has an outward-facing and public dimension, designed to organize and coordinate liberal arts initiatives and programs for members of the university community and to foster connections with the San Diego community and beyond. Guest speakers and seminar series are ongoing, and recordings of many events are available through the center’s YouTube channel. The undergraduate student board takes an active role in developing and organizing public humanities programming.

Technology & Humanities The intersection between technology and the humanities is rich and fertile territory, and the center fosters work in this area in a connected range of ways. The value of new technology for humanities research is the focus of those working in both digital pedagogy and digital humanities. New technologies pose a set of unique and challenging problems that can be illuminatingly probed by the humanities and allied disciplines. The center’s work in critical technology studies and in the exploration of artificial intelligence investigates these matters of urgent and contemporary concern.

Humanities Center Gallery Nestled within the center itself, this gallery typically mounts three to five exhibitions each year, with projects that mirror the interdisciplinary, public-facing and student-centered focus of the center. The gallery is equipped to exhibit multi-media works, including video installations. Exhibitions often highlight BIPOC and women artists, and students actively participate in the curation process.