Situated in the English Department at UC Santa Barbara, the American Cultures and Global Contexts Center builds upon the considerable strengths in American Studies at UCSB by offering an interdisciplinary setting for new research and teaching initiatives. Equipped with a small library of key resources in the field and computing equipment to support web-based research, this Center provides a unique site for collaborations among faculty and students.
American Studies is thriving; membership in the American Studies Association has gone up remarkably over the last 15 years; participation in American Studies conferences and events is higher than ever. A fascinating variety of new American Studies programs are emerging across the country, and internationally as well. Students, in dramatically increasing numbers, are drawn to these programs for the integrated ways of looking at the world that such interdisciplinary venues provide. Among the many intellectual currents that have been animating the field, three have been particularly strong in terms of their influence over the last decade: race/ethnic studies, cultural studies, and transnational/global studies. The field's flagship journals and institutional bodies have fostered an explicitly inclusive ethic that has allowed American Studies to become a remarkable site of diversity. In the UC system, signs of the vitality of American Studies are readily apparent. At UC Davis, the American Studies program has recently gone through a significant revitalization with exciting new hires. At UC Berkeley, the Department of American Studies has been joined recently by an American Cultures Program that supports Berkeley's GE requirement in the field. Finally, UC Santa Cruz is home to one of the most prestigious American Studies programs in the country; this undergraduate major boasts one of the largest enrollments in the U.S.
With fifteen faculty working in the field, and additional Americanist hires planned for the near future, the UCSB English Department is well positioned to help facilitate the exciting innovations in American Studies being undertaken by faculty campus-wide. Among the campus's faculty, there exists significant interest in cultural studies and interdisciplinary exchanges. The Center supports this breadth of interests by encouraging diversity both in terms of methods and "objects" of study. A fundamental part of the Center's mission includes fostering interdepartmental collaborations.
The Center includes a seminar room (South Hall 2714) and a research conference room (South Hall 2710) with a reference library and access to on-line databases. These spaces provide a setting in which faculty and students can engage in activities devoted to promoting both research and curricular development.
The Center's programming facilitates the construction of new kinds of courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. The Center also disseminates research by converting the results of major conferences hosted by the unit into collected volumes and web-based publications.
The American Cultures & Global Contexts Center supports a range of activities including:
- individual and collaborative research
- lectures, workshops, and seminars
- major conferences
- innovative curricular development
- the production of collected volumes/working papers
- the production of web-based resources