The Center was established in the fall of 2008 at the newest campus in the UC system. In an institution designed around interdisciplinary approaches to knowledge, the Center sought to recreate the Renaissance integration of multiple approaches to knowledge, encompassing the humanities, arts, and qualitative social sciences. These areas of academic study share a concern with the ways in which human beings conceive, express, and enact their situations in and relations to societies, both local and, increasingly, global.
The Center was intended to provide spaces for discussion, conversation, and the extended pursuit of ideas. The shared concerns of various disciplines could be explored in ways that enrich research. By providing a context to challenge the self-validating paradigms of individual disciplines, the Center was conceived to support the divergent thinking that is the source of creative scholarship. In addition, we sought to make the significance of the perduring questions addressed by the humanities and arts more visible for both the campus and the community.
The Center is part of the University of California Humanities Network, which incorporates the UC Society of Fellows in the Humanities, the University of California Humanities Research Institute, and the UC Consortium of Humanities Centers.