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Center for the Arts and Humanities

Center for the Arts and Humanities


"Humanity has always looked to the arts to explain the world."

-W. Kamau Bell, comedian, political satirist, and 2018 Sinatra Artist-in-Residence

"Humanities prepare students to be good citizens and help them understand a complicated, interlocking world. The humanities teach us critical thinking, how to analyze arguments, and how to imagine life from the point of view of someone unlike yourself."

-Martha C. Nussbaum, philosopher, professor and 2017 Jefferson Lecturer

From traditional forms of expression to the latest in digital technologies, the Center for Arts & Humanities at Santa Clara University fosters interdisciplinary collaboration in research, teaching, creative activity, and outreach--both on campus and in our local and global communities. The CAH merges the Jesuit passion for scholarly excellence and community partnership-building with the dynamic creativity that characterizes the Bay area and beyond. Join us as we pursue meaningful expression, intellectual inquiry, and community engagement to build a better future and a more just world.

The Center for the Arts and Humanities at Santa Clara University stands in solidarity with those rising up to call for an end to the long, ongoing, and destructive reality of racial injustice and white supremacy in the United States. We stand with them against hate, against racism, against inequality, against police brutality and impunity. And we stand in solidarity with Black faculty, students, and staff–always, but especially at this moment when racialized and heightened state violence adds to the burdens of grief, trauma, and vulnerability.

- Dennis Gordon (Political Science), Christina Zanfagna (Music and Ethnic Studies), Michelle Burnham (English), Amy Randall (History)


Twin Pandemics: Responding to COVID-19 and Racial Injustice

An Interdisciplinary Forum by the Santa Clara University community

Thursday, October 1 and/or Friday, October 2 to be held online via Zoom and/or YouTube

This Spring, campus-wide discussions began over multiple email threads in response both to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to the acts of anti-Black racism, police violence, and white supremacy that continue to be protested in our communities, our nation, and around the world.

As an extension of those discussions, the University is hosting a forum this Fall for SCU faculty and staff to share their expertise--from a variety of disciplines and perspectives--on the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice. Organized collaboratively by the Center for the Arts & Humanities and the Ignatian Center’s Bannan Forum--with support from a committee made up of faculty from across campus--the forum is designed to share knowledge and experience in these areas, to generate interdisciplinary dialogue, to learn from each others’ work, and to share these ideas and conversations with a wider public.

We encourage both individual and group submissions from faculty and staff across campus. Contributions can take the form of traditional panels, roundtables, performances, exhibits, discussions, offline actions, or other creative formats. To combat screen/Zoom fatigue, each individual speaker will be limited to 10 minutes and sessions will be varied in form. Sessions will be scheduled as much as possible to coordinate with class meeting times to facilitate in-class student engagement.

The Twin Pandemics forum will be hosted in conjunction with National Arts & Humanities Month (NAHM), a nationwide recognition every October of the power of intellectual inquiry and creative expression to transform a broad and diverse American public. In line with the goals of NAHM, our mission as a Jesuit institution calls us to recognize the importance of critical inquiry into the existing realities of the world and the necessity of interdisciplinary dialog. Within our shared Igantian tradition, deep deliberation and open conversation are essential precursors to transformative action. 

Contributions to the forum need not address both pandemics, but should be open to conversation about their intersections; they also need not be in and of themselves interdisciplinary but should be willing to enter into dialogue with participants from other disciplines. Possible topics can include, but need not be limited to:

Public health discrimination 
Social aspects of disease and health disparities
Police violence and impunity
Environmental racism and disease
Disposability of black and brown bodies in historical and contemporary contexts
Other pandemics and lessons learned: HIV/AIDS, bubonic plague, Spanish flu, etc.\
Scapegoating LGBTQ+ people for the spread of Covid-19
Global contexts for xenophobia and “othering”
Mass incarceration
Racial capitalism
White people nonsense and white privilege
Race, housing inequity and homelessness, and Covid-19
Intimate partner violence during SIP
Youth movements for racial justice

To submit a proposal, please complete this Google form by Friday, July 17th.


Responding to the Twin Pandemics of COVID-19 and Racial Injustice: Arts and Humanities in a Time of Crisis

The CAH blog has expanded to include responses to the racial injustice, police brutality, and white supremacy that are being challenged through uprisings and protests within our communities, across our nation, and around the world. Racism is itself a pandemic, one with a long history and a complicated inter-relationship to the medical pandemic of COVID-19.

In a time of extraordinary upheaval like the one we are in now, the arts and humanities help us to better understand our world and our connections to each other. How have the humanities helped you to contextualize current events, reevaluate human relations, or reimagine the future? How have the arts helped to sustain or connect you as we both take to the streets and shelter in place?

The Center for the Arts & Humanities invites faculty to contribute to our updated blog devoted to sharing short reflections, stories, poems, music, short films, sculptures, photographs, drawings, dances, and other forms of expression and inquiry that highlight the importance of the arts and humanities in this time of multiple crises.

Submit one-paragraph proposals or completed blog entries of 250-750 words to Michelle Burnham or Amy Randall. We encourage the inclusion of visual or audio components as well as hyperlinks.


New Leadership for the Center for Arts and Humanities

SCU’s Michelle Burnham and Amy Randall will take over leadership of the Center for the Arts and Humanities.

Read more


Dan Hoyle is the 2019-2020 Visiting Fellow/Artist-in-Residence

Dan Hoyle is an Oakland-based actor and playwright. His brand of journalistic theater has been hailed as “riveting, funny and poignant” (New York Times) and “hilarious, moving and very necessary” (Salon).

Read more


SCU tUrn Project