History of Consciousness

315 Humanities 1
(831) 459-4324

Programs Offered

History of Consciousness Minor

History of Consciousness Ph.D.

History of Consciousness Designated Emphasis

Other Programs of Interest

Critical Race and Ethnic Studies B.A.

Feminist Studies B.A.

History of consciousness is an interdisciplinary graduate program centered in the humanities, with links to the social sciences and the arts. It is concerned with forms of expression and social action as they are manifested in specific historical, cultural, and political contexts. The program stresses flexibility and originality. Interest is focused on problems rather than disciplines. Although students are prepared to teach in particular fields, the emphasis is on questions that span a number of different approaches.

History of consciousness fosters problem-driven research vital to new forms of knowledge and intelligibility and to meet the challenges of imagining new modes of scholarship for the arts, social sciences, and humanities. The department emphasizes a variety of topics in its seminars and research pursuits. These areas of research include studies at the intersection of race, sexuality, and gender; global capitalism and cultural processes; psychoanalytic and semiotic theories of the image; science and technology studies; theories and histories of religion; social movements; and literary studies and poetics. Seminars are regularly offered in these and other areas of ongoing faculty research.

History of consciousness facilitates its expansive intellectual and pedagogical mission by maintaining strong cooperative relations with affiliated faculty from other campus programs who offer seminars and participate in advising, qualifying examinations, and dissertation committees. The formal list of affiliated faculty is a non-exhaustive indication of advising possibilities beyond the program’s core faculty. Campus research organizations, such as the UCSC Center for Cultural Studies, the Humanities Institute, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, the Science and Justice Working Group, and the Research Center for the Americas, also provide venues for collaborative work.

Graduate Program

Over more than 50 years of existence, the history of consciousness graduate program has become widely recognized as a leader of interdisciplinary scholarship. Program graduates are influential scholars at prominent universities, and their dissertations have been published by important trade and academic presses. Graduates currently find academic employment in a wide range of disciplines, including literature, feminist studies, science studies, anthropology, sociology, American studies, cultural studies, ethnic studies, communications, the study of religion, and philosophy. In addition, history of consciousness graduates work as filmmakers, museum researchers, free-lance writers, postdoctoral researchers, and academic administrators.

Since the curriculum concentrates on theoretical and methodological issues and is concerned with the integration of disciplines, candidates for admission are expected to have a relatively clear idea of the project they wish to pursue. Experience of advanced work in one or more fields is preferred, but not required.

Students also have the option of doing advanced work in a traditional discipline and receiving a designated emphasis in that specialization. In such cases, students must satisfy the appropriate department’s criteria (see designated emphases for information).