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Interdisciplinary Research Groups

The Institute of Arts and Humanities provides financial and logistical support for faculty and graduate students to engage one another across departmental and divisional lines in research clusters oriented around a specific theme.

Please view the funding opportunities for application instructions.

2021-2022 Groups

Race and Oral History in San Diego


Dr. Luis Alvarez (History)
Dr. Yến Lê Espiritu (Ethnic Studies)
Dr. Simeon Man (History)


This project links students, faculty, and the UC San Diego library with community organizations, institutions, and individuals in Chicana/o, Latina/o, African American and Asian American communities in San Diego to produce undergraduate courses, oral histories, and archives devoted to the racial and ethnic history of our campus, city and surrounding area.

Students will contribute to expanding archives on race and ethnic communities in San Diego with the primary goal of capturing stories of individuals who might not otherwise appear in the historical record. The digitized oral history collection will serve as a repository that safeguards the life stories of ordinary San Diegans, leaving an important legacy for future generations. The project aims to help establish and maintain strong connections between UC San Diego students and its surrounding communities while imparting important digital literacy skills to participating students.

To learn more, listen to the Soundcloud audio story of "Building an Archive of San Diego History," or read the print version. The oral histories and students' blog posts about their experiences are available on the Race and Oral History Project website.

Southeast Asian and Transpacific Studies


Claire Edington (History)
Jody Blanco (Literature)
Simeon Man (History)
Todd Henry (History)
Chinary Ung (Music)
Hoang Nguyen (Literature)
Yen Le Espiritu (Ethnic Studies)
Suzanne Brenner (Anthropology)
Dredge Kang (Anthropology)
Nancy Kwak (History)


This research group proposes to look at the specific contributions of the arts and humanities in considerations of medicine and public health. Our goal is to deepen the mutual engagement of Southeast Asian Studies with STS in order to address such critical questions as: How do the legacies of colonialism impact the development of Southeast Asian urbanism and public health infrastructure? How does the history of civil wars, ethnic conflict or the cold war impact the mental health needs of refugee and diaspora populations? A long term goal of this project is to translate research findings into more sustainable and socially engaged policy in the region from issues ranging from climate change to mental health policy to HIV prevention and treatment. To that end, we seek to recruit scientists, policymakers, and non-profit organizations, as vital participants in conversations about how to develop research priorities that respond to the needs of local communities, both in Southeast Asia and abroad.

Transpacific Geographies Bibliography (PDF)

Transdisciplinary Disability Studies


Dr. David Serlin (Communication and Science Studies)
Dr. Brian Goldfarb (Communication and Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies)
Dr. Lisa Cartwright (Visual Arts)
Kim Clark (Communication)
Ricardo Dominguez (Visual Arts)
Rachel Fox (Communication and Science Studies)
Dr. Louise Hickman (Communication)
Jenni Marchisotto (Literature)
Haydee Smith (Literature)
Riley Taitingfong (Communication)


The Transdisciplinary Disability Studies group provides a designated forum for intellectual exchange about critical transdisciplinary disability studies on the UC San Diego campus. The TDS group takes a critical, yet broad, approach to disability, a category that includes cognitive differences as well as physical, sensory, and intellectual or developmental impairments. We seek to examine and expand the possibilities for new inter- and transdisciplinary theoretical models for approaching disability while also assessing and critiquing conventional models for understanding disability. These include the medical model (focused on the body’s so-called pathology) as well as the social model, focused more on environmental and social limitations than on the body of the disabled individual. Understanding disability as an intersectional identity and cultural category opens important opportunities. For more information, visit our website.