Julia Lupton wears an orange blouse at the School of Humanities courtyard

Julia Lupton, UCI Distinguished Professor of English, has been appointed interim director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI). She takes over for David Theo Goldberg, UCI Distinguished Professor of comparative literature, who directed the institute for the past 22 years.

Since 1987, UCHRI has been a centerpiece of University of California-wide investment in humanities research, bridging collaborative and interdisciplinary humanities research across all 10 campuses and raising visibility for the research nationally and internationally.

Lupton, an internationally recognized Shakespeare and literary scholar, brings a breadth of leadership and programmatic experience to the role. She is the founding director of Illuminations: The Chancellor’s Arts and Culture Initiative, co-director of the New Swan Shakespeare Center and former director of UCI’s Humanities Center. She began her UCHRI directorship, in which she is working to craft a renewed strategic vision for UC-wide humanities engagement, on July 1.

“I’m honored and excited to build on the UCHRI’s stellar history,” Lupton said. “Areas that I want to explore include the future of experimental critical theory, the history and horizons of refugee scholarship, and evolving employment prospects for humanities graduates. I am also really interested in how UC scholars are documenting and evaluating the arts of place-making in California.”

Former director Goldberg contributed his leadership, fundraising expertise and innovative vision of what collaborative humanities research could look like and become for over two decades. During his tenure, Goldberg was instrumental in cultivating a $10 million Mellon Foundation matching gift for UCHRI’s endowment and garnering over $60 million in additional foundation and grant support for humanities research and UCHRI programs. He positioned UC as the leading public research university for humanities scholarship through his development of the world-renowned Seminar in Experimental Critical Theory and the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Hub in Digital Media and Learning.

Aiming to build on Goldberg’s legacy, Lupton’s first call to action is a simple, but meaningful one. “My main task is to find out what’s happening on all the campuses so that we can move forward together with a sense of shared purpose,” she said.

Photo credit: Steve Zylius/UCI