California Cultures Initiative Announces Calls for Proposals

UPDATE: Deadline for Proposals Extended to Monday, December 5, 2011 at 12:00 PM

The California Cultures Initiative (CCI), administered by the UC Davis Humanities Institute, has announced two calls for proposals aimed at supporting courses and research collaborations that engage questions around the California region, broadly conceived.

In the first call, faculty may apply for up to $1,000 to assist with developing courses that support California studies. The sum may be used for student assistance, travel related to course content, books, or other expenses related to course development. Jessica Loudermilk, a PhD candidate in linguistics and CCI’s program coordinator, anticipates awarding several grants, depending on the quality of the pool. The second award offers up to $15,000 in support for a research collaboration that could be used towards a symposium, preparing a large grant application, a faculty-led working group, a scholarly retreat, or a co-authored publication. The hope is that the research will foster inter- and multi-disciplinary inquiry in support of California studies at UC Davis. In both competitions, California is defined broadly to include areas and regions within the state as well as the state’s relation to Greater Mexico or the Pacific Rim.

Proposals for both awards must be received by November 30, 2011. Activities are expected to take place in the 2011-2012 academic year. To view the guidelines and submission instructions, please visit the CCI’s web page:

While in recent years the CCI endowment has been directed to an annual research seminar modeled after the Institute’s open-topic faculty research seminar, these new plans for CCI programming grew out of conversations among Carolyn de la Peña, the Institute’s faculty director; CCI’s Program Coordinator Jessica Loudermilk; as well as the Institute’s 2011-2012 Interim Director Beth Levy. “I am very excited about these new opportunities to strengthen and deepen the impact of California research at UC Davis by engaging scholars at every stage of their research and by reaching out to experts in California studies from other campuses,” said Levy, whose own research focuses on musical representations of California and the West. “I see UC Davis coming into its own as the region’s research hub for collaborative networks of scholars, artists, librarians, and community members – there’s a terrific energy when different California cultures come together.”

The course development support allows the program to benefit undergraduate and graduate education at UC Davis more directly. In the case of the new research seminar funding, the aim was to allow for more flexibility in the format and mission of the research endeavor. In addition, UC Davis graduate students and faculty from outside of UC Davis are welcome to participate in a research collaboration.

“The CCI endowment has always supported research at the Humanities Institute,” Loudermilk explained, “but these new funding opportunities will enable CCI and its mission of fostering work in California studies to be more visible in the programming we offer, as well as more responsive to the specific needs in already active areas of research on campus.”

Originally named the Pacific Regional Humanities Center (PRHC), CCI was born in 2002 as an initiative funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Overseen by the UC Davis Humanities Institute, the PRHC was created to generate and broker humanities research and public programs for the Pacific United States and Territories and emphasized the study of “place” in its many dimensions, particularly alternative mappings of region that elude or defy conventional political or territorial boundaries. From 2003 through 2006, the PRHC worked primarily on oral history projects focused on Angel Island and Sutter Buttes.

In 2007 the PRHC was reconceptualized as the California Cultures Initiative as a means to enhance the connection of humanities and social science scholars at UC Davis to their surrounding region and to encourage engaged, place-based scholarship and public programs. CCI also supports regional and place-based scholarship through co-sponsorship of The Art of Regional Change, a yearly community-based multi-media documentary project directed by jesikah maria ross; and through hosting the UC Davis based editorial staff of Boom: a Journal of California, published by UC Press with special funding from the Mellon Foundation and edited by Louis Warren and Carolyn de la Peña.