Davis Humanities Institute

Welcome Katharine Wallerstein as DHI Associate Director

A Welcome Letter from Jaimey Fisher
(DHI Director and Professor of German and Cinema and Digital Media)

We at the UC Davis Humanities Institute (DHI) are delighted to announce our new Associate Director, Dr. Katharine Wallerstein, who started with the new year.  We had many excellent candidates apply, but we are absolutely delighted that our first choice has chosen to join us -- welcome, Katharine! 

As with many research centers and institutes on campus, the Associate Director fills a key position in the unit. The Associate Director supervises most of the DHI staff and is responsible for day-to-day operations of the Institute; she also oversees the fellowship and other awards competitions, undertakes our strategic initiatives, and organizes and supervises our development efforts.

Katharine comes to us from UC Berkeley, where she earned her Ph.D. in Rhetoric, working with Judith Butler, and where she worked extensively in humanities and higher-education administration in general. Her dissertation, “Hunger Artists: Appetite, Desire, and Self-Unmaking in Baudelaire, Colette, and Weil,” identifies and analyzes a tension between self-creation and “decreation” in modern French thought. Katharine has written on and taught on topics ranging from histories of sexuality, the body, and feminist theory; aesthetics, politics, and subjectivity; French philosophy; art, film, and visual culture; modernism and modernity; and ancient Greece.

While at Berkeley, both during and following her Ph.D., she worked in a number of administrative capacities. For the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities -- UC Berkeley’s humanities institute -- she coordinated a set of Berkeley-Paris initiatives and was instrumental in building institutional connections and programs with research centers in Paris, where she has ongoing personal and professional commitments. Additionally, with UC Berkeley’s Mellon-funded “International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs,” she was active in building a robust international network of such programs, organizing international conferences, developing a book series, and serving as Associate Editor of its journal with Duke University Press, Critical Times. Most recently, she worked with the UC Berkeley Dean of Arts and Humanities, Anthony Cascardi, on the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded “New Strategies for the Humanities” to bring attention to a wider range of career possibilities for Ph.D.s, and as Associate Director of Educational Programs for Berkeley’s Arts and Design Initiative, where she was in charge of interdisciplinary undergraduate initiatives and public programming.

Prior to being at Berkeley, Katharine was co-founder and Executive Director of the Global Commons Foundation, where she developed a range of public platforms for artists, scholars, thinkers, and social-justice workers to research, discuss, and act on world crises from a largely Global South perspective. As Director of Programs at the Montalvo Arts Center, she developed and ran an artists’ residency center and a number of affiliated programs, including major public works, pedagogical initiatives, and international exhibits. Prior to Montalvo, Katharine worked with the Association des Centres Culturels de Rencontres in Paris to transform historic structures throughout Europe into public arts, cultural, and humanities centers.

In addition to her Ph.D., Katharine has an M.A. in History from Duke University, and a B.A. in Anthropology from Oberlin College. Katharine lives in the Bay Area with her daughter Layla.

Feel free to come by and meet her at the DHI in Voorhies 223!