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Image: Frank Stella, Double Concentric: Double Scramble (1971), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA), Photo: Derek Conrad Murray

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History of Art and Visual Culture Department

Offering the most diverse Art History and Visual Culture curriculum in the University of California, HAVC interprets images and objects with historical and social contexts. Our work leads to a stronger understanding of human societies and cultural traditions.

Department Description

HAVC is the only program in the nation–if not the world–featuring faculty who research visual cultures around the globe such as Africa, the Indigenous Americas, Asia, Europe, the Mediterranean and the Pacific Islands–in addition to traditional fields. Faculty research includes Contemporary Art in a Global Context, Technocultural approaches to Visual Culture, Digital Art and Culture, Art and Ecology, Latin American and Latino Studies, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Modern and Contemporary Architecture and Design, and the Art and Visual Culture of Colonialism. This exemplary research, along with the creative works produced and analyzed by students have a powerful impact on the world and society beyond UC Santa Cruz.

A trailblazing department, HAVC teaches visual literacy and changes the ways students see the world. In an increasingly media-saturated environment, visual literacy—the ability to understand how imagery shapes opinions, summons emotions, and instigates actions—is essential. Our students become conscious citizens, nationally and globally.

How You Can Help

Endow faculty positions
As a small department, new faculty positions bolster faculty-to-student ratios in regions that represent our students and their interests, building on our established excellence in Asia-Pacific and Latin America. In keeping with UCSC’s commitment to environmental and social justice, these faculty would focus on earth futures or public engagement.
Attract Graduate Students
Fellowships allow us to recruit competitive students who may not be able to afford graduate education. We actively seek to attract and support the most talented and diverse scholars. Fellowships and other graduate support, such as travel or research grants, invest in student success.
Bring in Visiting Scholars
As a relatively isolated campus, a robust scholar series introduces visitors to our multidisciplinary program, providing opportunities to work with faculty, mentor students, and expose students to different research and presentation styles as well as networking opportunities.
Provide Experiential Opportunities for Undergraduates
Our fast-growing concentration Curation, Heritage, and Museum Studies offers internships on campus. We want to offer off-campus internships with prestigious institutions. For students already holding one or more jobs while attending school, paid internships frees them to gain valuable experience and skills for future careers.
Learn more: 
Arts Development