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History of Consciousness

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Title: History of Consciousness  
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Subject: University of California, Santa Cruz, Teresa de Lauretis, Donna Haraway, Julian Bleecker, Chela Sandoval
Collection: Critical Theory, University of California, Santa Cruz
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

History of Consciousness

The History of Consciousness program is an interdisciplinary graduate program in the humanities with links to the sciences, social sciences, and arts at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

The program was started in the first year of the Santa Cruz campus in a rather informal manner. A small group of faculty members, including the American historian Page Smith,[1] philosopher Maurice Natanson, culture theorist Harry Berger, Jr., and psychology professor Bert Kaplan[2] approached the University of California system-wide Graduate Council with a proposal for a new type of graduate program for the new campus. According to the founding Chancellor of the campus, Dean McHenry, they did not consult with him and the program was approved without his input.[3]

For over a decade, there were no direct faculty appointments to the program and all faculty teaching in the program was done by members of established Boards of Studies (at the time, the UC Santa Cruz equivalent of departments). This led to problems in budgeting and program continuity, and coupled with the unorthodox interdisciplinary nature of the program, it also presented challenges in placing History of Consciousness graduates in teaching jobs. The appointment of Norman O. Brown as Professor of Humanities in 1968 was in part intended to address some of these concerns.[4]

The first graduate student in History of Consciousness was Harvey Rabbin.[4][5] Perhaps the best-known graduate of the program is Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party. Newton received his Ph.D. in 1980.[6]

Historians Hayden White and James Clifford were among the first faculty members directly appointed to the department. White joined the faculty as Professor of History of Consciousness and Chair of the Board in July, 1978, having been recruited by then-Chancellor Angus Taylor to bring stability to the program.[4] Under White's leadership, the program grew in the early 1980s to become one of the intellectual centers of theoretical innovation in the humanities and social sciences in the United States. In addition to White and Clifford, Donna Haraway, Fredric Jameson, Teresa de Lauretis, Angela Davis, and Stephen Heath joined the program, while professors in other disciplines taught "HistCon" courses, supervised HistCon graduate students, and participated in new graduate student admissions. Among those most active at this time were political theorists John Schaar, J. Peter Euben, and Robert Meister, as well as philosopher David Hoy. The faculty currently consists of Gopal Balakrishnan, James Clifford, Barbara Epstein, Carla Freccero, Donna Haraway, David Marriott, Robert Meister and Eric Porter.

Notable faculty who taught in the program: Herbert Marcuse, Hayden White, Fredric Jameson, Gayatri Chakrovorty Spivak, Stephen Heath, Victor Burgin, Kobena Mercer, Isaac Julien, Karen Barad, and Neferti Tadiar.


  • See also 1
    • Related people 1.1
    • Notable History of Consciousness graduates 1.2
  • External links 2
  • References 3

See also

Related people

Notable History of Consciousness graduates

External links

  • History of Consciousness Department Website
  • University of California, Santa Cruz


  1. ^
  2. ^ In Memoriam-Bert Kaplan
  3. ^ Interview with Dean E. McHenry the UC Santa Cruz Library Digital Collections
  4. ^ a b c Ibid.
  5. ^
  6. ^ UC Santa Cruz Library Digital Collections
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