What We Do
H&A in Action sponsors more than 500 intellectual, cultural, and artistic events, performances, and exhibits annually (see Events). The goal is to involve students with actively contested questions, empirical observation, cutting-edge technologies, and the sense of excitement that comes from working to answer important questions. We encourage faculty to create robust, engaging curriculum to bring students into those conversations (see Curricular Communities).
This type of experiential learning and hands-on activities increases rates of student retention and student engagement through the implementation of collaborative assignments and projects, creation of learning communities and common intellectual experiences, and augmented by intercultural learning in the community, specifically through H&A’s live programming. This live programming, offered by our Artistic Excellent Programming Grant (AEPG) initiative (see Apply), can be paired with not only ethnic studies programs and departments in the College of Social Sciences, but also with the College of Engineering, College of Business, and College of Health and Human Sciences in order to allow students an opportunity to enact and build knowledge together before, during, and after any of the live programming through purposeful interdisciplinary pedagogical interventions.
H&A has already partnered with departments in other colleges through the Deep Humanities and Arts Initiative, with a yearly speaker series that invites both internal SJSU experts and external Silicon Valley technology experts and entrepreneurs to draw on deep structures of history, myth, and culture, networks of language, communication, and interpretation, patterns of affect, belief and bias, representations of cognition and consciousness, theories of ethics, art and aesthetics to develop multilevel, interdisciplinary, cross-cultural models of complex problems in order to reach higher levels of critical thinking, experiencing, understanding, and solving—all of which is an invitation to reconceptualize culture itself as a form of (artificial) intelligence that enhances and extends human capabilities.
One of SJSU’s most unique buildings and partnerships is the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library (King Library), a joint collaboration between SJSU and the City of San José. The humanities represent a large part of King Library’s collections, programs and events, including: a semester-long University Library Scholar Series that showcases research and scholarly works from faculty; an annual Author and Artist Awards that honors faculty publications; and four year-round exhibit spaces for displaying artwork as well as historical materials. King Library’s humanities programming extends to the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies; the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies; the Africana, Asian American, Chicano and Native American Studies Center; SJSU Special Collections and Archives; and the California Room, which hosts lectures, concerts, and readings throughout the year.
With an NEH Challenge Grant awarded in Spring 2020, H&A and King Library are embarking on a collaborative 5-year plan to build a Digital Humanities Center that will be dedicated to supporting teaching and research in digital humanities at SJSU and fostering interest and participation in digital humanities within the community.
The Hammer Theatre Center, which produces about a quarter of the 500 humanities-focused SJSU events, is uniquely equipped for its role as the major public platform for SJSU’s cultural events programming. The Hammer is a 520-seat performing arts center located two blocks from SJSU’s main campus in downtown San José. Although the city of San José owns the Hammer Theatre Center, the Hammer has been managed by H&A since December 2015. For SJSU, the Hammer operates both as a laboratory and as a public stage for humanities programming. For the greater community, the Hammer is a venue for reflection on the human condition. The Hammer has also built a robust volunteer program and outreach initiatives to engage students and community members in-person and online, e.g., MLK Day of Service and Letters to Heal 2021 campaigns.
The College has been working towards engaging the rich cultures of the communities surrounding the SJSU campus through the H&A in San Jose initiative and includes collaborations with Chopsticks Alley Art Association, History San Jose, Japanese American Museum, San Jose Museum of Art, and San Jose Public Library.
We're keen to expand our community collaborations -- please contact Katherine D. Harris (email) to partner with our College, faculty, and students.
To see the progress of our College's public programming iniative over the years, please review the Reports & Publications.