Community Matters

Community matters is our in-house article series about issues pertaining to the experience of being a graduate student, visiting graduate student, visiting scholar, and postdoc in the  humanities and social sciences at UCB. It will feature occasional pieces on topics such as the state and future of the humanities and social sciences, issues regarding the job market, and life in the Bay Area.


Admir Skodo, President of the HSSA and Sam Castaneda, Director of the VSPA, visited the University of Seville in Spain in April 2017 in order to help them to improve their services for visiting scholars. Admir and Sam met with vice-chancellors, professors, visiting scholars, and graduate students. In this context, the University of Seville has decided to try to create an association based on the HSSA model, and Admir worked with Mar Loren, a previous HSSA board member and professor at Seville, to create an action plan.

The HSSA has co-sponsored a conference on logic and literature which will be held on April 14-15. More information can be found here.

HSSA board member Admir Skodo publishes two articles on Afghan refugees and immigration in Sweden in The Conversation.

HSSA members are invited to attend Beyond Academia, a student-organized conference helping PhDs and postdocs explore non-academic careers. Learn more and register

Whether you plan to pursue a career as an academic or in the business, government, or nonprofit realm, the ability to collaborate effectively has never been more important.


May 10th, 2016 10am-12pm at International House - UC Berkeley

Admir Skodo, President of the HSSA, recently published his first monograph with Palgrave Macmillan. The book is entitled The Afterlife of Idealism: The Impact of New Idealism on British Historical and Political Thought. The book came out in June 2016.

On November 16, 2016 HSSA board members met with John Paulas, Director of Fellowships and Special Projects at the Townsend Center for the Humanities. Other participants included Linda von Hoene, Assistant Dean for Professional Development; Andrew Green, Assistant Director at the Career Center; and Sam Castaneda, Director of the Visiting Scholar and Postdoc Affairs Program. It was agreed, among other things, that the HSSA would set up a Townsend working group focusing on public humanities and social sciences, as well as invite existing working groups to the HSSA monthly socials.

 What does a criminologist do in her free time? Teaching statistics in prison of course! You’re teaching … prison guards? No, I’m teaching inmates. What?! But… isn’t that dangerous? Are their guards with you in the classroom? Do you feel safe? These are often the first questions people ask me when I tell them I’m teaching through the Prison University Project in San Quentin State Prison. 

In this article, Sytske Besemer, a UC Berkeley postdoc in criminology, tells a gripping story about GRIP - Guiding Rage Into Power, a program for helping inmates at San Quentin Prison develop emotional intelligence. The article also touches on higher educational opportunities for the inmates. In a future article Sytske, who is an instructor at the Prison University Project at San Quentin, will address opportunities for members of the HSSA community to learn about and get involved in the initiative teaching college level courses at San Quentin.

Advances in technology have long been changing the way scholars work in terms of teaching, research, and administrative duties. A famous example is the appearance and then widespread distribution of printing. Another one, seemingly more mundane but a fixture nonetheless, is the blackboard, which was introduced into the US from Europe at the beginning of the 19th century.

Humanities and Social Sciences Association (HSSA) is a group of researchers in the humanities and social sciences. Our events foster a sense of community, organize academic and social events, and offer resources for career development. "Community Matters" is the group's article series where we publish on new developments or problems that concern the experience of being a scholar in the humanities and social sciences.