Welcome to the Walter H. Capps Center

Greetings for the 2023-2024 academic year from the Capps Center!

We are eager to welcome students and community members back to campus, including new cohorts of Mendell Fellows and McCune Interns, and a new class in the Civic Engagement Scholars Program.  

We continue our work on various initiatives, including as host of UCSB’s branch of the UC Disaster Resilience Network, with our partners on implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and in support of repatriation best practices at UCSB and beyond. Additionally, this year we have added a new initiative focused on best practices in wildfire management and tribal consultation, collaborating with partners from the UC Reserve System, UC Irvine, and several Native nations located in Payahuunadü (Owens Valley). Meanwhile, the Center’s Associate Director, Dr. Dusty Hoesly has been developing new initiatives focused on addressing anti-Asian hate and religious freedom for Asian American communities. Stay tuned for developments on these initiatives and other Center activities.

Now the big news. This Fall Quarter the Capps Center is delighted to host a two-day celebration of Walter H. Capps on November 10th and 11th. The public is invited and encouraged to attend this free event, which will feature two receptions and other opportunities to reconnect with Capps’s legacy and the broader community. We are especially eager to have former students join us, as the events will include sessions focused on Capps’s famous courses, including his long-running Vietnam class and “Voices of the Stranger.” Other sessions will feature notable scholars, politicians, and leaders in national humanities organizations. A full schedule with details will be available here soon.

In addition to our Walter Capps celebration, this quarter we are sponsoring two events that are free and open to the public as well. On October 12th we are thrilled to be hosting UCSB Department of Religious Studies alumnus Anna Bigelow, now an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford University. Her presentation is entitled “Thanatofuturism: Making Space for the Marginal at a Tomb Shrine in Bangalore.” On October 26th we have a special panel presentation for our fall Ethics and Public Policy Forum entitled, “Wildfire Management, Native Nations, and the Ethics of Consultation and Collaboration.” This panel relates to our new initiative focused on Payahuunadü and the Eastern Sierra Nevada region. See our events page for more details and, soon, for information about our exciting Winter and Spring programming.


Greg Johnson