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Warnke is National Humanities Fellow

UC Riverside Professor Named National Humanities Fellow

Philosophy Chair to Spend Year in North Carolina on Race, Gender Project

(June 1, 2004)

Georgia Warnke

Georgia Warnke

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- What defines people? UC Riverside philosophy professor Georgia Warnke has been studying that question for years, and will soon begin another phase of the challenge as one of 40 fellows at The National Humanities Center during the 2004-2005 academic year.

Warnke was chosen on the basis of her project, "After Sex: A Hermeneutics of Race and Gender, Color and Sex." She focuses on tension between the pursuit of racial and gender justice and the idea that race and gender identity are imposed by society.

“Why should we struggle for social justice on behalf of identities that are themselves social effects?” she asks. “Would it not be better to work on getting rid of these identities?”

Warnke said she is aiming for an interpretive account of racial and gender identity.

“Race and gender are historically plausible ways of understanding who we are, but they are neither more fundamental nor less partial than the other identities we possess,” she said. “Being a woman has the same status as being a Methodist or Democrat: It can be the source of the same sort of pride and is entitled to the same freedoms and protections. When people insist, however, that we are most basically women, no matter what else we are, they are being dogmatic in a way that is belied by the nature of interpretation.”

Warnke and the other National Humanities Fellows represent history, literature, philosophy and half a dozen other humanistic fields of study. They have been called to the Center from the faculties of colleges and universities across the United States and also from Israel, Norway and Poland. They will work individually on research projects in the humanities, and will exchange ideas in seminars, lectures, and conferences.

"I look forward to welcoming this exciting group of scholars," said Geoffrey Harpham, Director of the National Humanities Center. "They represent a truly remarkable range of interests."

The National Humanities Center is granting a total of $1.3 million to enable the 2004-05 fellows to take leave of their academic duties and do research at the Center. Funding for the fellowships is made possible by the Center's endowment, contributions from alumni Fellows of the Center and by grants from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Florence Gould Foundation, the A.G. Leventis Foundation, the Lilly Endowment and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The National Humanities Center ( is in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, a few miles south of Durham and east of Chapel Hill. It is a privately incorporated institute for advanced study in the humanities. Since 1978 the Center has awarded fellowships to leading scholars whose work at the Center has resulted in more than 900 books in all fields of humanistic study. The Center also sponsors programs to strengthen teaching of the humanities in secondary and higher education.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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