Search for next director of the Center for the Humanities

Arts & Sciences at Washington University has launched an internal search to identify the next director of the Center for the Humanities.

Arts & Sciences is pleased to announce a search for the next director of the Center for the Humanities. The director plays a critical role in executing the mission of the center, which is to “facilitate the labor of humanists by nurturing innovative research, transformative pedagogy, and vibrant community engagement locally and globally.” 

The center has a distinguished legacy at Washington University. It began in 1990 as the International Writers Center, under the directorship of William Gass, the David May Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities. In 2001, Gerald Early, the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters, became the second director of the International Writers Center. Under the guidance of its advisory board and after seeking input from Washington University faculty, the center expanded its mission to embrace the humanities more broadly. In 2003, the International Writers Center became the Washington University Center for the Humanities. Early directed the center until 2013, when he stepped down to focus on other projects, including the journal The Common Reader, which engages scientific and artistic ideas, social issues, and current controversies of our time. 

The directorship has been held most recently by Jean Allman, the J.H. Hexter Professor in the Humanities and Professor of African and African-American Studies, who became the center’s second permanent director in January 2014. "Jean has set a very high bar for leadership of the center," said Feng Sheng Hu, dean of Arts & Sciences. "She leaves a tremendous record of accomplishment, in particular her work on the Divided City initiative as well as the project on redefining doctoral education. I am thrilled that she leaves the center with such momentum, and I look forward to working with her successor." 

The ideal candidate for the position will be a scholar with a strong, clear vision of the role of the humanities at Washington University and beyond, now and into the future. The new director will be a strategic, inclusive thinker with an appreciation for interdisciplinary connections, who can galvanize, enhance, and lead a diverse community of scholars, students, and staff. The full position description is available here:

Members of the search committee include:

T.R. Kidder (committee chair), Chair and Professor of Anthropology, Professor of Environmental Studies Andrea Freidman, Professor of History and of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Laura Perry, Assistant Director for Research and Public Engagement, Center for the Humanities Letty Chen, Chair of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Professor of Modern Chinese Language and Literature Jonathan Fenderson, Associate Professor of African and African-American Studies Erin McGlothlin, Vice Dean of Undergraduate Affairs, Professor of German and Jewish Studies Thomas Keeline, Associate Professor of Classics​

To apply, please submit a CV and brief cover letter to Hannah Ishmael ( by Friday, April 1, 2022. Nominations are also welcome.

If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to any of the search committee members.