Kleinberg to Serve as Center for Humanities Director

Ethan Kleinberg

Ethan Kleinberg, professor of history and letters, will serve as the next director of the Center for Humanities (CHUM), beginning July 1, 2012.

Rob Rosenthal, provost, vice president for Academic Affairs, John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, made the announcement in Novemeber.

Kleinberg has served Wesleyan as director of the College of Letters and director of the Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Paris. He is currently associate editor of History & Theory and will be assuming the role of executive editor in the coming year.

Kleinberg’s wide-ranging scholarly work spans across the fields of history, philosophy, comparative literature and religion. His current research interests include European intellectual history, critical theory, educational structures, post-colonialism and the philosophy of history. He is the author of Generation Existential: Martin Heidegger’s Philosophy in France, 1927-61, which was awarded the 2006 Morris D. Forkosch prize for the best book in intellectual history, by the Journal of the History of Ideas. Kleinberg is presently in the process of completing his second book, The Myth of Emmanuel Levinas, on the Talmudic Lectures the French-Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas presented in Paris between 1960 and 1990, as well as an edited volume comprised of interdisciplinary scholarship on the theme of “Presence.”

While Director of COL, Kleinberg’s research into the origins of Wesleyan’s 1959 “College Plan” led him to author a piece on the challenges facing interdisciplinary programs and departments in the 21st century, published in the Winter 2008 issue of AACU’s Liberal Education. As befitting someone set to take over the leadership of the Center for Humanities, Kleinberg’s own scholarship is deliberately defined by interdisciplinary intellectual inquiry across the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

Kleinberg will be taking over the reigns from Jill Morawski, who is stepping aside after six years leading the center. During her directorship, Wesleyan was awarded a $2 million endowment challenge grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the Center for the Humanities. This award secures the center’s financial future and will allow for increased engagement with the undergraduate curriculum and expanded engagement with scholars and organizations outside Wesleyan.

“I wish to extend my thanks to the many faculty members who spoke with me throughout this process,” Rosenthal said in an all-campus announcement. “Widespread faculty interest in and support of CHUM and its mission are certain to be a boon to Ethan as he takes over leadership of the Center for the Humanities.”