Jason Young to lead Institute for the Humanities


Jason Young has been named director of the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities.

His appointment, which the Board of Regents approved May 16, is effective July 1 and runs through June 30, 2029. He replaces Peggy McCracken, who is stepping down after seven years as director.

A photo of Jason Young
Jason Young

Young is an associate professor of history in LSA. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College and his doctorate from the University of California, Riverside.

“Professor Young is a brilliant scholar and a talented teacher at all levels. He is also a highly skilled and eloquent advocate for the power of the humanities, which is essential at this moment,” said LSA dean Anne Curzan. “In his work, he moves from the archives to museums, from the history of the U.S. and the African diaspora to music, dance and the visual arts.

“As someone who has engaged in public intellectual work, Professor Young will be an invaluable support to colleagues interested in this space. And I appreciate his unwavering focus on people and on community, and specifically on creating intellectual communities where scholars with diverse expertise and training and backgrounds can find connection, feel a sense of belonging and excel.”

Young joined the university in 2017. His teaching and research interests are in 19th-century U.S. history, African American history and the African diaspora. He specializes in the history of art, religion and folk culture.

“The Institute for the Humanities has long been a critically important space for interdisciplinary scholarship, programming and exhibitions at U-M. I am indebted to my predecessor, Peggy McCracken, who served brilliantly in her tenure as director,” Young said.

“In assuming this role, I look forward to extending the institute’s mission to enhance collaborations between the humanities, the arts and the larger university and to find new ways to work with the broader communities that support us. Many of the most pressing issues facing us today demand the kind of robust and generative engagements that have been a hallmark of the Institute for the Humanities.”


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