Peggy McCracken has been named director of the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities. Her appointment is effective July 1 and runs through June 30, 2022. She replaces Sidonie Smith, who is stepping down after five years as director.
McCracken is Domna C. Stanton Collegiate Professor of French, Women’s Studies and Comparative Literature, and faculty coordinator of the U-M Humanities Collaboratory.
“Peggy McCracken brings to the directorship of the institute great depth of leadership experience and innovative ideas about how to foster the humanities both on campus and beyond campus,” said Anne Curzan, associate dean for the humanities.
“She will be a powerful spokesperson for the importance of the humanities as part of the public discourse, in addition to the integral role of the humanities in the research and teaching mission of the university.”
McCracken joined the university in 1999 as an associate professor of French. She was promoted to professor of French and women’s studies in 2003. In 2012, she was appointed professor of comparative literature, and in 2014 was named Domna C. Stanton Collegiate Professor.
“The mission of the Humanities Institute has never been more urgent,” McCracken said. “I am excited about building on the institute’s already successful programs to develop new initiatives to support humanities research and education, and to demonstrate the important ways in which the humanities contribute to understanding our world and making the future we want.”
Her teaching and research interests are in the intersections of medieval literature, history and theory. Her most recent book is “In the Skin of a Beast: Sovereignty and Animality in Medieval France.” She is currently director of medieval and early modern studies at U-M.
McCracken earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina, and her doctorate from Yale University.