The History Department is pleased to announce that Leora Auslander, Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor in Western Civilization in the College and Professor of European Social History, has been named the inaugural Associate Chair of the University's new Department of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity (RDI). Cathy Cohen, the David and Mary Winton Green Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science, will serve as Chair.

Professor Auslander's work focuses on the intersection of material culture, everyday life, and politics in the Atlantic world, seeking to explain how and why everyday things have become catalysts for conflict, means of expressing identities and constructing selves, vehicles for dissenting opinions, and sites of unexpected state intervention. Professor Auslander co-chaired the faculty committee that proposed RDI and was the founding director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.

In the coming weeks, Professors Cohen and Auslander will convene RDI core faculty to develop a 5-year plan for the department that includes faculty hiring and undergraduate and graduate curriculum development. The leadership team will also begin the work of outlining governance practices, defining new research initiatives, establishing visiting professors and a postdoctoral fellowship, and collectively shaping the intellectual agenda for the department. 

The Council of the University Senate completed discussion regarding a new Department of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity (RDI) and voted to approve the proposal on February 22nd. This action, in keeping with the university’s faculty-led process for creating academic departments, formally established RDI in the Division of the Social Sciences. While RDI will be an important department in the Division of the Social Sciences, it will have an expansive agenda that centers faculty, students, and research from across the university.

The Department extends its congratulations to Professor Auslander on this new appointment!