Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Illinois Department of English Blog


Welcome to the Department of English blog.

My name is Vicki Mahaffey and I took over as
head of the department on July 1, 2016. I'll be using this site to post updates and information of interest to our faculty, students, and alumni,
along with reflections about our discipline(s) in particular and the humanities in general. As anyone who has ever worked or studied here knows, the Department of English is a vibrant place. If you have something you'd like to see posted here, or if you want to contact me about the content of this blog, drop me an email at

Friday, February 15, 2013

Michael Rothberg

This post is a bit more personal in nature than some I've written, and so I will try to keep it correspondingly brief. 

This week, it was announced by the Dean's office that Professor Michael Rothberg had agreed to take over as head of our department next August, at the completion of my five-year term.  Since I will still be in this office for several more months and since I will undoubtedly post here many more times between now and August 15, this is not the place for any drawn-out valediction or farewell.  But I will say that being head of the department has been at once exciting, exhausting, challenging, and inspiring, often all on the same day.  I chose not to pursue a second term because I thought it would be unhealthy--for me and for the department--to hold the position for ten years, but it has been a distinct honor to hold it for almost five.  I have learned an enormous amount about the university and my brilliant colleagues, and I'm very proud of what we as a department have accomplished.

Michael--who I guess regular readers of this blog may come to know much better in the relatively near future!--will be wonderful for the department.  He is an exceptionally accomplished scholar with an enviable international reputation, and the comparativist nature of his work positions him very well to lead English during a time when multi-disciplinarity is simply the way we all do business.  In addition to his primary departmental affiliation with English, Rothberg holds affiliate status in several other on-campus humanities programs, including The Program in Jewish Culture and Society, Comparative and World Literature, and Germanic Languages and Literatures.  He is also a former director of our Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory and Director, under the aegis of the Program in Jewish Culture and Society, of an ongoing Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies.

I am very grateful to Michael for agreeing to take on this important role, and I'm very much looking forward to benefiting--as a faculty member--from his wise stewardship!  

No comments:

Blog Archive