Jan. 18, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 8

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    Chandler succeeds Hunter as Franke Institute Director

    James Chandler, the George M. Pullman Professor in English Language & Literature, has been named Director of the Franke Institute for the Humanities. He succeeds J. Paul Hunter, the institute’s second director and the Barbara E. and Richard J. Franke Professor, who has completed his five-year term and is retiring. Chandler will begin his five-year term effective July 1.

    James Chandler, the George M. Pullman Professor in English Language & Literature, will head the Franke Institute for the Humanities.

    Chandler, who chaired the group within the Humanities Commission that recommended the formation of an institute at the University in 1988, said he plans to continue the work of his predecessors toward making the commission’s vision a living part of the University and its outreach.

    “Outreach has been a particular emphasis for Paul Hunter’s productive tenure at the institute–it’s what he calls ‘going downtown’ with the Humanities,” commented Chandler. “I intend to support and strengthen such initiatives and develop ways of reaching even further,” he said.

    Chandler said he also would like to see the Franke Institute become a resource and generator for critical questions about the future of universities worldwide. “Major changes are afoot in funding for higher education and in information technologies, disciplinary formations and institutional linkages,” he said. “Since these changes are affecting the character of higher education everywhere, our ‘outreach’ in this area has never been more urgently needed.”

    Janel Mueller, Dean of the Humanities Division, said, “Jim is the right successor as Director of the Franke Institute. He aspires to bring a contemporary meaning to the comprehensive, integrative vision of education, research and publication that marked the founding vision of the University and the central role of humanities within it.”

    Mueller also praised Hunter for his leadership of the institute during a period of growth. “Paul has done a superlative job of building the Franke Institute, especially in expanding its outreach, diversification of programs and level of faculty participation. Under his leadership the Franke Institute has truly assumed a central role in the life of the Humanities Division, from supporting research to incubating new College courses to being the place to congregate on Wednesdays at noon to hear about and discuss a colleague’s work.”

    Chandler began teaching as an Instructor at the University in 1976 while completing his Ph.D. in English Language & Literature. Since he joined the faculty in 1978, he has taught courses in English and in the Committees on the History of Culture, Cinema & Media Studies and General Studies in the Humanities.

    His best-known publications, all published by the University Press, include his critically acclaimed England in 1819: the Politics of Literary Culture and the Case of Romantic Historicism and Wordsworth’s Second Nature: A Study of Poetry and Politics. Together with Chicago colleagues Arnold Davidson, Professor in Philosophy, and Harry Harootunian, the Max Palevsky Professor Emeritus, Chandler co-edited Questions of Evidence, published by the University Press in 1994. He is recognized as an authority on the Romantic Movement in England and the relationships between politics and literature, history and criticism.

    The Franke Institute for the Humanities began operating in Winter Quarter 1991 under the direction of Interim Director Norma Field, the William J. & Alicia Townsend Friedman Professor and Chair in East Asian Languages & Civilizations. The institute serves as a center for humanities work at the University and facilitates interdisciplinary projects between scholars in the Humanities Division and those in other disciplines.