April 26, 2007
Vol. 26 No. 15

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    Roth named Dean of the Humanities

    By Josh Schonwald
    News Office

    Martha Roth

    Martha Roth, one of the world’s leading experts on the ancient languages of Mesopotamia and Editor-in-Charge of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, has been named Dean of the Division of the Humanities, effective Sunday, July 1, 2007.

    Roth, Deputy Provost for Research and Education and the Chauncey S. Boucher Distinguished Service Professor of Assyriology in the Oriental Institute, Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations and the College, will succeed Danielle Allen, Professor in Classics and the College, as Dean of the division.

    “Martha has brought incredible energy, confident leadership and sound judgment to her role as Deputy Provost, characteristics that will serve the Humanities Division and the University well in her new position as Dean,” wrote President Zimmer and Provost Thomas Rosenbaum in an announcement they sent to University deans and officers.

    In announcing the appointment, Zimmer and Rosenbaum praised Roth’s recent contributions as Deputy Provost. Since that appointment in July 2004, Roth has coordinated the President’s initiative to increase graduate student aid in the Social Sciences and Humanities divisions, and she has served as the officer responsible for compiling and submitting the University’s response to the National Research Council’s latest project to assess U.S. research doctorate programs.

    Roth also has represented the Provost’s office on the Library, the Graham School of General Studies and the University Press boards, and has served as the primary liaison to the Office of the Vice President and Dean of Students in the University.

    A world-renowned expert on Mesopotamian languages, Roth serves as Editor-in-Charge of the 26-volume Chicago Assyrian Dictionary. She conducts research on the legal and social history of the ancient Near East, and her chief scholarly interests have been family law, women’s legal and social issues, and the compilation and transmission of laws.

    She is the author of Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor, which is the most up-to-date and comprehensive collection and translation of Mesopotamian laws, including those of the famous King Hammurabi of Babylon; The Series An-ta-gal shaqu, Materials for the Sumerian Lexicon 17 (1985); and Babylonian Marriage Agreements, 7th-3rd Centuries B.C. (1989).

    Roth, who has received fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies, is currently working on a project on Mesopotamian legal cases.

    Prior to her Chicago faculty appointment in 1980, Roth completed her Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in Oriental Studies in 1979.

    Roth succeeds Allen, who has served as Dean of the Division of the Humanities since 2004.

    “Over the last three years, Danielle has distinguished herself as a tireless advocate for the Humanities,” noted Zimmer. “She has supported academic expansions ranging from collaborative interdivisional initiatives to the infusion of the arts into the University’s curriculum and intellectual agenda.”

    Rosenbaum added that Allen “has tirelessly bolstered the Division’s infrastructure, be it securing additional resources to support graduate students or the promotion and planning of the new Center for Creative and Performing Arts.”

    A Divisional Faculty Search Committee comprising eight faculty members advised the President and Provost on the new dean appointment. Those committee members were: Steven Collins, Professor and Chair of South Asian Languages & Civilizations and the College; Philip Gossett, the Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor in Music and the College; Jonathan Hall, the Phyllis F. Horton Professor in the Humanities and the College, and Chair of Classics; Francoise Meltzer, the Mabel Greene Myers Professor in Comparative Literature and the College; Deborah Nelson, Associate Professor in English Language & Literature and the College; Candace Vogler, Associate Professor in Philosophy and the College; and Judith Zeitlin, Professor and Chair of East Asian Languages & Civilizations.

    “I am honored to have been selected by the search committee and by President Zimmer and Provost Rosenbaum to serve the Division of the Humanities as dean,” said Roth.

    “I look forward to working together with the faculty to maintain and enhance our strong intellectual traditions and to support our initiatives in research and teaching,” she said.