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Sally Kitch named University Professor

portrait of Sally Kitch

Sally Kitch, founding director of ASU's Institute for Humanities Research, has been named University Professor by interim Provost Mark Searle.
Photo by: Arizona State University

September 24, 2015

Sally Kitch, founding director of Arizona State University’s Institute for Humanities Research, has been named University Professor by interim Provost Mark Searle. The designation is given to a very select number of ASU’s tenured faculty whose scholarly work has attained particular influence.

Kitch is also a Regents’ Professor of women’s and gender studies at ASU’s School of Social Transformation in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and a Distinguished Sustainability Scientist at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability,

In her new role, Kitch will continue as a North American principal investigator for “Humanities for the Environment,” an international research project focused on human responsibility, multi-species relationships and collaborative knowledge and collective action in and for the Anthropocene. The project, currently funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is in collaboration with ASU Professor of English and Senior Sustainability Scholar Joni Adamson, other ASU colleagues, and academics from four other American universities. In addition, Kitch will initiate a new book project and continue development of a proposal for a transdisciplinary Humanities Lab to promote next-generation research and pedagogical collaborations at ASU.

Kitch will also maintain her role as an affiliate of ASU’s Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and as an advisor to Gender Studies doctoral candidates. Among her contributions to the field of women and gender studies is the creation of a sub-field in feminism and utopianism.

She will leave her directorship at the Institute for Humanities Research (IHR) in June 2016, though will remain involved in its research activities, which include the digital humanities, environmental humanities and medical humanities.

Kitch’s work in the IHR has helped create an intellectual community for humanists at ASU and beyond, Searle said.

“The IHR has a track record of taking on some of the most challenging problems we face as a global society,” he said. “We are grateful for Dr. Kitch’s work and are excited for her continued contributions to this thriving research enterprise.”

During Kitch’s tenure, the IHR helped develop the university’s first digital humanities lab, the Nexus Lab, which encourages interdisciplinary collaborations that bring together humanities, science and technology. It also initiated a distinguished lecture series, a yearly faculty seminar series and research clusters, fellows programs and seed grant funding to improve the quality of proposals to external funding agencies.

“Questions and concerns that humanists have about language, values, history, beliefs and assumptions are central to working out vexing social challenges,” said Kitch. “Dealing with the humanities means addressing basic and fundamental questions of deep concern, even within issues that may seem purely technological.”

Prior to joining ASU in 2006, Kitch was a distinguished humanities professor and department chair at The Ohio State University. She received her bachelor's from Cornell University, her master's from the University of Chicago and her doctorate from Emory University.

Marlene Tromp, vice provost of ASU’s West campus, dean of ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and professor of English and women and gender studies, will chair a national search committee for the next director of the Institute for Humanities Research.