Prof. Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes will serve as chair of the Department of American Culture from July 1, 2021, until June 30, 2024. He is the former director of the Latina/o Studies Program (2011-2016, 2018-2019) and has served on several LSA committees, including on the Dean’s Ad Hoc Faculty Diversity Taskforce, the Humanities Divisional Evaluation Committee, and the College Executive Committee. In addition to his appointment in American Culture, he is a professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of Women’s and Gender Studies, and an affiliated faculty member in Comparative Literature, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and World Performance Studies.
Larry is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and received his AB (BA) from Harvard in 1991 and his MA (1992), MPhil (1996), and Ph.D. (1999) from Columbia. His publications include Queer Ricans: Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora (University of Minnesota Press, 2009), Escenas transcaribeñas: ensayos sobre teatro, performance y cultura (Isla Negra Editores, 2018), Translocas: The Politics of Puerto Rican Drag and Trans Performance (University of Michigan Press, 2021), and the co-edited volume Keywords for Latina/o Studies (New York University Press, 2017). He has performed in drag as Lola von Miramar since 2010. Before arriving in Michigan, he taught at Ohio State University and at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
As Larry indicates, “I am extremely happy to have the opportunity to lead this outstanding department, which is the oldest American Studies program in the nation. Our department is unique in the ways it combines historical, literary, digital, sociological, ethnographic, media, cultural, performance, and religious analysis, among other approaches, housing four key ethnic studies units. We provide students with an expansive understanding of the United States, its Indigenous nations, and its territories in a hemispheric and transnational context, ranging from the Pacific to the Northern Atlantic, Caribbean, and beyond. At a moment of increased racial and ethnic tensions, our classes center crucial discussions. The scholarship and activism of our faculty is at the forefront of national debates on African American, Asian, and Pacific Islander American, Arab and Muslim American, Latinx, and Native American issues and on questions of digital and racial justice and gender and sexuality. I hope to maintain the legacy of excellence exemplified by current chair Gregory E. Dowd as we continue to overcome the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. I feel truly lucky to be working with such an outstanding staff, with brilliant faculty and students, and with such committed alumni.”