DAAS welcomes its new chair Professor Frieda Ekotto, the 18th person to lead the department and the first African woman. Dr. Ekotto has been a Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies  and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan since 1994. She holds a PhD from the University of Minnesota. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Ford Foundation seed grant for research and collaborative work with institutions of higher learning in Africa. She is the author of six books and numerous articles in professional journals. She has lectured throughout the United States and in Australia, Algeria, Cameroon, Cuba, Canada, England, France, Ivory Coast, Malaysia, Malta, Nigeria Tunisia South Africa, and Singapore, among other countries. Dr. Ekotto has developed and taught a wide range of innovative courses on literature and law in France; literature and film in Africa, the Caribbean and Maghreb; postcolonial narratives by Francophone women and minorities; and representations of family and friendship in Francophone film and literature. Her curricular contributions have been critical to the emergence and consolidation of Francophone studies at the University of Michigan and to the teaching of race and ethnicity in the context of French-speaking cultures. Professor Ekotto is highly regarded by students and colleagues who praise her intellectual generosity and her success in motivating students to think critically.