Alexandra Minna Stern, professor of American culture, history, women’s studies, and obstetrics and gynecology in the Medical School, has been named associate dean for the humanities at the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan. 

Stern succeeds Anne Curzan, who has served as associate dean for the humanities since 2015 and who begins her term as dean of LSA on September 1, 2019.

“I am honored by this opportunity to support and enhance humanities research, teaching, and public engagement at Michigan,” Stern says. “Every day I am awed and inspired by the creativity and originality of faculty and students in the humanities division, and look forward to our collective work in the coming years. At a time when humanities face a range of challenges, it is more important than ever to embrace innovation and increase the visibility of the high caliber and interdisciplinary scholarship we do at Michigan.”

In her role as associate dean, Stern will work with more than 20 humanities chairs and directors in over a dozen different units, among them the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, and the Residential College, as well as the Departments of Asian Languages and Cultures, Afroamerican and African Studies, English Language and Literatures, and Romance Languages and Literatures. Associate Dean Stern will also support LSA’s new Digital Studies Institute. Research in the humanities at Michigan is centered on understanding the human experience through art, literature, language, and cultures across the world, and humanities scholars in LSA are studying everything from ancient cuneiform script to the evolving challenges of the modern workplace.

A historian and public scholar, Stern studies the history of eugenics, genetics, society, and justice in the United States and Latin America. 

In addition to teaching, Stern directs the Sterilization and Social Justice Lab in LSA’s Department of American Culture. The lab is an interdisciplinary research team focused on the history of sterilization in the United States. Team members include historians, epidemiologists, and digital humanists across several academic institutions who collectively and individually use methods from the social sciences, humanities, and public health to explore patterns and experiences of eugenics and sterilization in the twentieth century. This research has informed recent efforts to pass reparations legislation for sterilization survivors in California.