Institute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies

Dean of Liberal Arts

Dean of Liberal Arts & Executive Director for the Institute for Liberal Arts
Amy E. Ansell, PhD, Dean of Liberal Arts

Dean of Liberal Arts

The Office of the Dean of Liberal Arts is home to key programs in the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies that promote the interdisciplinary study of the liberal arts, support faculty development and collaboration leading to curricular innovation, and advance students’ theoretical and ethical understanding of communication and the arts. The dean is responsible for overseeing the Perspectives curriculum, Liberal Arts minors, the Institute First-Year Seminar Program, the Honors Program, and the Individually Designed Interdisciplinary Program. The Institute hosts events each semester—student forums, faculty book celebrations, outside lectures, and faculty panels—to foster civic engagement on issues and events both local and global.

Professor Ansell was appointed dean of liberal arts in January 2010. She came to Emerson from Bard College, where she was Professor of Sociology (1992–2009), Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (1994–1996), and Associate Dean for International Programs (1996–1998). During her tenure at Bard, Professor Ansell helped spearhead both international and interdisciplinary initiatives in the curricular areas of human rights, democratization and international studies, Africana studies, and studies in race and ethnicity.

A 1986 graduate of the University of Michigan, Professor Ansell received an MA (1988), MPhil (1989), and PhD (1994) in social and political sciences from Cambridge University. She is the author of Race and Ethnicity: The Key Concepts (Routledge, 2013), author of New Right, New Racism: Race and Reaction in the United States and Britain (NYU/Macmillan, 1997), editor of Unraveling the Right: The New Conservatism in American Thought and Politics (Westview, 1998), as well as author of numerous book chapters, articles, and reviews on topics such as comparative race relations, reparations politics, right-wing ideology, and ethnicity and democracy in Africa. Professor Ansell has served in visiting positions at Cambridge University (UK), the University of Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, RSA), the Human Sciences Research Council (Pretoria, RSA), the South African Human Rights Commission (Johannesburg, RSA), and the University of Zimbabwe (Harare, Zimbabwe).