Professor Alison Keith has been appointed to the position of Director of the Jackman Humanities Institute for a five-year term, effective July 1, 2017.
Professor Keith received her Ph.D. in 1988 from the University of Michigan and took up a tenure stream position in the Department of Classics at the University of Toronto that year. She was tenured in 1993 and promoted to full professor in 2003. She has written extensively about the intersection of gender and genre in Latin literature and Roman society, and is the author of four books and the editor or co-editor of another six. Her current research projects include a commentary on the fourth book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses; a book on ‘Epicurean’ Vergil; and a SSHRC-funded project on the reception of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. She has held research fellowships at Clare Hall, Cambridge, the University of Freiburg, and the National Humanities Centre in North Carolina. She has an active interest in classical languages and civilization beyond the university, and in the role of the humanities in public life. At the University of Toronto, she holds cross-appointments in the Women and Gender Studies Institute as well as in the Centres for Medieval Studies and Comparative Literature. In the past, she has served as Chair of the Department of Classics (2007–2013), Editor of Phoenix, Journal of the Classical Association of Canada (2002–2007), and President of the Classical Association of Canada (2010–2012); and she currently co-edits the Phoenix Supplementary Series (2008- ) and the subseries Phoenix Studies in Gender (2001- ), both published by the University of Toronto Press. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2012, and received the CAC Award of Merit in 2016 and a Leadership Award from the Women’s Classical Caucus of the Society for Classical Studies in 2017. In 2016–2017, she served as Acting Chair of the Department of Classics.
The Inaugural Director of the Jackman Humanities Institute was Professor Robert Gibbs (FAS Philosophy), who has served two five-year terms from 2007–2017. Under his guidance, the JHI was conceptualized in response to two generous gifts from former Chancellor Henry N.R. Jackman to the University of Toronto of $15 million each, both of which were double-matched by the University. In wide consultation with Deans, Chairs and other administrators across the University, and with the directors of other humanities institutes, he developed the governance structures, annual funding and fellowship programs and the aesthetics of the space itself, all of which have made the JHI an outstanding contributor to the research life of the humanities at the University of Toronto.
In recent years, his initiatives included the creation of three research communities. “Aesthetic Education: A South-North Dialogue” is a four-year Mellon-funded collaboration with the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. The Digital Humanities Network is a tri-campus communications and education endeavour intended to connect humanities researchers who make innovative uses of new technologies. Scholars-in-Residence is an annual month-long summer camp that brings undergraduate students together with faculty researchers and their projects to learn research skills. We are deeply grateful to Professor Gibbs for his wide-ranging vision and energetic leadership.
For more information, and to read an interview with Gibbs and Keith click here.