State of the Humanities


Location: Eck Center Auditorium

Pauline Yu, president, American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)

The mission of ACLS is the advancement of humanistic studies in all fields of learning in the humanities and the social sciences, and the maintenance and strengthening of relations among the national societies devoted to such studies. It is the preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences. As president of ACLS, Yu has a very unique perspective on the state of the humanities in the U.S. at this time.

Yu became president of the American Council of Learned Societies in July 2003, having served as dean of humanities in the College of Letters and Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, and professor of East Asian languages and cultures from 1994–2003. Prior to that appointment, she was founding chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature at the University of California, Irvine, (1989–1994) and on the faculty of Columbia University (1985–89) and the University of Minnesota (1976–85). She received her B.A. in history and literature from Harvard University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in comparative literature from Stanford University. She is the author or editor of five books and dozens of articles on classical Chinese poetry, literary theory, comparative poetics, and issues in the humanities. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She was awarded the William Riley Parker prize for best PMLA article of 2007. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an elected member of the American Philosophical Society and Committee of 100, she is on the board of trustees of the National Humanities Center, the board of directors of the Teagle Foundation, the Scholars’ Council of the Library of Congress, and the board of directors of the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. From 2003 to 2009, she served on the Board of Overseers of Harvard University. In addition, she is a trustee of the Asian Cultural Council and the American Academy in Berlin and a member of the Board of Governors of the Hong Kong-America Center. Yu is an adjunct senior research scholar and visiting professor in East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University.

The talk will be immediately followed by a wine and cheese reception in the Eck Center Atrium.