Rebecca Biron, a professor of Spanish and comparative literature and former dean of the College, has been named the next director of the Leslie Center for the Humanities, Associate Dean of the Arts and Humanities Barbara Will announced. Her term began July 1.
“Rebecca Biron is a strong advocate for the humanities both at Dartmouth and in the public sphere—exactly the kind of leader the Leslie Center needs,” Will says. “She is committed to continuing and growing the center’s work of promoting faculty scholarship and fostering student engagement.”
“The humanities underlie everything we think we know,” Biron says. “They are about the human experience: languages, symbolic systems, values, and human creativity—ways of knowing that allow us to understand not only ourselves but also the external world.”
It’s in this broad context that she sees the Leslie Center’s crucial function: supporting the work of the humanities at Dartmouth, on campus and beyond.
“Understanding the humanities is essential not only to the academy, but to every workplace and to civic life. So speaking for the humanities is a critical part of meeting Dartmouth’s core mission,” she says.
Among other activities, the center funds faculty and student research projects, sponsors interdisciplinary faculty working groups on a variety of topics, offers article and manuscript review opportunities for junior faculty to receive feedback, and is a funding source for guest lectures and other events on campus.
“I’m looking forward to continuing the center’s evolution in terms of how it serves the Dartmouth intellectual community,” Biron says. “My first goal is to support and celebrate individual faculty and student research in the humanities, as well as community events that further work in the humanities. A second goal is to support and expand networks among humanities scholars—and also between the humanities and interdisciplinary areas that broaden the impact of our work.”
Her third goal, she says, “is to amplify Dartmouth’s institutional voice nationally and internationally on the value of the humanities.”
Biron specializes in Latin American literary and cultural studies, literary theory, gender studies, and Mexican cultural criticism. She has published books on Latin American narrative, urban development, and cultural identity. She serves on the editorial boards of the Latin American Literary Review; Symposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures; and Revista de Literatura Mexicana Contemporánea.
From 2015-2018, she served as dean of the College, overseeing the creation of Dartmouth’s house community residential system. From 2010-2013, she chaired the Latin American, Latinx, and Caribbean Studies Program. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and her PhD from the University of Iowa. Before joining the Dartmouth faculty in 2006, she taught at the University of Iowa, Emory University, and the University of Miami, where she directed degree programs in Latin American studies, was faculty coordinator of interdisciplinary studies, and was associate master of a residential college.
Since its founding in 1999, the Leslie Center has provided support to the humanities through colloquia, seminars, symposia, and conferences as well as activities for students, faculty, and visitors relating to the humanities.
Biron takes over the center’s leadership from former director Graziella Parati, the Paul D. Paganucci Professor of Italian Language and Literature.
Hannah Silverstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.