Tansman chosen new director for Townsend Center for the Humanities

Alan Tansman, professor of Japanese at the University of California, Berkeley’s Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC), has been appointed director of the campus’s Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities.

Tansman will take over Townsend Center leadership from acting director and associate professor of English Celeste Langan, starting in July.

Founded in 1987, the Townsend Center promotes an interdisciplinary approach to scholarship, innovation in research, and intellectual conversation in the humanities and related disciplines.

The center provides fellowships and grants to support research and scholarship for undergraduates, graduate students and professors, and each year hosts the Avenali and Una’s endowed lectures. It also supports more than 60 interdisciplinary working groups in fields ranging from hip-hop studies to ancient philosophy and human rights.

Tansman has published on such topics as Japanese literature, aesthetics and fascism, cultural criticism, popular culture, film, area studies, and Japanese and Jewish responses to atrocity. He has also translated Japanese fiction and criticism.

Tansman, who helped establish the human rights minor on campus, has served as chair of EALC and director of the Center for Japanese Studies. He also is on the editorial board for the journal Representations.