Giselle Anatol named director of KU’s Hall Center for the Humanities

LAWRENCE — Giselle Anatol, professor of English, has been named director of the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas, effective March 3. She has led the center in an interim capacity since former director Richard Godbeer retired in fall 2022. 

The Hall Center is a focus of intellectual life for scholars in the humanities, arts and humanistic social sciences at KU and for members of the surrounding community. It is one of 11 designated research centers that fall under the KU Office of Research.

“I am thrilled to have been selected for this leadership role at the university. During my time as interim director, I sought to promote the Hall Center as a flourishing, welcoming and inclusive space for the celebration and advancement of humanistic research and productivity,” Anatol said. “I very much look forward to continuing this work in collaboration with the many students, faculty, staff and community members who are invested in all that the humanities have to offer.” 

Under Anatol’s interim leadership, the Hall Center revived the Haunting Humanities festival, a public outreach event that encourages humanities scholars to practice articulating their research in fun and accessible ways for a wider audience. She resumed the Undergraduate Fellows Program, fostering greater undergraduate participation in the Hall Center’s scholarly activities and extending the reach of the thought-provoking conversations that occur during the center’s various programs.

Anatol also facilitated a small-scale version of the original Wheat State Whirlwind Tour, taking two dozen faculty and staff on a two-day visit to the Kansas communities of Lucas, Wilson and Nicodemus to explore different parts of the state, learn about each other’s lives and work, and engage with residents in rural communities.  

“I am grateful for Dr. Anatol’s leadership and vision for the Hall Center for the Humanities, which provides a unique and interdisciplinary home for scholars and students to engage in creative endeavors and public discourse,” said Belinda Sturm, interim vice chancellor for research. “KU has long-standing strength in humanities research, and Dr. Anatol is committed to expanding the impact of this research center.”

Anatol joined KU in 1998. Her research interests include Caribbean literature and folklore, U.S. African American literature, speculative fiction by authors of the African diaspora, and representations of race, ethnicity and gender in writing for youth. She has written “The Things That Fly in the Night: Female Vampires in Literature of the Circum-Caribbean and African Diaspora,” a book published in 2015 by Rutgers University Press, and a number of book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles. She has also fostered scholarly collaboration by editing three collections of essays on children’s and young adult literature. Her most recent publication, “Small-Girl Toni and the Quest for Gold,” is a children’s book inspired by acclaimed African American author Toni Morrison.

Anatol has been recognized repeatedly for teaching and research excellence at KU, receiving the Louise Byrd Graduate Educator Award, the Frances L. Stiefel Teaching Professorship in English, the Ned Fleming Award for Excellence in Teaching, a Conger-Gabel Teaching Professorship and the English graduate student organization’s Mabel S. Fry Teaching Award in 2011 and in 2022. She was named one of KU’s Women of Distinction in 2013 and was selected for the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Scholar-in-Residence fellowship program in 2012.

Thu, 02/29/2024


Mindie Paget

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Mindie Paget

Office of Research