Johnson to lead Humanities for Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Professor William Johnson in Rome.
Professor William Johnson in Rome.

The Trinity College of Arts & Sciences announced a new incoming Dean of the Humanities in a message from Dean Valerie Ashby this week. Professor William A. Johnson, department chair of Classical Studies, will assume that role on July 1.

Johnson joined the faculty at Duke in 2010. His scholarship focuses broadly on the cultural history of Greece and Rome, with particular interest in ancient books, readers, and reading, and how literary pursuits intersect with cultural context in antiquity. He teaches a wide range of Greek and Latin topics to undergraduate and graduate students.

Johnson spent three years as Director of Graduate Studies for Classical Studies and has served as chair of his home department since 2017. He holds a PhD in Classical Philology from Yale University as well as a MA in Greek Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BA in English Literature & Latin Literature from Oberlin College.

“William has distinguished himself as an outstanding leader during his tenure as chair of Classical Studies – encouraging innovation in their undergraduate curriculum, hiring a cohort of talented new faculty who will further the excellence of the department, and contributing in meaningful ways to ongoing Humanities initiatives,” Ashby said. “I look forward to having him as part of my leadership team.”

Gennifer Weisenfeld Gennifer Weisenfeld, who was scheduled to return to the leadership post this summer, has decided to return full-time to the faculty of Art, Art History & Visual Studies after spending the past year on leave.

“I look forward to working more closely with students again and being able to continue concentrating on my scholarship,” Weisenfeld said. She recently completed a new book – Gas Mask Nation: Visualizing Civil Air Defense in Wartime Japan – and is also continuing her digital humanities project on visual representations of the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923.

Ashby said that Weisenfeld was “a powerful advocate for the arts and humanities at Duke” during her three years as a divisional dean. Among her accomplishments, Weisenfeld:

  • Landed the $3 million “Humanities Unbounded” grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a program she will continue to lead as PI;
  • Served on Duke’s Presidential Task Force for the Arts;
  • And increased visibility and awareness of the arts and humanities through numerous initiatives supporting admissions, development and faculty recruitment.

“I want to thank Gennifer for her service and also to thank Neil McWilliam, who has served as Humanities dean for the past year,” Ashby said.

McWilliam will remain on the dean’s leadership team in his new role as the first Graduate Dean for Trinity College.