Director of KU’s Hall Center for Humanities retires; leader of science fiction center appointed interim director

photo by: Courtesy University of Kansas

Richard Godbeer

The director of KU’s Hall Center for the Humanities has retired from the university, and the leader of KU’s science fiction center has been appointed as the interim director of the humanities center.

Richard Godbeer has retired from the Hall Center director position and his other KU duties, after joining KU in 2019. Giselle Anatol, professor of English and director of KU’s Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction, has begun serving as interim director of the Hall Center while a search is conducted to find Godbeer’s successor.

During his tenure, Godbeer oversaw a greater emphasis on research by faculty and students in the humanities, launched a new speaker series featuring published authors with KU connections, and expanded the center’s programming reach by using online programming.

Simon Atkinson, vice chancellor for research, praised Godbeer’s ability to broaden the reach of the center even as the pandemic forced activities at the center to be greatly modified.

“I’m grateful to Richard for advancing a compelling vision for the Hall Center as a place for humanists to engage with one another and with community on the most difficult questions of our day,” Atkinson said

In a press release announcing his retirement, Godbeer said serving as director of the Hall Center had been “the highlight of my career.” He came to KU in 2019 after having served as the founding director of the Humanities Research Center at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Anatol has been with KU since 1998. In addition to serving as director of the science fiction center, Anatol also is a researcher in Caribbean literature and folklore, U.S. African American literature, and on the topic of how race, ethnicity, and gender are represented in writing for youth.

KU did not release a timeline for filling the Hall Center position.

photo by: Courtesy University of Kansas

Giselle Anatol


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