Dan-Cohen appointed associate director

Talia Dan-Cohen

Associate Professor of Anthropology Talia Dan-Cohen has been named associate director of the Center for the Humanities. Dan-Cohen will serve a two-year term beginning in January 2024, after a fall 2023 leave. 

“I am thrilled that Talia will be joining the center as our new associate director,” said Stephanie Kirk, director of the humanities center and professor of Hispanic studies in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. “In addition to being an outstanding colleague who I know will work well with our close-knit team, her expertise on such matters as science and technology studies and the history of philosophy and science will bring fresh perspectives to the center and allow us to explore some interesting areas in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.”

Dan-Cohen is author of A Simpler Life: Synthetic Biological Experiments (Cornell University Press, 2021), which highlights the distance between hyped technoscience and the more plodding and entrenched aspects of academic research. She was a Faculty Fellow in the center during the spring 2021 semester, and she is co-convener, with Wolfram Schmidgen (English), of the center-sponsored faculty seminar The View from Everywhere. 

“As a Faculty Fellow I greatly benefited from the interdisciplinary engagement with faculty and graduate students from across the humanities,” Dan-Cohen said. “It was intellectually rewarding and horizon broadening to be invited to think along with different kinds of research and writing projects. As an anthropologist of science, I also have a general interest in the various knowledge practices associated with different disciplines, the histories of those knowledge practices, how they’re changing today… I think I’m going to learn a lot!”

Looking forward, Dan-Cohen is eager to get involved in initiatives that foster intellectual curiosity, facilitate community and support research. “I think research sometimes gets framed as a means to an end, whereas it seems to me to be a lot more than that. I’m really excited to think through support for research in the humanities in this more capacious sense,” she said. 

Dan-Cohen replaces outgoing associate director Ignacio Infante (Comparative Literature and Romance Languages and Literatures), who served five years with the Center for the Humanities in a variety of leadership roles.