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Memoir

Julie Ellison
Regents' Proceedings

Julie Ellison, Ph.D., professor of American culture and professor of English language and literature in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and professor of art in the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design, retired from active faculty status on May 31, 2021.

Julie Ellison received her B.A. degree from Harvard University in 1973 and her Ph.D. degree from Yale University in 1980. She joined the University of Michigan faculty as an assistant professor in 1980, and was promoted to associate professor in 1986, and professor in 1991. She was named associate vice president for research in 1996. In 1998, she founded Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life and served as the founding director until 2007. In 2012, she founded Citizen Alum: Re-imagining Alumni Allies in Education.

Professor Ellison was a distinguished scholar in literary and gender studies. She is the author of three monographs. Emerson’s Romantic Style, published by Princeton University Press in 1984, deftly reveals the “repetitiveness, discontinuity, and tonal peculiarities” of Emerson’s prose as tools to “free himself from intimidating aspects of tradition.” Delicate Subjects: Romanticism, Gender, and the Ethics of Understanding, published by Cornell University Press in 1990, further excavates the power and the limitations of romanticism in the work of three major writers. Cato’s Tears and the Making of Anglo-American Emotion, published by the University of Chicago Press in 1999, takes up the politics of emotion. Professor Ellison has a number of published articles, including “Lyric Citizenship in Post 9/11 Performance: Sekou Sundiata’s the 51st (dream) state” in American Literature’s Aesthetic Dimensions. Her poetry has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Alchemy, and River Styx, among other journals.
Professor Ellison has been a singular and powerful voice as a transformational national leader in the public humanities. Her co-authored Scholarship in Public: Knowledge Creation and Tenure Policy in the Engaged University (2008) and her essay commissioned by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences “This American Life: How are the Humanities Public?” are modest reflections of her contribution and significant impact to publicly engaged scholarship in the United States.

The Regents now salute this distinguished scholar by naming Julie Ellison, professor emerita of American culture, professor emerita of English language and literature, and professor emerita of art.