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June Howard
Regents' Proceedings

June Howard, Ph.D., Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, professor of English language and literature, professor of American culture, and professor of women’s and gender studies in the College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts, retired from active faculty status on December 31, 2021.

Professor Howard received her Ph.D. degree from the University of California, San Diego in 1979. She joined the University of Michigan faculty as an assistant professor in 1979, and was promoted to associate professor in 1985, and professor in 2000.

Professor Howard's scholarship has made an enduring contribution to our understanding of late 19th and early 20th Century literature and culture in the United States. Her first book on literary naturalism in 1985 broke new ground in rethinking the political significance of form and genre at a time when critical interest in novelists such as Jack London, Frank Norris, and Theodore Dreiser was largely restricted to thematic concerns. Its combination of conceptual sophistication and deep historical grounding would become a hallmark of her critical approach. Subsequent explorations of literary sentimentalism, especially in connection with expectations about gender, the family, and the shifting boundary between public and private, culminated in her ambitious study, Publishing the Family (2001). Her work is also widely recognized for its fundamental insights into complexities of literary regionalism, a subject analyzed at length in her book, The Center of the World: Regional Writing and the Puzzles of Place-Time (2018). Professor Howard’s record of service to the university has been a distinguished one. She played a leading role in supporting the growth of American Culture, serving first as its director when it was a program and again as its chair when it became a department. She has also served as associate dean at the Rackham Graduate School where she helped start the Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop Program and associate chair of the Department of English Language and Literature in addition to being elected to the Executive Committee of LSA and appointed to the Society of Fellows. She has been an outstanding, award-winning teacher whose dedication and professionalism have been an inspiration to her students and a model to her colleagues. In her various administrative posts, she introduced a number of curricular reforms at the undergraduate level that continue to this day. Her gifts as a mentor have drawn scores of doctoral students to seek out her counsel and supervision while conducting their research and writing their dissertation.

The Regents now salute this distinguished scholar and teacher by naming June Howard, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emerita, professor emerita of English language and literature, professor emerita of American Culture, and professor emerita of women’s and gender studies.