Eastern Michigan University College of Arts and Sciences introduces new McAndless Distinguished Professor Chair – Petra Kuppers

Petra Kuppers wearing colorful glasses and blue lipstick
(Photo by Brooke Eden)

 YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University College of Arts and Science is proud to announce the 2022-23 McAndless Distinguished Chair in the Humanities. Petra Kuppers is an internationally recognized scholar, performer, and creative writer whose work is interdisciplinary and community-engaged. Kuppers will share with the campus community how humanistic and arts-based methods can offer new perspectives on lives and the places where people work and live. “I look forward to working with students, faculty, and staff to explore ourselves as active culture-makers, as participants in the culture we live in – not just consumers of it,” said Kuppers. “By using fantasy and the imagination in combination with research, we can train our imaginations to model new, more equitable worlds.”

Every year, EMU’s College of Arts and Sciences hosts a McAndless Distinguished Professor Chair who is a visiting scholar, writer, or artist of national prominence in the arts or humanities. 

The chair was established in 1986 through a generous bequest from the late M. Thelma McAndless, professor of English and literature. Over the years, the McAndless Professorship has introduced the EMU community to such creative thinkers as Maxine Hong Kingston, Kenneth Burke, Bei Dao, Roger Wilkins, Jayne Cortez, and Ben Vereen.

Kuppers brings together her scholarly interests in ecocriticism, speculative fiction and performance, community performance, and disability culture in books such as Eco Soma: Pain and Joy in Speculative Performance Encounters (Minnesota University Press, 2022). She has also published two books of poetry, one collaboratively written book of poetry, two chapbooks, and a collective of short stories. In addition, her research articles have appeared in numerous peer-reviewed performance, disability, and feminist studies journals.

“Because McAndless Professors are scholars and artists who are breaking new ground in their fields, they can stimulate conversations that bring together students and faculty from different disciplines,” said James Egge, associate dean for programs at EMU’s College of Arts and Sciences. “The work of the 2022-23 McAndless Professor Petra Kuppers crosses fields including English, Women’s and Gender Studies, Critical Disability Studies and Dance, among others. We expect that her presentations will help faculty and students recognize new connections between these diverse disciplines.” 

As the 2022-23 McAndless Distinguished Chair, Kuppers will share her expertise and insights at the following events: 

  • Alternative Knowledge Tour of the EMU Campus: Tour participants will investigate how human beings perceive the world in different ways. The tour will occur from 5:30-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. Participants will meet in the Judy Sturgis Hill Building, room 131.

  • Audio Description Workshop: Kuppers will lead students and community members in a workshop exploring creative ways to audio describe visual images for the benefit of visually disabled people and everyone else. The workshop will take place from 2 p.m. until 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, via Zoom. 

  • Disability Histories: Arts-Based Methods, Archives and Futures: In this talk, Kuppers will take audiences into her search for disabled dance ancestors at the New York Public Library Dance Archives. Kuppers looks for disabled and mad people in the archive, for the ways that labels like handicapped, disabled, crip, psych, and mad travel and intertwine, shift and change in library cataloging systems, in the words of people describing one another, and describing themselves. The talk will occur from 6-7:30 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2023 in the Student Center Ballroom. This event will also be live-streamed.

  • Creative Writing Workshop: This event is from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2023, in person and on Zoom

These events will be free, open to the public, and fully accessible.

“It’s a great honor, and I am so delighted that my colleagues at EMU have chosen me for this,” said Kuppers. “To receive this great honor is a powerful and supportive signal to others working to open up humanities research to more diverse approaches.” 

For more information about upcoming events and the McAndless Chair, email James Egge jegge@emich.edu  or visit the McAndless Distinguished Professor Chair website.


About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 15,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today. 

September 14, 2022

Written by:
Brittany Mobley

Media Contact:
Brittany Mobley