May 27, 2022

Dear Members of Our Campus Community,

It is my great pleasure to announce the appointment of Professor Daina Ramey Berry as our next Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, effective August 1, 2022.

We are grateful to our search advisory committee, chaired by Professor Lisa Parks, for conducting a rigorous national search for this important position. The members of the search committee are listed below. We would also like to thank our Executive Vice Chancellor, Academic Senate Chair, our administrative colleagues, and the faculty, staff, students and alumni of our campus community who provided important consultation, input, and advice throughout this search process.

Professor Berry joins UC Santa Barbara after serving as the chair of the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin. She is currently the Oliver H. Radkey Regents Professorship of History, and a Fellow of Walter Prescott Webb Chair of History and a Fellow of George W. Littlefield Professor in American History at the University of Texas, Austin. She is an internationally recognized scholar of slavery and a specialist on gender and slavery as well as Black women’s history in the United States.

Dr. Berry is the award-winning author and editor of six books and numerous scholarly articles. Her most recent book, A Black Women’s History of the United States, won the 2021 Susan Koppelman Award for the Best Book in Feminist Studies, was a 2021 NAACP Finalist for Literary Fiction, and received an honorable mention for the 2021 Organization of American Historians Darlene Clark Hine Book Award. Another recent book, The Price for their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to the Grave, in the Building of a Nation, received the Phyllis Wheatley Award for Scholarly Research from the Sons and Daughters of the US Middle Passage, the 2018 Best Book Prize from the Society for the History of the Early American Republic, and the 2018 Hamilton Book Prize from the University Co-op for the best book among UT Austin faculty. She is currently completing two other contracted books, The Myths of Slavery (Beacon Press) and a biography of Anna Murray Douglass (Yale University Press).

Among Dr. Berry’s most recent honors and awards are her induction in 2021 as a fellow of the Society of American Historians and as a fellow of the American Antiquarian Society. She has received prestigious fellowships for her research from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Association of University Women, and the Ford Foundation. She is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.

In addition to her positions as Professor and Chair of History at UT Austin, Dr. Berry served as Associate Dean of the Graduate School, leading a task force on Graduate Education Transformation, a team for the AAU Ph.D. Education Initiative, and chairing a faculty committee on graduate education through the UT Austin Office of the President. Professor Berry is also a renowned consultant for public-facing projects offered by museums, historical sites, and K-12 educational initiatives. She has appeared on several syndicated radio and television networks, serving as an historical consultant and technical advisor, and she recently testified before Congress.

Professor Berry holds an M.A. in African American Studies from UCLA and a Ph.D. in United States History from UCLA. Her professional career started at Arizona State University in History and African American Studies and at Michigan State University in History before her appointments in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies and the Department of History at University of Texas at Austin.

We are delighted to have Dr. Berry, her husband Lisbon, and their son Ben, join our campus community. Please join us in warmly welcoming them to our university.

I would also like to take this opportunity to share my sincere thanks and appreciation with Acting Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts Mary Hancock who has graciously served our campus in this role for nearly two years, following Professor John Majewski’s many accomplishments during his five years as dean. Professor Hancock began her term as Acting Dean as COVID-19 was surging as a global pandemic. Her extraordinary leadership and outstanding service to our students, faculty, staff, and alumni has been instrumental as our campus worked to meet the challenges presented by the pandemic, as well as visioning the future of the HFA Division and our university.

Professor Hancock joined our campus in 1994 and is a distinguished scholar of modern South Asia, holding a joint appointment in our History and Anthropology Departments. She received the Plous Award in 1999, and is the author of two books and over fifty articles and chapters. She has also held a number of key leadership positions on our campus, including serving as Chair of the Committee on Academic Personnel and Associate Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts. She has also served on numerous campus committees, including the Program Review Panel, Graduate Council, and several search committees.

Please join me in thanking Professor Hancock for her leadership and service to our campus during the critical time of our needs, and for her nearly three decades of exemplary scholarship, leadership, and service to our university.


Henry T. Yang

Search Advisory Committee for Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts

Lisa Parks, Chair; Distinguished Professor, Film and Media Studies
Ahmad Ahmad, Professor Religious Studies
Risa Brainin, Professor, Theater and Dance
Leo Cabranes-Grant, Professor, Spanish and Portuguese
Elizabeth Digeser, Professor, History
Colin Gardner, Professor, Art
Barbara Herr Harthorn, Professor, Anthropology
Yunte Huang, Professor, English
Elinor Mason, Professor, Philosophy
Mark Meadow, Professor, History of Art & Architecture
Marianne Mithun, Professor, Linguistics
Erin Nerstad, Staff representative; Associate Director, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center
Catherine Nesci, Professor, French and Italian
Madeleine Sorapure, Director, Writing Program
Jordan J. Tudisco, Graduate Student Association representative; PhD candidate, Comparative Literature

Ex officio 
Ricardo Alcaíno, Director, Equal Opportunity and Discrimination Prevention