I am pleased to announce three appointments to the growing community of scholars at the Centre for the Study of the United States at the Munk School of Global Affairs.  Dr. Alexandra Rahr will serve as the first Bissell-Heyd Lecturer in American Studies at CSUS. Dr. Rahr completed her Ph.D. in the Department of English at the U of T. Her dissertation, written under the direction of Professor Andrea Most, examined the genealogy of disaster narratives in American literature and makes a landmark contribution to the growing field of environmental humanities.  The newly-created Lectureship position provides stability and continuity in our teaching of American Studies at CSUS. In 2016-17, Dr. Rahr will teach the two core courses in American Studies, as well as two more specialized and thematic courses, one on protest, the other on disasters.

At the same time, I am pleased to announce the appointment of our first two Bissell-Heyd Fellows in American Studies. The broad purpose of the Fellows program is to engage current Assistant/Associate Professors at the University of Toronto in the work of CSUS by providing them with resources to further research that is connected to the enterprise of American Studies, and to give them a platform from which to disseminate or showcase that research. The first two Bissell-Heyd fellows are Professor Sara Hughes from the Department of Political Science (UTM), and Professor Jooyoung Lee from the Department of Sociology. Professor Hughes works on questions of urban politics and climate change in North America. Professor Lee studies gun violence, health disparities, and urban poverty in the U.S.  Both will host public workshops over the course of the year.

On behalf of the CSUS, I want to welcome all three of these young scholars to the growing community of American Studies at the University of Toronto. It goes without saying that none of this would have occurred were it not for the generosity and farsightedness of the Associates of the University of Toronto. Their longstanding support of American Studies, symbolized by the venerable names Bissell and Heyd, has been invaluable.

Robert Vipond
Interim Director
Centre for the Study of the United States + American Studies Program
Munk School of Global Affairs
University of Toronto