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July 1 , 2008

Letter from the Director Ethan Shagan

It is a great pleasure to accept the position of Director of the Center for British Studies at UC Berkeley. I want to offer profound thanks to my predecessor, James Vernon, whose hard work and entrepreneurial spirit led to the creation of the Center and its great success over the past five years, and to Jason Rozumalski, the Assistant Director, whose work behind the scenes actually makes the Center function. My first goal as Director is to try not to screw up what they have created!

My second goal as Director is to try to broaden the scholarly community of the Center for British Studies. Since its opening in 2003, the Center has been a magnificent resource for scholars studying Britain and its empire since the nineteenth century, but it has played much less of a role for scholars studying the medieval and early modern eras. There is a large group of scholars here at Berkeley who study Britain and Ireland from late antiquity to the eighteenth century, with institutional bases in the departments of History, Art History, English Literature, Celtic Languages, and many others. Bringing these scholars into a common conversation, both with one another and with scholars of British modernity, can help to enrich all of our intellectual lives and to make Berkeley truly a center for British Studies.

To that end, I will be planning a series of events that will try to integrate pre-modern, early modern, and modern British studies into a larger and more cohesive community. But I would also welcome advice and suggestions from any member of the Berkeley community about how to enrich British Studies on our campus. We have resources, we have talent, we have energy; now we need to come up with exciting new ways to use them!

Ethan Shagan
shagan [@]

University of California
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