McAndless Distinguished Professor Chair

McAndless Professor Petra Kuppers

Dr. Petra Kuppers
Dr. Petra Kuppers
Dr. Petra Kuppers

Dr. Petra Kuppers

The 2022-23 McAndless Professor is Dr. Petra Kuppers, an internationally recognized scholar, performer, and creative writer whose work is both interdisciplinary and community-engaged. She is a professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies and the Anita Gonzalez Collegiate Professor of Performance Studies and Disability Culture at the University of Michigan, where she also holds appointments in Art and Design and Theatre. She is also the director of the Olimpias, an international disability performance collective. In 2021, she was the recipient of the New York Public Library’s Dance Division’s dance research fellowship, for which she created dances that bridge the archive and public performance.

A leading scholar of disability performance, Dr. Kuppers has published seven monographs. Her latest book, Eco Soma: Pain and Joy in Speculative Performance Encounters (University of Minnesota Press, 2022), brings together her scholarly interests in ecocriticism, speculative fiction and performance, community performance, and disability culture. She has also published two books of poetry, one collaboratively written book of poetry, two chapbooks, and a collective of short stories. Her research articles have appeared in numerous peer-reviewed performance, disability, and feminist studies journals. She has been active in the digital humanities for many years, creating anti-archives of performance events and collectives of writings and artwork from performance projects.

The following events with Dr. Kuppers will be free, open to the public, and fully accessible. 

Alternative Knowledges Tour of the EMU Campus

Tour participants will investigate how human beings perceive the world in different ways. 

5:30-8:00 pm, Tuesday, October 4, 2022. Meet in the Judy Sturgis Hill Building, room 131.

For more information please contact Dr. Decky Alexander.

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.

2:00-3:15 pm, Thursday, November 10, 2022, on Zoom.

For more information please contact [email protected].

Disability Histories: Arts-Based Methods, Archives and Futures

In this talk, Petra Kuppers will take audiences into her search for disabled dance ancestors at the New York Public Library Dance Archives. She 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 cataloguing systems, in the words of people describing one another, and describing themselves. She also looks at stigma, and why some disabled dance artists are not part of this disability history: sometimes because they personally chose not to, sometimes because others (families, publicists, librarians) chose on their behalf. Through video and images, Kuppers will introduce audiences to a range of international disabled dance artists. She also will share innovative and creative arts-based methods with which contemporary artists/activists embrace their lineage(s), widen the archive, and engage in embodied transmissions of knowledge. Ultimately, Kuppers argues for the value of opening up our understanding of ‘archives,’ ‘history,’ and ‘knowledge’ for all of us, no matter what our heritage(s) are: we can look to the past and re-shape it, in order to create more accessible futures for us all.

January 31, 2023 in the Student Center Ballroom
5:00 pm reception
6:00 pm lecture
Please attend in person or register for the Zoom webinar at

ASL and CART will be provided.

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of English Language and Literature and the Honors College. 

For more information please contact Dr. James Egge.

Creative Writing Workshop 

9:30-10:45 am, Monday, March 6, in 232 Porter. This will be an in-person event only.

For more information please contact [email protected].

Nominations for the 2023-24 McAndless Chair are now closed.

  • About the McAndless Distinguished Professor Chair

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    Every year the M. Thelma McAndless Distinguished Professor Chair in the Humanities brings to the College of Arts and Sciences 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 Language and Literature. 

    Nominations for the 2023-24 McAndless Professorship will be received through this website in Fall 2022.

  • McAndless Committee Members

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    Victor Okafor, Africology & African-American Studies
    Leslie Atzmon, Art & Design
    Jeromy Hopgood, Communication, Media & Theatre Arts
    Elisabeth Däumer, English Language & Literature
    Steven Ramold, History & Philosophy
    Anderson Romero, Music & Dance
    Kate Mehuron, Women's & Gender Studies
    Audrey Viguier, World Languages
    Megan Moore, Honors College
    James Egge, Dean's Office
  • Past McAndless Professors

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    2021 Kevin Boyle
    2020 Jeremy Crampton, Claudia Hart, and Stephanie Kerschbaum
    2019 Corine Vermeulen
    2018 José Carlos Aguiar de Souza
    2016 Alison Kafer
    2015 Annette J. Saddik
    2014 Daniel Johnston
    2013 Laurie A. Finke
    2012 Evan Roth
    2011 Mark Carnes
    2010 Farzaneh Milani
    2009 Ali Mazrui
    2008 Marshall Poe
    2007 N. Scott Hofmann
    2006 Scott McCloud
    2005 Ben Vereen
    2003 Jayne Cortez
    2002 Cheryl Dileo
    2002 Gillian Eaton
    2000 Bouthaina Shaaban
    1999 Susan Tatershall
    1998 Roger W. Wilkins
    1996 Sarah Daniels
    1996 Tom Regan
    1995 Gwynne Dyer
    1993 Bei Dao
    1993 Nicholas Pennell
    1991 Sondra Freckelton
    1990 Kenneth Burke
    1990 Nancy Ford
    1988 Peter Strevens
    1988 Richard Hunt
    1986 Maxine Hong Kingston


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