The University Record, October 2, 2000

Faculty Recognition Award

Frieda Ekotto

Frieda Ekotto

Friedo Ekotto is an intellectual leader with broad scholarly interests in the fields of 20th-century French literature and theory and Francophone culture and literature. Known and respected for her commitment to cultural diversity, Professor Ekotto compels students and colleagues to think about how difference is constructed in the Western world and how these constructs affect the lives and survival of people of color.

She has developed and has been teaching a wide range of innovative courses on literature and law in France; literature and film in Africa, the Caribbean and Maghreb; postcolonial narratives by Francophone women and minorities; and representations of family and friendship in Francophone film and literature. Her curricular contributions have been critical to the emergence and consolidation of Francophone studies at the University of Michigan and to the teaching of race and ethnicity in the context of French-speaking cultures.

A member of the faculty since 1994, Professor Ekotto is highly regarded by students and colleagues who praise her intellectual generosity and her success in motivating students to think critically.

In her scholarly book, Prison Writing and Legal Discourse: The Writings of Jean Genet and Roger Knobelspiess, written in French and being translated into English, Professor Ekotto examines the novels of two writers who were imprisoned, arguing that their writings challenge traditional discourse on crime and criminals. As a volume of literary and cultural criticism, the book combines scholarly originality with a passionate, almost activist, urgency. In her forthcoming novel, Ne churchote pas trop, she writes of the pain of African women caught between tradition and modernity. Professor Ekotto is examining in another book-in-progress the representation of minorities in the French-speaking world through the portrayal of friendships in film.

Professor Ekotto is an energetic member of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and generous in her service to the Women’s Studies Program, the International Institute, the Program in Comparative Literature, the Center for European Studies, and the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies (CAAS). At CAAS, she coordinates an initiative to establish research collaborations with institutions of higher learning in Africa and has successfully recruited a number of African students to Michigan.

For her distinguished scholarship and teaching, outstanding curricular contributions that broaden student’s understanding of diversity, and her generous service to her department and other campus units, the University of Michigan proudly presents to Frieda Ekotto its Faculty Recognition Award.

Robert Fuller

Robert Fuller

Robert Fuller is one of the top cellular biochemists in the world and a leader in the highly competitive field of prohormone and neuropeptide processing. Using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to study protein processing, Professor Fuller’s laboratory is working on research questions that have a direct relevance to Alzheimer’s disease and several metabolic human transport disorders.

He discovered a number of key genes involved in protein processing and secretion. He also was involved in the discovery of the novel protease Kex2 and its cellular properties—work which is cited widely. His research in this extremely important area of biochemistry and cell biology is superbly documented in 40 papers and 10 book chapters.

Professor Fuller delivers rigorous, high-energy lectures and is an effective, knowledgeable, demanding and inspiring mentor to the large number of undergraduates, graduate and medical students, and post-doctoral fellows who work in his laboratory.

Since joining the Medical School faculty in 1994, Professor Fuller’s service to the Department of Biological Chemistry has been extensive. He co-chaired the departmental graduate admissions committee for several years, and was instrumental in developing recruitment strategies that have been incorporated into the Cellular and Molecular Biology Program and the new Program in Biological Sciences. He also has served the larger University as a member of the Medical Scientist Training Program Operating and Admissions Committee.

Professor Fuller’s stature in biochemistry is reflected by the many invitations he receives to participate in international symposia. His contributions also were recognized by his election as vice chair of the Gordon Conference on Neural and Hormonal Peptide Biosynthesis in 1998 and as chair in 2000.

A consummate colleague ready with constructive criticism, clear in his thinking, and careful in his analysis, he has served on numerous National Institutes of Health study sections and frequently is enlisted as a grant reviewer for the National Science Foundation and the Wellcome Trust. He also reviews manuscripts for at least a dozen journals, including Cell, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Biochemistry, the Journal of Cell Biology, Molecular Biology of the Cell, Genetics, and Molecular and Cellular Biology.

In recognition of Professor Fuller’s commitment to the highest ideals of scientific inquiry, his fertile and agile mind, and his unselfish devotion to students and to the common good of the research community, the University of Michigan is pleased to present to Robert Fuller its Faculty Recognition Award.

Michael J. Imperiale, Jennifer Robertson and Valerie Traub

Michael J. Imperiale

Through his investigations of the basic mechanisms of gene expression and replication of DNA tumor viruses and retroviruses, cancer biologist Michael J. Imperiale has had a major impact in the fields of RNA processing, viral oncogenes and gene therapy vectors.

Professor Imperiale’s studies of how small DNA tumor viruses regulate expression of their genes and deregulate control of normal cell growth are providing important insights into potential anti-viral targets and the use of viral vectors for medical therapies.

An outstanding teacher of graduate and medical students, he also is an excellent mentor in the laboratory, known for his ability to present complex issues clearly. He teaches a heavier-than-normal class load because of the high demand for lectures in his area of microbiology. Professor Imperiale is one of only a few faculty members with expertise on viruses as pathogens and their interactions with cells as models for cellular processes. He makes significant contributions to dissertation committees in a variety of areas—microbiology and immunology, cellular and molecular biology, epidemiology, and pharmacy. A kind and sympathetic but rigorous mentor for doctoral students, he provides them with creative space to mature into thoughtful, critical and independent thinkers.

Professor Imperiale, who joined the faculty in 1984, has helped to catalyze an interactive research environment among basic science and clinical department faculty at the Medical School as director of the Virology Program at the Center for Gene Therapy and as co-director of the Cancer Genetics and Virology Program at the Comprehensive Cancer Center. He also directs the Cancer Center’s Cancer Biology Training Program.

In addition to his leadership roles at the Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Center for Gene Therapy, he chairs the University’s Biological Research Review Committee, which ensures adherence to federal guidelines for research involving recombinant DNA molecules.

Nationally, Professor Imperiale reviews for numerous journals and serves on the editorial boards of three leading journals in virology and gene therapy. His stature as a gene therapist is reflected in his appointment to the National Institutes of Health’s Steering Committee of the National Gene Vector Laboratories.

In recognition of his path-breaking research in cancer biology and gene therapy, his outstanding teaching, and his exemplary leadership and administrative service, the University of Michigan is pleased to confer upon Michael J. Imperiale its Faculty Recognition Award.

Jennifer Robertson

Cultural and historical anthropologist Jennifer Robertson, one of the most respected scholars on Japan working on the subjects of colonialism, eugenics, sexuality and gender, and globalization, brings to her research a solid grounding in the social-cultural, historical and material details of Japanese life. Her expertise extends historically from Japanese pre-modern through the modern and contemporary periods, and substantively from art history to theater, the politics of nostalgia and local identities, and colonialism.

Her first book, Native and Newcomer: Making and Remaking a Japanese City, is a rich ethnographic account of community formation and identity politics set in the Tokyo suburb of Kodaira. In her 1998 book Takarazuka: Sexual Politics and Popular Culture in Modern Japan, Professor Robertson explores the conflicting discourses of modernity in Japan as they erupted into a world framed by the all-female Takarazuka Revue, founded in 1913 and wildly popular today. This complex and multi-layered text, which won, among others, the 1999 Kurt Weill Prize for outstanding scholarship in theater and music, skillfully weaves together the history of sexualities and the creation of a national popular culture in Japan, the role of theater as a technology of the Japanese imperialism, and the politics of fan clubs.

An exceptional teacher and mentor to students of anthropology, American studies, art history, history, music and ethnomusicology, and sociology, Professor Robertson helped reorganize the undergraduate curriculum and graduate program in anthropology. Professor Robertson has served on 38 doctoral dissertation committees since joining the Michigan faculty in1991, and has chaired 14. By encouraging graduate students to use their student years to build a broad and solid intellectual foundation instead of narrowing their focus, and by organizing and rehearsing graduate student panels for meetings, she helps prepare them for professional life.

Professor Robertson, who has published more than 30 articles in leading journals, serves on the editorial boards of Ars Orientalis, the Journal of the History of Sexuality, and Image and Gender. She also is general editor of Colonialisms, a book series she created on the histories, cultures and practices of colonialism and imperialism outside of Western Europe and the United States.

She has served with distinction as associate chair of the Department of Anthropology, as director of the Center for Japanese Studies and as a member of the Women’s Studies Program executive committee. Professor Robertson has received many fellowships and honors, including several Excellence in Research awards and two Excellence in Education awards from the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

In recognition of her passionate pursuit of knowledge and academic excellence; commitment to teaching and nurturing young scholars; and service to her department, the field of anthropology and the wider University, the University of Michigan is pleased to present to Jennifer Robertson its Faculty Recognition Award.

Valerie Traub

Working at the intersection between literature and the history of sexuality in the early modern period, Valerie Traub is the foremost voice in lesbian studies of early modernity and a top scholar working on sexual representation in any period. She has revolutionized the way scholars think and write about female-female eroticism in Shakespearean drama.

Professor Traub’s publications on sexuality and early modern anatomies are foundation texts. She is the author of Desire & Anxiety: Circulations of Sexuality in Shakespearean Drama and a co-author of Feminist Readings of Early Modern Culture: Emerging Subjects. Her forthcoming book, The Renaissance of Lesbianism in Early Modern England, demonstrates the ways in which female same-sex desires accrue significance in the Renaissance. In addition to publishing in Shakespeare Quarterly and Shakespeare Studies, the most significant journals in her field, she is the North American associate editor of Textual Practice and a member of the Shakespeare Quarterly board.

Her work has earned extraordinary recognition, both in the United States and in Europe, including Newberry Library and Folger Library fellowships. She is much sought after as a speaker at professional meetings, and in demand as a manuscript reader for major scholarly presses and as a grant reviewer for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the MacArthur Foundation and the Newberry Library.

Professor Traub, who holds a joint appointment in English and women’s studies, joined the University faculty in 1996. With care and enormous energy, she has chaired graduate studies in the Department of English for two years. She also has served on the department’s executive committee. From 1997 to 1999, she helped steer the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Group, an interdisciplinary intellectual community of faculty and graduate students that has sponsored speakers and activities of wide interest across the University. She helped organize an international conference on “The Rituals and Rhetorics of (Un-) Veiling” and co-directed the successful National Endowment for the Humanities seminar for college teachers “Renaissance Bodies: English Literature and Medicine.”

Professor Traub, who consistently receives excellent ratings as a teacher, is especially effective with graduate students, who find in her an engaged and passionate scholar crossing disciplinary boundaries in an exemplary fashion. The winner of a Center for Research on Learning and Teaching Award in 1999, she has become an intellectual force in the women’s studies’ doctoral program.

For Professor Traub’s scholarly contributions to literature and the history of sexuality, her interdisciplinary work on early modern studies, and her dedicated service and inspiring teaching, the University of Michigan proudly presents to Valerie Traub its Faculty Recognition Award.