Appointment of Alessandro Duranti as Dean, Division of Social Sciences

August 19, 2009

UCLA Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Vice Chancellors, Deans, Directors, Department Chairs and Administrative Officers

Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce the selection of Alessandro Duranti as dean of the Division of Social Sciences, effective July 1, 2009, pending approval by the UC Regents.

A member of UCLA’s anthropology faculty for more than two decades, Alessandro currently serves as chair of the Department of Anthropology and director of the Center for Language, Interaction, and Culture.  He is the recipient of various awards, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the UCLA Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award, and the American Anthropological Association/Mayfield Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology.  In 2008, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Alessandro has taught internationally, having held visiting appointments at universities, including the Australian National University, the Ècole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, the University of Vienna, the University of Bologna, the University of Padova and the University of Rome.  He has been president of the Society for Linguistic Anthropology, a member of the executive committee of the American Anthropological Association and the editor of two journals: Pragmatics and the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology.  His research interests include political discourse, language as a non-neutral medium, and the role of improvisation in jazz, speechmaking and everyday interaction.

Alessandro holds a laurea in lettere moderne from the Università “La Sapienza” in Rome and a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Southern California.  He has published five books and edited several others.

I want to thank the search/advisory committee for its role in recruiting Alessandro.  Together, they assembled an outstanding pool of candidates for this position.  The committee was chaired by Jonathan Varat, professor and former dean of the School of Law.  Other committee members included John Agnew, Geography; Kevin Albert, UCLA Foundation Governors; Rogers Brubaker, Sociology; Michael Chwe, Political Science; J.R. DeShazo, Public Policy; C. Cindy Fan, Asian American Studies/Geography; Sondra Hale, Women’s Studies/Anthropology; Gary Hansen, Economics; Naomi Lamoreaux, History/Economics; Sherry Ortner, Anthropology; Brenda Stevenson, History/African American Studies; and Abel Valenzuela Jr., Chicana and Chicano Studies/Urban Planning.  The executive search firm, Witt/Kieffer, was represented by Mary Elizabeth Taylor.

I also want to thank Reynaldo F. Macías for his service as acting dean since January 1, 2007.

I am confident that the Division of Social Sciences will thrive under Alessandro’s capable leadership.  Please join me in welcoming him into this new post.


Scott L. Waugh
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost