Carnegie Mellon University
March 05, 2020

Anne Lambright Appointed Head of Carnegie Mellon’s Department of Modern Languages

By Abby Simmons

Abby Simmons
  • Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 412-268-6094

Anne Lambright, dean of academic affairs and professor of language and culture studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, has been named the next head of Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Modern Languages, effective July 1.

“Anne was the top choice in an external search that produced four outstanding scholars and leaders,” said Richard Scheines, Bess Family Dean of CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “She is an award winning author, an accomplished administrator, and an incredibly interesting and nice person. She will help the Humanities@CMU initiative, and she will help the Modern Languages Department and the college. I feel very fortunate to have successfully recruited her.”

Lambright succeeds Susan Polansky, who has served as head of the Department of Modern Languages since 2007. Polansky will return to her full-time role as teaching professor of Hispanic studies.

“I’m honored to have been chosen as the next head of the Department of Modern Languages and thrilled to be joining such a stellar, dynamic, diverse group of scholars,” Lambright said. “CMU offers unparalleled opportunities for innovative interdisciplinary research and teaching, especially through connecting modern languages and other humanities disciplines with the cutting-edge work in technology, science, social sciences and the arts across campus. Many institutions talk about interdisciplinarity, global visions, and 21st-century relevance; CMU clearly puts those values into practice. I can’t imagine a better place to be a scholar, teacher, and colleague right now.”

The Department of Modern Languages offers students the intellectual and personal enrichment that comes with learning new languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. Nearly half of all CMU undergraduate students take a Modern Languages course before graduating. In addition, the department’s Askwith Kenner Global Languages and Cultures Room features cutting-edge technology that allows visitors to explore innovative, student-led projects that showcase the importance of language learning, cultural awareness, and CMU’s global presence. 

Lambright joined Trinity College’s Department of Languages and Cultural Studies as a faculty member in 2000. Her main appointment is in the Hispanic Studies Program, and she is an affiliated faculty member within the International Studies and Human Rights Studies programs.

In her role in the Dean of Faculty’s Office, Lambright works with half of Trinity College’s academic departments and oversees the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric, as well as first-year seminars and gateway programs. She serves as a member of the Curriculum Committee, the Faculty Diversity Working Group and the Emergency Management Team. As part of the implementation of the college’s strategic plan, she is helping to lead holistic efforts to strengthen academic advising and enhance the college’s global educational opportunities.

Lambright’s latest book, “Andean Truths: Transitional Justice, Ethnicity, and Cultural Production in Post-Shining Path Peru” (Liverpool University Press, 2015), was the recipient of the Modern Language Association’s 2016 Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize for Outstanding Book on Latin America or Spain. She also is the author of “Creating the Hybrid Intellectual: Subject, Space, and the Feminine in the Narrative of José María Arguedas” (Bucknell University Press, 2007) and co-editor of “Unfolding the City: Women Write the City in Latin America” (University of Minnesota Press, 2007) with Elisabeth Guerrero.

A recipient of grants from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute, Lambright has taught numerous courses and published various articles on gender, ethnicity, human rights, and national identity in Andean literature and culture. Her current project is a critical anthology and translations of selected human rights plays by Peruvian theater collective Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani.

A citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, Lambright earned her B.A. with a triple major in Spanish, history, and Latin American studies from Southern Methodist University and then spent two years in Ecuador on a Fulbright grant. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Latin American literature from the University of Texas.