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Jennifer Piurek
University Communications

Last modified: Thursday, May 5, 2011

IU Distinguished Professor Emerita Susan Gubar admitted to American Philosophical Society

May 5, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Ruth Halls and Distinguished Professor Emerita Susan Gubar has been admitted to the prestigious American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the country. Gubar, a faculty member in the Department of English within the College of Arts and Sciences, is the 21st IU faculty member or alumnus admitted to the society in the university's history.

Gubar image

Susan Gubar

"Susan Gubar's wide-ranging and acclaimed academic accomplishments fully warrant this prestigious honor," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "She is one of this nation's leading literary scholars and feminist critics, and she is one of Indiana University's most exceptional teachers. Her work charts new intellectual territory and challenges the assumptions that structure literary scholarship. She has had a remarkable impact on generations of feminist scholars."

"Susan Gubar is one of the most influential scholar-writers of her day," said Jonathan Elmer, chair of the Department of English. "Her induction into the highly prestigious American Philosophical Society ratifies the significance of her accomplishments, and confirms her stature, yet again, as a leading intellectual on the national scene. The English Department is thrilled to have Susan honored in this way."

Since 1977, 20 other IU professors or alums have been invited into the society. Current active members are: Richard M. Shiffrin, IU Bloomington (1999, psychology); Lawrence H. Einhorn, IUPUI (2001, medicine); Fedwa Malti-Douglas, IU Bloomington (2004, gender studies, comparative literature, law); Elinor Ostrom, IU Bloomington (2006, social and political science); Douglas Hofstadter, IU Bloomington (2009 cognitive science). Some of the past members include Tracy Sonneborn (admitted in 1952), Herman B Wells (1964) and James Watson (1977).

A pioneering feminist literary and cultural critic, Gubar and co-author Sandra M. Gilbert published The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the 19th-Century Literary Imagination in 1979, a runner-up for both The Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The project was the beginning of many collaborative projects between the two, who together won a 1985 Ms. Woman of the Year award for their compilation of the Norton Anthology of Literature of Women. They also co-authored a critical trilogy titled No Man's Land: The Place of the Woman Writer in the Twentieth Century -- The War of the Words (1988), Sexchanges (1989) and Letters from the Front (1994); a collection of poetry for and about mothers, MotherSongs (Norton, 1995); and a satire on the current state of literacy and cultural literacy, Masterpiece Theatre: An Academic Melodrama (Rutgers, 1995).

Gubar's books include Racechanges: White Skin, Black Face in American Culture (Oxford, 1997); a compilation of essays, Critical Condition: Feminism at the Turn of the Century (Columbia University Press, 2000); and Poetry After Auschwitz: Remembering What One Never Knew (IU Press, 2003), the product of her year as a Laurence S. Rockefeller Fellow at Princeton University's Center for Human Values. In 2006, her book Rooms of Our Own won an Honorable Mention award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, and in 2007, with Gilbert, she published a third edition of the Norton Anthology of Literature by Women as well as a Norton Reader of Feminist Literary Theory and Criticism. Her cultural biography of the twelfth apostle, Judas (W. W. Norton & Company, 2009), was listed in Magill's Literary Annual as one of the best books of 2009.

The recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim Foundation, Gubar was the 2003 recipient of The Faculty Mentor Award from IU's Graduate Professional Student Organization and received the 2010 President's Medal for Excellence, among the highest honors an IU president can bestow. She recently completed editing True Confessions: Feminist Professors Tell Stories Out of School (W. W. Norton & Company, forthcoming this summer).

About the American Philosophical Society

The American Philosophical Society, which was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743, recognizes extraordinary achievements in five classes of academic disciplines: mathematical and physical sciences; biological sciences; social sciences; humanities; and the arts, professions, and public and private affairs.

The society promotes useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications, library resources and community outreach. Its membership has included some of the world's greatest thinkers, such as John J. Audubon, Robert Fulton, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, Alexander von Humboldt, Louis Pasteur, Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, George C. Marshall, Linus Pauling, Marie Curie and Margaret Mead.