MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

Literature Section

1994-95 was a productive year for the Literature Faculty. Four books by members of the faculty were published: Professor David Halperin's Saint Foucault: Toward a Gay Hagiography (Oxford University Press), Professor John Hildebidle's One Sleep, One Waking (poetry; Enright), and Associate Professor Henry Jenkins' two co-authored books, Classical Hollywood Comedy (Columbia; co-authored with Kristine Karnick) and Science Fiction Audiences: Star Trek, Dr. Who and their Followers (Routledge; co-authored with John Tulloch). Other highlights of the year include a number of research fellowships and visiting professorships (enumerated below) and the award of a fourth major grant to the Shakespeare Electronic Archive team.


During the past year, 1,193 students enrolled in Literature subjects, 9 were registered as Literature majors, 30 as minors, and 133 as concentrators in Literature for the HASS requirement. In addition, 9 students enrolled as majors in the new Film and Media Studies major departure. Film and Media Studies, an interdisciplinary program, is headed by Professor Jenkins and administered by Literature. 1994-95 was a year of planning in the area of Film and Media Studies for the School of Humanities and Social Science, as a result of which the first graduate level subject in the critical and historical study of film and media will be offered in 1995-6: Professor Jenkins' Media, Culture and Society (21L907).


Professor Peter Donaldson continues to work at the juncture of literary study and emerging technologies as director of the Shakespeare Electronic Archive and as the author of both conventional and multimedia essays related to this topic. "Digital Archives and Sybilline Sentences: The Tempest and the End of Books" was presented at the annual meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America in Chicago; Professor Donaldson also contributed an essay on the Archive to Contextual Media (MIT Press). Professor Alvin Kibel is editing a volume based on the international conference on "The End of the Twentieth Century" held at the Library of Congess, which he organized. Professor Irene Taylor continues work on her book "Veiled Woman: the Evolution of an Image." Professor Ruth Perry published several essays including "Defamiliarizing the Family: Writing History from Literary Sources" in Modern Language Quarterly, and is completing her book on the family in eighteenth century English literature. Professor Halperin published several essays in addition to his study of Michel Foucault, and continues as editor of the influential journal GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies and of two book series on gender and sexuality, published by Routledge and Oxford. Professor David Thorburn published an essay on the Rosenberg case, and continues his research on American television. Professor Hildebidle is conducting research on the Field Day movement in Irish literature during his sabbatical in Ireland, and published several poems and essays in addition to his book of poems. Professor Stephen Tapscott published several essays and poems. His comprehensive anthology of twentieth-century Latin American poetry will be published by the University of Texas Press this year, and his own poetry has been translated into German and Polish. Professor Jenkins is working on a book on shifts in the discourse and culture of childhood and childrearing in post-War American literature, film and media. In addition, Professor Jenkins is working on a CDROM film textbook in collaboration with Senior Research Scientist Janet Murray. Professor Mary Fuller has begun work on her second book on the relationship between literary and non-literary discourse in the English Renaissance and published an article co-authored with Professor Jenkins in Cybersocieties edited by Steve Jones. Professor James Buzard published an essay on T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound as expatriate writers in Raritan as part of his continuing studies of the relation between English and American literature and the cultural history of travel.


Members of the faculty have also presented their work at a number of conferences including meetings of the Shakespeare Association of America, Society for Cinema Studies, The Modern Language Association, The American Philosophical Association, the International Congress of Americanists, The Jane Austen Society, Consoling Passions: Feminism and Television Conference, Colonial Society of Massachussetts, the Society or Literature and Science, the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, the Northeast Modern Language Association, Northeastern Amercian Society for Eighteenth Century Studies. Literature faculty have also delivered public lectures and presentations at Columbia University, the University of Chicago, the New School for Social Research, Grinnell College, Syracuse University, York University (Toronto), King's College, Cambridge, University of Paris, Cornell University, New York University, Brown University, Barnard College, University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, the University of Sydney, Western Sydney University, Adelaide University, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University, Griffith University, LaTrobe University, the Institute for Modern Art (Brisbane), the Museum for Contemporary Art (Sydney), University of Newcastle (New South Wales), Macquarie University, Canterbury University (Christchurch, N.Z.), University of Limerick, Loyola University, The University of Iowa, Hofstra University, Northeastern University, Wesleyan University, Clemson University, and Ohio University.


The Shakespeare Electronic Archive project, headed by Professor Donaldson, and Dr. Janet H. Murray, Director of the Laboratory for Advanced Technology in the Humanities received a major grant from the Andrew W.Mellon Foundation. The award, which provides $450,000 in direct support, will make it possible to install a prototype text-image-video archive including extensive materials on Hamlet and digitizations of the of the Shakespeare First Folio at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. and at MIT. Professor Donaldson chaired the Library Advisory Committee, charged with conducting the search for a new MIT Director of Libraries following the announcement of the retirement of Jay Lucker. Professor Halperin was appointed Visiting Professor at the University of Queensland, Australia, the University of Sydney, and Monash University (Melbourne). Professor Hildebidle held a Fulbright Research Fellowship and a Visiting Professorship at University College, Galway (Ireland). Professor Perry was awarded a Fellowship fo the American Council of Learned Socieities; she also served as Chair of the Steering Committee of the Graduate Consortium of Women's Studies at Radcliffe, and as a member of the editorial board of PMLA. Professor Fuller was awarded a Folger Shakespeare Library Fellowship and a John Carter Brown Library Fellowship.


Assistant Professor Louis Galdieri's appointment terminated this year. James C. Buzard began an initial three year term as Assistant Professor of Literature. Following a national search, Dr. Shankar Raman was appointed Assistant Professor of Literature for an initial three year term and Dr. Diana Henderson was appointed Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature for a period of two years, both appointments beginning July 1, 1995.


This year's search resulted in the addition of an Asian scholar to the regular faulty, and the appointment of a woman as Visiting Assistant Professor on a two year contract. There is a very strong expectation that the Literature Faculty will be able to appoint a woman to the regular faculty in the coming year, and our efforts to recruit minority scholars to the faculty continue.

Peter S. Donaldson

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95