MIT Reports to the President 1995-96


1995-96 was a productive and active year for the Literature Faculty, in which two new faculty members joined the Section and several retired or announced their intention to retire (See Personnel). Three books by members of the faculty and teaching staff were published: Associate Professor Diana Henderson's Passion Made Public: Elizabethan Lyric, Gender and Performance (University of Illinois Press); Associate Professor Mary Fuller's Voyages in Print: English Travel to America, 1576-1674 (Cambridge University Press); and Lecturer Wyn Kelley's Melville's City: Literary and Urban Form in Nineteenth-Century New York (Cambridge University Press). Other highlights of the year include the award of two NEH Fellowships and an ACLS Fellowship to members of the faculty, the award of a fifth major grant to the Shakespeare Electronic Archive team, the appointment of Diana Henderson as Associate Professor of Literature, and the promotion of Assistant Professor James Buzard to Associate Professor and his appointment to the the Class of 1956 Career Development Professorship.


During the past year, 1,126 students enrolled in Literature subjects, 16 were registered as Literature majors, 16 as minors, and 90 as concentrators in Literature for the HASS requirement. In addition, 8 students were 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. The first graduate level subject in the critical and historical study of film and media was 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 is working on a series of essays on the construction of a global Shakespeare information space and its theoretical and cultural implications. 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 David Thorburn is working on a history of prime time television narrative. Professor Ruth Perry published several essays in the field of Eighteenth Century Studies and feminist criticism in Transformation, Profession 95 and elsewhere, and is completing her book on the family in eighteenth-century English literature. Professor Hildebidle is conducting research on the Field Day and published several poems and essays. Professor Stephen Tapscott published several essays and poems in The Breadloaf Anthology, PN Review, Epoch and The Atlantic Monthly. Professor Jenkins has completed several chapters of a book on shifts in the discourse and culture of childhood and childrearing in post-War American literature, film and media, and is preparing a CD-ROM film textbook in collaboration with Senior Research Scientist Janet Murray. Professor Fuller published her book Voyages in Print: English Travel to America, 1576-1674 and is working on her second book on the cultural and literary implications of English travel to the New World in the Early Modern Period. Professor Henderson published her book Passion Made Public and is working on a series of studies of modes literary collaboration. Professor Buzard published an essay on "Translation and Tourism: Scott's Waverly and the Rendering of Culture" in the Yale Journal of Criticism as part of his work toward a book on literature, culture and ethnography in 19th-century England. Professor Shankar Raman is completing a book on Renaissance Literature and European travel to and images of India and "the East."


Members of the faculty have also presented their work at a number of conferences including meetings of the World Shakespeare Congress, Society for Cinema Studies, The Modern Language Association, the Northeast Modern Language Association, The Society for the Study of Narrative Literature, The Forum for European Expansion and Global Interaction, Connotations-Symposium (Cologne, Germany, The Berkshire Conference on the History of Women (Chapel Hill, N.C.), Console-ing Passions: Feminism and Television Conference. Literature faculty have also delivered public lectures and presentations at Clemson University, University of California, Santa Cruz, University of Hartford, Yale Center for British Art, University of Burgogne (France), University of Aberystwyth (Wales), The John Carter Brown Library, Victoria College, University of Toronto, Seikei University (Tokyo), Northeastern University, The University of Salerno (Italy), The University of Lille (France), Vassar College, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Wellesley College.


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 National Endowment for the Humanities. The award, which provides $118,000 in direct support and $100,00 in potential matched funds, will make it possible to digitize the entire collection of quarto editions of Shakespeare plays at the Henry E. Huntington Library and, in addition, extend the work of the Shakespeare Electronic Archive group to the World Wide Web. The Shakespeare Electronic Archive is also supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, who have provided a direct grant for the creation of an on-site archive at the Folger Shakespeare Library and matching funds for NEH grants. Professor Donaldson chaired the Library Advisory Committee, charged with conducting the search for a new MIT Director of Libraries which resulted in the appointment of Ann Wolpert to the position, and served as a member of the Council on Educational Technologies. Professor Perry held the Fellowship of the American Council of Learned Societies in the Spring Term and 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 held two National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships, one for study at the John Carter Brown Library in Providence and a second for study at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. Professor Raman was appointed Research Fellow of the Literary Anthropolgy Research Project at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Professor Buzard was appointed to MIT's Class of 1956 Career Development Chair.


Professor A.R. Gurney Jr. retired and Professor David M. Halperin resigned as of June 30, 1996. Professors Irene Tayler and Travis Merritt announced their decisions to accept the faculty retirement incentive plan effective in FY 97. Professor Emeritus Louis Kampf, who had held the position of Senior Lecturer following his retirement from the faculty in 1994, retired from active service at the end of the academic year.


Professor Henderson's appointment increased the representation of women on the regular faculty for the year, and Professor Raman's appointment following last year's search marked the first appointment of a faculty member of Asian nationality in Literature. The retirement of Professor Tayler, effective in FY97, will offset the gain in the representation of women in the short term, but it is our expectation that through active searches for unfilled positions and presentation of appropriate proposals for target of opportunity appointments, we will increase the representation of women and minority faculty by at least one in each category in the next two years.

Peter S. Donaldson

MIT Reports to the President 1995-96