Smith College Honors UM Professor in Renaissance Studies

During the fall term, University of Miami English Professor Dr. Mihoko Suzuki will call Massachusetts her temporary home as she accepts her new role as the 2016-2017 Ruth and Clarence Kennedy Professor in Renaissance Studies at Smith College, a distinguished women’s liberal arts college in Northampton.

“I am honored to have been invited to take part in this prestigious interdisciplinary appointment,” said Suzuki, who also serves as Director of the Center for the Humanities at the College of Arts and Sciences. Past Kennedy Professors have included renowned scholars such as Felix Gilbert, a German historian of Renaissance Italy; Jean Seznec, a French art historian and literary scholar; and more recently, Peter Stallybrass, an English Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who specializes in the history of the book.

As Kennedy Professor, Suzuki will present a series of three public lectures under the title: “Antigone’s Example: Early Modern Women’s Political Writing in Times of Civic War.” The first lecture, “Christine de Pizan and the Origin of Early Modern Women’s Political Thought,” will take place September 20; the second, “Political Writing High and Low: Women of the French Fronde,” is set for October 25; and the third, “The English Civil Wars: Margaret Cavendish and her Contemporaries,” is scheduled for November 29.

Suzuki will also teach an upper-level seminar, “Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe: The Art of Self-Fashioning,” which will focus on writings by women in Italy, France, England, and Spain that range from political thought to drama, poetry, narrative fiction, and autobiographical prose.

“The seminar’s enrollment is limited to 12, and the students had to be chosen by an application process,” Suzuki explained. “Those who were accepted are from a wide variety of disciplines, from literature to film, anthropology, psychology, and government. The students are engaged in the topic and have already requested the syllabus in advance of the beginning of classes.”

Suzuki earned her A.B. in history and literature from the College Scholar Program at Cornell University and her Ph.D. in comparative literature at Yale University. She is the author of Metamorphoses of Helen: Authority, Difference, and the Epic; and Subordinate Subjects: Gender, the Political Nation, and Literary Form in England, 1588-1688. She has also published numerous articles as well as many edited books on Renaissance and early modern literature and culture, English and European, with an emphasis on gender and authorship. She coedits, with her University of Miami colleagues Anne J. Cruz (MLL) and Mary Lindemann (History), the award-winning Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal.

Her current project, for which she received fellowships from the Folger Shakespeare Library and the New York Public Library, is a book on women’s political writing during times of civil war from the late middle ages to the French Revolution.

August 31, 2016