Ira Abrams Award: Dr. Sidlauskas and Dr. Stallybrass

The 1997 winners of the School of Arts and Sciences' Ira Abrams Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching are Dr. Susan Sidlauskas, assistant professor of the history of art (Photo by Joanne Olivier), and Dr. Peter Stallybrass, professor of English (Photo by Laurence Kesterson).

Dr. Walter Wales, Acting Dean of SAS, will host a reception later in the month to honor the two Abrams award winners and the Dean's Distinguished Teaching Award-winning graduate student teachers, whos names are to be announced.

The Abrams Award, given by an alumnus Ira H. Abrams, C '31, recognizes with major cash awards teaching that is "intellectually challenging and exceptionally coherent, that leads to an informed understanding of a discipline. Recipients of the Ira Abrams Memorial Award are expected to embody high standards of integrity and fairness, to have a strong commitment to learning, and to be open to new ideas."

The British-born Dr. Stallybrass is a scholar of Shakespeare and of European Romanticism who came to Penn from Dartmouth in 1988. He had begun his teaching career at his alma mater, the University of Sussex in England, where he took his B.A. in 1971, in English and Philosophy, and did his advanced work in Shakespeare and European Romanticism for the Ph.D. in 1972. Tenured at Sussex in 1977, he came to this country for visiting appointments at Smith and Hampshire Colleges, then returned to Sussex as co-director of Renaissance Studies graduate program, 19870-82, and director of the graduate program in critical theory, 1983-86.

Since joining Penn he has become known for teaching that is both prolific and varied, including such courses as "Appropriating Shakespeare," "Shakespeare and the Politics of Gender," and numerous topics in English poetry and culture, politics and philosophy, architecture and music. He is active in the formation of seminars here and elsewhere, and with the world of academic publishing, which he incorporates into his teaching by exploring the relationship between writer and culture. He is reader for the presses of Oxford, Routledge, Cornell, Stanford, Harvard, Harvester and Chicago, a member of the editorial board of the Penn Press, and co-editor (with Joan DeJean and Carroll Smith-Rosenberg) of its New Culutral Studies series.

Dr. Stallybrass's books include The Politics and Poetics of Transgression (with Allon White; from Methuan and from Cornell in the U.S.) and Embodied Politics: Enclosure and Transgression in Early Modern England (forthcoming from Routledge). He has also edited a number of scholarly volumes, published numerous articles, and is at work on Worn Worlds: Clothes and Identity in Early Modern England and Europe (with Ann Rosalind Jones).

Dr. Sidlauskas is an alumna of Mount Holyoke and the University of Massachusetts, where she took her B.A. in art history summa cum laude in 1977. She served as assistant head of school programs for Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and as curator for the MIT Committee on the Visual Arts before coming to Penn for a Ph.D., which she received in 1989 for a dissertation with Dr. John McCoubrey, A "Perspective of Feeling": The Expressive Interior in Nineteenth-Century Realist Painting."

She was a lecturer here in 1989-90, then taught at Columbia before returning to Penn as assistant professor in 1994.

The winner of numerous fellowships and, including Mellon and Kress Awards, Dr. Sidlauskas specializes in Nineteenth- and early Twentieth-century painting, with strong interests in modern architectural history and theory, feminist theory and gender studies, and contemporary art.

This year her courses have included, in addition to European art, 1760-1848, a seminar on "Portraiture: Identity and/or Appearance" and a graduate seminar on "The Turn of the Century:" Society and Representation"--and she is preparing to teach, with Dr. Elizabeth Johns, a program of undergraduate and graduate interdisicplinary seminars on the visual culture of Nineteenth-century America and Europe.

Also in preparation are two books. The Body in Place: Imaging Interiority in Nineteenth-Century Culture, draws on Degas, Sargent, Whistler, Vuillard and Sickert--and on current architectural criticism, film studies and other analyses--for conceptions of the relation of the body to space. Cezanne and the Portraiture of Women will be the first full-length study of Cezanne's portraits of his wife.

Dr. Sidlauskas is on the Committee on Nomination to Phi Beta Kappa, and is active in advising and the conduct of independent studies. She helped to plan, in cooperation with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Arthur Ross Gallery's 1995-96 student-curated exhibition, "City into Country" and she chaired a session in the related symposium developed with the Institute of French Culture and Technology.


Volume 43 Number 29
April 8, 1997

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