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>  News Releases >   2007 >   November

Dartmouth professor awarded Eastman Professorship at Oxford

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 11/01/07 • Genevieve Haas • (603) 646-3661

Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, the Kathe Tappe Vernon Professor of Biography in the English department, has been named the 2009-10 George Eastman Visiting Professor at Oxford University. The position, open to U.S. scholars, includes housing in the Eastman House in Oxford, where Gerzina will reside for the year. As the Eastman Professor, Gerzina will also be elected to a Professorial Fellowship at Balliol College.

Gerzina's research interests include 19th- and early 20th-century British studies, race in 18th-century Britain, African American studies and literature, and biography. She is the author of seven books, three of which she has published since joining the Dartmouth faculty in 2005. Her books include the recently-published Norton Annotated Secret Garden, and Mr. and Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary 18th-Century Family Moved out of Slavery and Into Legend, due out in January. She is also the host of the syndicated radio talk show, "The Book Show." Gerzina, currently chair of the English department, said she looks forward "to working on my own projects, freed from administrative duties for a year." Although Gerzina has frequently visited England to conduct research, she eagerly anticipates having access to her English colleagues and the Oxford libraries for a whole year. "I love the research. I've never really had a chance to work in this relaxed, sustained way before," she said.

The Eastman Professorship is awarded annually to an accomplished scholar,  and its ranks include the literary critic Lionel Trilling and two-time Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling. It was established in 1929 by Kodak founder George Eastman and is awarded through the Association of American Rhodes Scholars. Gerzina is only the fourth woman to receive the honor and the first member of the Dartmouth faculty to do so.

While at Oxford, Gerzina says she looks forward to pursuing her research on the Bloomsbury  group and race, as well as Black British Studies and to traveling in Italy and France, where she also plans to further her research on Josephine Baker. The year at Oxford will be one of only a handful of professional leaves Gerzina has taken in her 23-year career, but, "for someone in English literature," she said, "it's kind of the pinnacle."

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