Professor of English and Dean Emerita
Affiliation: NYU New York
Research Areas: women and gender, feminist criticism
Catharine R. Stimpson, one of the pioneers in the study of women and gender, a founder of feminist criticism, is also known for her role as a public intellectual and her public service, which includes her wide-ranging writing on the humanities, liberal arts, and the university.
She is University Professor and Dean Emerita of the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University. She is located in the Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy, and is an affiliated member of the NYU Law School Faculty and an affiliated faculty member at New York University Abu Dhabi. From January, 1994, to October, 1997, she served as Director of the Fellows Program at the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. Simultaneously, she was on leave from her position as University Professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick, where, from 1986-1992, she was also Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education.
Before going to Rutgers, she taught at Barnard College, where she was also the first director of its Women’s Center. Once the editor of a book series for the University of Chicago Press, she was also the founding editor of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society from 1974-80. The author of a novel, Class Notes (1979, 1980), the editor of seven books, she has also published over 150 monographs, essays, stories, and reviews in such places as Transatlantic Review, Nation, New York Times Book Review, Critical Inquiry, and boundary 2. A selection of essays on literature, culture, and education, Where The Meanings Are, appeared in 1988, and was re-issued in 2014. She served as co-editor of the two-volume Library of America edition of the works of Gertrude Stein. Professor Stimpson has lectured at approximately 400 institutions and events in the United States and abroad.
Her public service has included the chairpersonships of the New York State Council for the Humanities, the National Council for Research on Women, and the Ms. Magazine Board of Scholars. In 1990, she was the President of the Modern Language Association. She is now a member of the board of directors of several educational, philanthropic, and cultural organizations, and a former member of the board of PBS.
From September 2000 through September 2001, she served as the president of the Association of Graduate Schools. She was chair of the board of Creative Capital, the innovative arts organization. As a member of the Editorial Group of Change magazine from 1992 to 1994, she wrote a regular column about education and culture.
Born in Bellingham, Washington, she was educated at Bryn Mawr College, Cambridge University, and Columbia University. She holds honorary degrees from Upsala College, Monmouth College, Bates College, Florida International University, the State University of New York at Albany, Hamilton College, the University of Arizona, Wheaton College, Hood College, Union College, Holy Cross College, Santa Clara University, Rutgers University, Emory University, and Simmons College. She has also won Fulbright and Rockefeller Humanities Fellowships. She was awarded the 2011 Francis A. March Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession from the Modern Language Association.
Stimpson’s most recent book, Critical Terms for the Study of Gender, co-edited with Gilbert Herdt, was published by the University of Chicago Press in Summer 2014, and was named one of the most significant academic titles of 2015 by CHOICE, a magazine of the American Research Library Association.