Tag it:
Delicious
Furl it!
Spurl
NewsVine
Reddit
Digg
Marianne Hirsch 70, 75 Ph.D.

In the thirty years since marianne hirsch earned her bachelors and masters degrees in the same year, her scholarship has always remained just ahead of her discipline, often presaging its fascinations. The book published from her Ph.D. dissertation was named the Choice outstanding academic book of 1981, and her Mother/Daughter Plot received the same award in 1989. Early on she studied representations of women in literature, and two of her books remain feminist classics: Mother/Daughter Plot and Conflicts in Feminism, which Hirsch coedited with Evelyn Fox-Keller of UC Berkeley. Both texts are often listed as required reading in womens studies courses across the United States. Conflicts in Feminism in particular has widened the discussion of womens issues by bringing together essays by scholars who disagree vehemently on issues of race and feminism and on the biological and social origins of gender.

Ive tried to play a kind of mediating role, says Hirsch. Ive always believed it was important to talk. Being heard, which isnt always at the top of a scholars list of priorities, is also a key: Marianne never uses incomprehensible jargon, observes Professor of Comparative Literature Karen Newman, and she doesnt take positions that would offend a reasonable person.

For the past ten years Hirsch has focused on memory. (Shes become as important in that arena as in feminism, Newman notes.) In 1997 Harvard University Press published Family Frames: Photography, Narrative and Postmemory, Hirschs examination of her own family portraits. The book explores the photographic conventions for constructing family relationships, an extremely difficult topic for someone like Hirsch, whose parents are both Holocaust survivors. I was born after the war, Hirsch says, but I feel like I remember it. Her latest project, with her husband, Dartmouth historian Leo Spitzer, is a book about the town her family fled and was inspired by a trip there with her parents four years ago.

Hirschs influence has been felt well beyond the disciplines of feminist scholarship, photography, literature, semiotics, and even comparative literature, says Arnold Weinstein, the Edna and Richard Salomon Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature.

It is one thing to influence people who already agree with you, says Weinstein, who chaired Hirschs doctoral committee. I think Marianne changes people who are working in a much more traditional way.





Be the first to comment on this article

Name and Class Year:
Email:
Comment:

Code:* Code