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Jennifer Summit
Professor of English
Clayman Institute Faculty Voice and Influence Fellow, 2012-2013

Jennifer Summit's scholarly interests bridge the medieval and early modern periods and focus on the histories of reading, literature, and knowledge, with a special interest in literacy and the disciplines today. Her published work includes Memory's Library: Medieval Books in Early Modern England (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2008), which was awarded the Roland H. Bainton Book Prize by the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference (SCSC) and the John Ben Snow Foundation Book Prize from the North American Conference on British Studies (NCBS), and Lost Property: the Woman Writer and English Literary History, 1380-1589 (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2000). With Caroline Bicks (Boston College) she is co-editor of the Palgrave History of British Women's Writing, Vol 2: 1500-1610 (2010), and with David Wallace (U. Penn) she co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (2008) on "Rethinking Periodization." With a working group comprising members from UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, and Mills College, she is coordinating a multi-year research project entitled "What is a Reader?" ( ) Supported by the Teagle Foundation's "Big Questions in the Disciplines" initiative, it investigates the new literacy and its implications for literary studies of the future. Her current book project traces the debate over the "active life" versus the "contemplative life" from the medieval and early modern periods to the contemporary academy. Her work has been supported by fellowships from the NEH, the ACLS, and the Stanford Humanities Center. At Stanford she has been awarded the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching and is Eleanor Loring Ritch University Fellow in Undergraduate Education.

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