Valerie Traub Honored with Distinguished University Professorship & Fellowships

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photograph of Valerie Traub
photograph of Valerie Traub

Valerie Traub (English, Women's Studies) recently received one of the University of Michigan's top honors as Distinguished University Professor. Established in 1947, Distinguished University Professorships recognize full professors for exceptional scholarly or creative achievement, national and international reputation, and superior teaching skills. 

Additionally, she was recently honored with fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies for her project, Mapping Embodiment in the Early Modern West: Anatomy, Cartography, and the Prehistory of Normality. The book demonstrates that, as the sixteenth century drew toward a close, various "scientific" discourses in Western Europe created the possibility for a style of reasoning that today goes by the name of the "normal." Traub's close readings of natural history illustration, anatomical plates, costume books, and voyage illustrations from the late medieval period to the late seventeenth century show how they collectively provided a spatial idiom that was appropriated by cartographers for their images of human figures on country, continent, and world maps. Such ethnographic maps were widely produced and disseminated across Europe and as far away as China. The result of their circulation was a paradigmatic shift in the evaluation of material and cognitive life, whereby a medieval style of reasoning governed by appeals to nature was absorbed into and gradually superseded by a modern reasoning based on norms.

Professor Traub's recent book, Thinking Sex with the Early Moderns (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), is a finalist for a 2016 Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Studies.

Professor Traub is Adrienne Rich Distinguished University Professor of English and Women's Studies. She also is the Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of English and Women's Studies, professor of English language and literature and professor of women's studies, LSA. She directs the IRWG program Lesbian Studies in Queer Times, and seves on the steering committee of the Lesbian-Gay-Queer Research Initiative (LGQRI).

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