IU feminist literary critic, evolutionary biologist named American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellows

Gubar one of IU English department's first female professors; Ketterson known for animal behavior studies

  • April 23, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Distinguished Professor Emerita of English Susan D. Gubar and Ellen D. Ketterson, Distinguished Professor of Biology and Gender Studies, have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies.

Gubar, who taught at IU for more than 36 years and was one of only three women in IU’s Department of English when she was hired in 1973, is an influential feminist literary and cultural critic. She co-authored “The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the 19th-Century Literary Imagination” with Sandra M. Gilbert in 1979. The book was a runner-up for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2012 she published “Memoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer,” a no-holds-barred account of her experiences with the disease and its treatment.

Ketterson is an internationally recognized evolutionary biologist whose work on testosterone manipulations in birds cemented the idea that hormone secretion may have evolutionary costs. A co-founder of IU’s Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior, her research has been described by peers as transforming “our understanding of the biological and evolutionary basis for behavior." She has been named a fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union; has been named a fellow of the Animal Behavior Society and recipient of its Exemplar Award; and has received a John Simon Guggenheim fellowship.

“A distinguishing characteristic of any world-class university is its faculty, and today the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has recognized two women who represent that guiding principle,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. “For decades Susan Gubar and Ellen Ketterson have worked tirelessly to the benefit of their students, this university and to society, in turn making their election to the academy most deserved.”

The academy publicly announced the 2014 class of fellows and foreign honorary members today. The new members include winners of the Nobel Prize; the Wolf Prize; the Pulitzer Prize; National Medal of the Arts; MacArthur, Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships; and Grammy, Emmy, Oscar and Tony awards. 

Ketterson was among those elected in the field of science, which also included astrophysicist Neta A. Bahcall,who combines observational data from large-scale surveys to determine the structure in the universe; theoretical computer scientist Jennifer Tour Chayes, known for her work on phase transitions; Jerry F. Franklin, leading visionary in forest ecology and conservation; Edward Frenkel, author of the influential book “Langlands Correspondence for Loop Groups”; Tamás F. Freund, who discovered new molecular pathways in nerve cell communication; epigenetics researcher Shiv Grewal; computer scientist Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera; Stephen Quake, whose research seeks to improve biological measurement techniques; Dan Shechtman, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Richard Silverman, inventor of Lyrica; epidemiologist Jaime Sepulveda; and theoretical physicist Anthony Zee, a leader in particle theory.

Gubar was elected as a member in the new class in the field of humanities and the arts, which also included Pulitzer Prize winners Jules Feiffer and Annie Proulx; scholar of American religious history Catherine L. Albanese; artist Chris Burden; scholar of British literature James Chandler; philosopher John B. Cobb; Renaissance literature scholar Margaret W. Ferguson; poet Linda Gregerson; curator Maxwell K. Hearn; novelist and screenwriter John Irving; U.S. historian and The New Yorker writer Jill Lepore; choreographer Tere O'Connor; Jeffersonian scholar Peter S. Onuf; director and actor Al Pacino; short story writer George Saunders; science historian Londa Schiebinger; musician-composer Ralph Stanley; and novelist and English and comparative literature scholar Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony Oct. 11, 2014, at the academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. A list of the new members is available on the academy's website.

One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, the academy is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts and education.

“It is a privilege to honor these men and women for their extraordinary individual accomplishments,” said Don Randel, chair of the academy’s Board of Directors. “The knowledge and expertise of our members give the academy a unique capacity -- and responsibility -- to provide practical policy solutions to the pressing challenges of the day. We look forward to engaging our new members in this work.”

Since its founding in 1780, the academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th, and Margaret Meade and Martin Luther King Jr. in the 20th. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

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Susan D. Gubar

Susan D. Gubar

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Ellen D. Ketterson

Ellen D. Ketterson

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Stephen Chaplin

Manager of Research Communications