Susan H Aiken

Professor, Emerita
University Distinguished Professor

Susan Hardy Aiken (Ph.D., Duke University), University Distinguished Professor, teaches and writes about nineteenth- and twentieth-century British and American literature and culture, gender studies, and poetry. A founding member of the University of Arizona Women’s Studies Program—now the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies--she has been honored as one of the Feminists Who Changed America (Indiana UP, 2006). Other awards and honors include the University of Arizona Creative Teaching Award, the Mortar Board Award for Academic Excellence, the College of Humanities Distinguished Graduate Advising and Mentoring Award, and the Burlington Northern Foundation Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement.

An internationally recognized scholar for her work on gender studies and on the Danish author Karen Blixen, who wrote in English as Isak Dinesen, Susan has given invited keynote addresses at universities in the United States, Canada, and Europe.   Her research has received support from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others.  She has published four books: Isak Dinesen and the Engendering of Narrative (U. of Chicago Press, 1990); Dialogues/Dialogi: Literary and Cultural Exchanges Between (Ex)Soviet and American Women (Duke University Press, 1994) (co-author), which was nominated for the Barbara Heldt Award in Slavic Studies; and the co-edited collections Changing Our Minds: Feminist Transformations of Knowledge  (SUNY Press, 1988) and Making Worlds: Gender, Metaphor, Materiality (U. of Arizona Press, 1998). Her articles appear in such journals as PMLAScandinavian StudiesExposuresContemporary LiteratureCollege EnglishThe New England Quarterly, and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. She is currently working on a documentary study of antebellum plantation culture.

She has held administrative positions as Director of Graduate Studies in Literature, Coordinator of Graduate Studies in English, and acting Department Head of both the Department of English and the Department of French & Italian. As co-director of Women’s Studies projects sponsored by NEH, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation, she helped shape curriculum transformation at both the University of Arizona and other universities and secondary schools throughout the Southwest. She has served on the Advisory Board of the Southwest Institute for Research on Women and on the steering committee of its Rockefeller Foundation Scholar-in-Residence project, as well as co-chairing the interdisciplinary Rockefeller Foundation project that led to the publication of Making Worlds: Gender, Metaphor, Materiality. She has also served on the national Advisory Committee for PMLA and as a referee for NEH, ACLS, and the Guggenheim Foundation. She currently chairs the Editorial Advisory Board of the University of Arizona Press.

Susan’s interests in cultural history and community include architecture as well as texts.  As longtime advocates for historic preservation, she and her late husband, Chris Carroll (also a Distinguished Professor of English) have restored several of Tucson’s historic houses, including Chris’s family home, The Franklin House, and the Zeckendorf-Hughes-Flores House, both built in 1898 in El Presidio Historic Neighborhood and included on the National Register of Historic Places.  Both projects won preservation awards from the Tucson-Pima County Historic Commission.  Susan currently co-chairs El Presidio’s Historic Preservation Advisory Board.