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Pembroke Center names new director

Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg replaces Kay Warren, who has held the position since July 2011

Updated Jan. 22 at 1:33 a.m.

Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg, professor of comparative literature and Italian studies, will assume the post of director of the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women beginning July 1, the center announced last month.

Stewart-Steinberg will replace the current director Kay Warren, professor of international studies and anthropology, who has led the center since July 2011.

Since arriving at the University in 2005, Stewart-Steinberg has maintained close ties to the Pembroke Center. She served on the board of the gender and sexuality studies concentration and became the concentration’s director from 2007 to 2010, she said. Her research in this field has overlapped with the interests and mission of the center, she added.

Stewart-Steinberg served as the center’s interim director from 2010 to 2011, while Warren was on sabbatical. Her experience serving as temporary director, colleagues said, made her a strong choice for the permanent position.

“Suzanne is a dynamic thinker and a visionary leader,” said Debbie Weinstein ’93, assistant director of the center. “I think she’s the ideal person to build on the strengths … Kay Warren has already developed.”

Stewart-Steinberg said her first priority will be continuing the $3.5-million fundraising campaign Warren began this fall to support the center’s two archives, the Christine Dunlap Farnham Archives and the Feminist Theory Archives.

An upcoming conference or symposium will be built around these archives, a project called “The Order of Knowledge,” Stewart-Steinberg said. Though the center is still planning the programming and workshops, they will be focused on “how we organize knowledge,” she said.

“We’re raising money to grow those archives and support staff around that,” Stewart-Steinberg said, adding that she hopes to design a component that will attract students to develop research for the archives in a “productive way.”

The hallmark of Warren’s career as the center’s head was the implementation of faculty seed grants in 2012. Stewart-Steinberg said she hopes to continue publicizing this funding opportunity as well as expand the center’s current funding for undergraduate and graduate students to do research.

Stewart-Steinberg also hopes to bring to fruition a commemorative event in honor of the 100th anniversary of World War I, she said. The project would likely be long-term, she added, and would explore “the problems of modern war.”

Stewart-Steinberg has conducted extensive research integrating Italian history and gender studies. She has published three books, and her best known, 2007’s “The Pinocchio Effect: On Making Italians (1860-1920),” received the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Best Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies from the Modern Language Association.

She is currently completing a manuscript titled “A History of Italian Repression: Sexuality, Psychoanalysis and the War Against Memory,” according to a Pembroke Center press release.

Stewart-Steinberg attended the University of Essex as an undergraduate, going on to receive a PhD in political science from Yale and a masters degree in German studies from Cornell.

During her time at Brown, she has served on the University Resources Committee, the Graduate Council and the Tenure, Promotions and Appointments Committee.

“We’ve worked on regular departmental business together, and I was chair when she was promoted to full professor,” said Professor of Comparative Literature Karen Newman, who has known Stewart-Steinberg since 2006. “She has done terrific work as a colleague across the university — departmentally in both her departments, on the Graduate Council and now on TPAC.”


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