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Susan Suleiman

Class of 2015-16

Susan Suleiman
Susan Suleiman

Harvard University
Invited Shapiro Senior Scholar-in-Residence, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Holocaust Memorial Museum
Officer of the Order of Academic Palms (Palmes Académiques), France

Considered one of the leading U.S. scholars of twentieth-century French literature, Susan R. Suleiman ranks among the world’s foremost scholars in her field and is considered a leading international scholar of gender and Holocaust studies. 

Among her works is the 1983 Authoritarian Fictions: The Ideological Novel as a Literary Genre, one of the most important critical studies on the political novel written over the last four decades.

Suleiman earned a bachelor’s degree from Bernard College in 1960 and her doctoral degree from Harvard in 1969. She joined the faculty at Harvard in 1981, where she is currently the C. Douglas Dillon Research Professor of the Civilization of France and Research Professor of Comparative Literature. She chaired the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures from 1997 to 2000, 2003 to 2004, and 2011 to 2012, and the Department of Comparative Literature from 2007 to 2009.

She received the Radcliffe Medal for Distinguished Achievement in 1990 and a decoration by the French government as an Officer of the Order of Academic Palms (Palmes Académiques) in 1992. She held a Guggenheim Fellowship from 1988 to 1989 and a Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship in 1984. Suleiman has been an invited fellow at the Collegium Budapest Institute for Advanced Study in Budapest and at the Center for Advanced Study of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo. In 2005–06, she was a fellow of the Radcliffe Institute. During 2009–10, she was the invited Shapiro Senior Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Suleiman served as an elected member of the executive council of the Modern Language Association from 1993 to 1996 and as vice president and president of the American Comparative Literature Association from 1995 to 1999.

Suleiman is the author or editor of many books and more than one hundred articles on contemporary literature and culture published in the United States and abroad. Her latest book, forthcoming from Yale University Press, is about the Russian-French novelist Irène Némirovsky and issues of “foreignness” in twentieth-century France. Her other books include Crises of Memory and the Second World War (2006); Subversive Intent: Gender, Politics, and the Avant-Garde (1990); Risking Who One Is: Encounters with Contemporary Art and Literature (1994); and the memoir Budapest Diary: In Search of the Motherbook (1996). She has edited and coedited influential collective volumes, including French Global: A New Approach to Literary History (2010) and After Testimony: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Holocaust Narrative for the Future (2012). Other edited volumes include Exile and Creativity: Signposts, Travelers, Outsiders, Backward Glances (1998) and The Female Body in Western Culture: Contemporary Perspectives (1986). In addition to her scholarly articles, she has published book reviews in the New York Times, the Boston GlobeThe American Scholar, and other newspapers and magazines, as well as autobiographical essays.

Suleiman will interact with faculty–scholars and graduate students from the College of Liberal Arts’ departments of international studies, English, and history, as well as the Gender and Ethnic Studies Program. 


Eralda L. Lameborshi – 2015-16

Jonathan Bibeau – 2015-16