Karen Lawrence

Professor Emerita, English
School of Humanities
Professor Emerita, Comparative Literature
School of Humanities


Email: krlawren@uci.edu

University of California, Irvine

Research Interests
Twentieth-Century Literature; Travel Writing; Women's Writing; The Novel; Feminist and Gender Studies
Research Abstract
Karen Lawrence, a nationally prominent humanities scholar and professor of English, served as the Dean of the UC Irvine School of Humanities from 1998 through 2007.

Lawrence is a firm believer in the relevance of the humanities in today's world. "Humanistic study provides intellectual excitement for students and prepares them for the future by training them to be incisive critical thinkers, cultural 'readers' and communicators. These are portable intellectual skills that apply to almost any profession," she said.

Lawrence, who has written or edited five books on topics from James Joyce to women's travel narratives, also has published numerous scholarly articles on 20th century literature. Before coming to UCI, she was a professor at the University of Utah from 1978 to 1998. Prior to that, she taught at Columbia University and Tufts University.

She served in a number of major leadership roles at the University of Utah. She was chair of the English department for five years, and, shortly after her tenure as chair, U.S. News and World Report identified her department as one of the four most improved English departments in the country. She also served on the University of Utah's President's Commission on the Status of Women, Research Council, Faculty Senate, and Task Force on Scholarship, Teaching and Research. In 1994, the university recognized her achievements with the prestigious Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence, a $30,000 prize awarded each year to a faculty member who has made outstanding contributions in research, teaching and administration. Among the many other awards she has received are a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a University of Utah Humanities Center Fellowship, the Ramona Cannon Award for distinguished teaching in the University of Utah's College of Humanities and a Faculty Fellow Award.

Lawrence also has held leadership positions in major national and international professional organizations. She served as president of the International James Joyce Foundation for eight years and as president of the Society for the Study of Narrative Literature.

Lawrence earned her Ph.D. in English from Columbia University, her master's in English from Tufts University and her bachelor's, magna cum laude with honors in English, from Yale.

UCI's School of Humanities earned national attention in 1995 when two of its graduate programs - comparative literature and French - were rated among the top 10 in the prestigious National Research Council rankings. Four other humanities programs - English, German, Spanish/Portuguese and philosophy - were ranked in the top 25 of the nation's doctoral programs by the National Research Council. The School of Humanities, UCI's third largest school, also has a national reputation for faculty research and graduate studies in modern art, critical theory, French literature, East Asian studies, Latin American and Chicano literatures, American history and literature, and logic and methodology, among other areas.
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