“Since third grade, I knew I would be a professor. I just didn't know of what. In fact, I didn't know which field would become my area of specialization until my first year of Ph.D. studies. Moving from chemistry to philosophy to art to literature, I finally decided on comparative literature with a focus on Western European medieval studies.”
So begins a statement by SunHee Kim Gertz, professor emerita and senior research scholar in English at Clark University, on her scholarly interests, which, she acknowledges, have always reflected an interdisciplinary focus. Gertz has written more than 20 articles and five books, including her most recent, “Visual Power and Fame in René d'Anjou, Geoffrey Chaucer, and the Black Prince” and an edited collection on diversity and inclusion. As director of the M.A. in English Program for 12 years, she succeeded in creating its international profile. She has co-directed The Leir Luxembourg Program-Clark University, and been affiliated with Clark’s Women’s and Gender Studies, and Asian Studies programs. Currently she is a board director of the Leir Charitable Foundations, which recently helped to fund Clark’s Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Master of Health Science in Community and Global Health Program. In her 32 years at Clark, she taught and mentored hundreds of students.
Now her colleagues and former students will recognize Gertz’s interdisciplinary impact through the Global Cultures Alumni Conference in her honor on Friday, Nov. 10. The conference will feature lectures on diversity and inclusion by Clark English alumni from across the United States and Britain, who work in law, architecture, public policy, education and literary studies.
“Since SunHee has been such a force of positive change for students and faculty, I felt organizing a conference with the students she had mentored, focused on the issue of diversity and inclusion that she has championed throughout her career, would be the best way to honor her. Those presenting at the conference — primarily former English majors and M.A. students in English — display a cultural understanding and innovative vision that highlights SunHee’s legacy and the impact of studying English at Clark,”says Lisa Kasmer, associate professor and chair of English.
The full day of lectures will be held in Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons, with opening remarks by Kasmer and a plenary talk on “Homeliness” at 9 a.m. by Sarah Stanbury, Distinguished Professor in the Arts and Humanities from the College of the Holy Cross. Four sessions of panels run from 10:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on topics of “Diversity and Inclusion in Contemporary Society,” “Theoretical Interventions,” “Cross-Cultural Writing” and “Gender Trouble.”
For a full schedule of lectures and speakers, visit the English Department’s website.
At top: SunHee Kim Gertz with her husband, Uwe Gertz. Both were involved with The Leir Luxembourg Program-Clark University for many years; Uwe Gertz coordinated the program, SunHee Gertz served as co-director, and both are now board directors for the Leir Charitable Foundations.