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Pioneering literary academic joins American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Isobel Armstrong, Professor Emeritus of English at Birkbeck, has been elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Isobel Armstrong, Professor Emeritus of English at Birkbeck, has been elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS).

The published poet and one of the most dynamic and inspirational figures in literary and cultural studies since the 1970s was delighted to receive the recent announcement. She said: “It was a surprise because the letter of election did not get to me at first, and I found American colleagues congratulating me before I knew what they were congratulating me about! It is a huge privilege to be elected to this American institution.”

As a member of the AAAS, Armstrong joins a company of notable current members from every field and profession, including more than 250 Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners. Former members of the institution, which was created in 1780, include George Washington, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela.

Following academic jobs at the universities of Leicester and Southampton, Armstrong taught at Birkbeck from 1989 to 2002. She oversaw a period of unprecedented renewal and expansion for the then Department of English, and established a Master’s course in Gender, Society and Culture. She was one of the most powerful, dynamic and inspirational figures in literary and cultural studies.

Armstrong has published widely on nineteenth-century studies (in particular Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Poetics and Politics, 1993) and theory (The Radical Aesthetic, 2000). She is also a fellow of the British Academy, and Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of English Studies.

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