Catharine Stimpson is a University Professsor at New York University. Currently the editor of a book series for the University of Chicago Press, she was the founding editor of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Her many other publications include a novel, Class Notes; a selection of essays, Where the Meanings Are: Feminism and Cultural Spaces; and a book on Gertrude Stein, which is under contract to the University of Chicago Press. In addition, more than 150 of her monographs, essays, stories, and reviews have appeared in Transatlantic Review, The Nation, The New York Times Book ReviewCritical Inquiryboundary 2, and other publications.

Dean Stimpson is the Chair of the National Advisory Committee of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and past president of the Association of Graduate Schools. She is former chair of the New York State Humanities Council, the Ms. Magazine Board of Scholars, and the National Council for Research on Women, as well as past president of the Modern Language Association. She serves on the boards of other educational and cultural organizations, and from 1994-2000, was on the board of PBS.

She has been awarded both Fulbright and Rockefeller Humanities Fellowships, as well as grants from the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Before coming to NYU, Dean Stimpson was Director of the MacArthur Foundation Fellows Program and University Professor at Rutgers, where she was also Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for graduate education. She was the first Director of the Women’s Center of Barnard College and of the Institute for Research on Women at Rutgers.

Dean Stimpson holds an A.B. from Bryn Mawr College, and a B.A. from Cambridge University. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University, and holds numerous honorary degrees.


Routledge 1988

Where the Meanings Are: Feminism and Cultural Spaces

This collection of essays in literary criticism, feminist theory and race relations was named one of the top twenty-five books of 1988 by the Voice Literary Supplement. The title covers such subjects as black literature; the reconstruction of culture, changing arts, letters and sciences to include the topics of women and gender; and, the nature of family and the changing roles of women within society. As such, Catharine Stimpson employs a transdisciplinary approach, to encourage greater understanding of the differences among women, and thus socially-constructed differences in general.

University of Chicago Press

Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society

Catharine Stimpson is the founding editor of Signs. Recognized as the leading international journal in women’s studies, Signs is at the forefront of new directions in feminist scholarship. The journal publishes pathbreaking articles, review essays, comparative perspectives, and retrospectives of interdisciplinary interest addressing gender, race, culture, class, nation, and sexuality. Special issue and section topics cover a broad range of geopolitical processes, conditions, and effects; cultural and social configurations; and scholarly and theoretical developments.

Relevant Reading

Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 13:1-2 2013

Bathing in reeking wounds: The liberal arts, beauty, and war

A historic dialectic exists between the beautiful and the bestial. The bestial destroys the beautiful, but in a bloody miracle, the beautiful emerges from the womb of the bestial, the ‘terrible beauty’ of which the poet W. B. Yeats wrote. The liberal arts, so often thought to dwell in a remote ivory tower, embody this dialectic. Wars and disasters have spurred their evolution. Even more important, the liberal arts are at once the dialectic’s most energetic and sensitive explorers. Shakespeare’s gory tragedy about war and warriors, Macbeth, is a springboard for such explorations, dramatizing a dialectic between war and love, destruction and redemption, savagery and poetry. We bathe in reeking wounds. Because of their diversity, liberal artisans, practitioners of the liberal arts, are now uniquely prepared to engage with this dialectic. They can also inoculate us against the diseases of the allure of war, blood lust, and propaganda.


Hosted by Uli Baer, PhD, Director of NYU Center for the Humanities.