Ira Jewell Williams, Jr., Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of African and African American Studies
Director of the Cultural Agents Initiative at Harvard University
Professor Doris Sommer's research interests have developed from the 19th-Century novels that helped to consolidate new republics in Latin America through the particular aesthetics of minoritarian literature, including bilingual virtuosity, to her current more general pursuit of the constructive work in rights and resources that the arts and the humanities contribute to developing societies. Her academic and outreach work promotes development through arts and humanities, specifically through “Pre-Texts” in Boston Public Schools, throughout Latin America and beyond. Pre-Texts is an arts-based training program for teachers of literacy, critical thinking, and citizenship. Among her books are Foundational Fictions: The National Romances of Latin America (1991) about novels that helped to consolidate new republics; Proceed with Caution when Engaged by Minority Literature (1999) on a rhetoric of particularism; Bilingual Aesthetics: A New Sentimental Education (2004); and The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities (2014).
Dr. Sommer has enjoyed and is dedicated to developing good public school education. She has a B.A. from New Jersey's Douglass College for Women, and Ph.D. from Rutgers University.