Professor Helen Taylor

Honorary Fellowship recognises commitment to American Studies

A prestigious Honorary Fellowship has been awarded to University of Exeter Professor Helen Taylor for her sustained contribution to American Studies. Professor Taylor was the fourth recipient of the British Association for American Studies (BAAS) Honorary Fellowship, which was presented at the 56th Annual BAAS Conference earlier this month.

This annual award, inaugurated in 2009, recognises American Studies academics who have made an outstanding contribution to the Association, to their institution, and to the American Studies community in general over the course of a distinguished career. Professor Taylor has contributed to this area of research for almost four decades. Her research on ‘Gone with the Wind’ made a significant contribution to the understanding of the role of popular culture in the notions of the South, of femininity, of whiteness and of slavery. Professor Taylor’s work on the studies of Willa Cather, Zora Neale Hurston and Tennessee Williams have helped to keep a range of American and specifically Southern American writers at the forefront of American and literary studies.

In bestowing this year’s Fellowship, the Association commended Professor Taylor’s ‘extraordinary and sustained contribution to American Studies’. The citation noted the significance of her scholarly work on a range of areas (including transatlantic cultural relations and the literature of the American South), the vital part she has played in bringing American writers such as Kate Chopin to the attention of generations of readers, and the influence of her ongoing research on the literature and culture of New Orleans.

The Association further applauded Professor Taylor’s sustained commitment to American Studies as a discipline and noted with appreciation the role that she has played – as teacher, supervisor, professional advisor and peer reviewer – in inspiring and supporting the careers of successive generations of scholars in the field.

Professor Taylor who is also the Arts and Culture Fellow at the University of Exeter said, “I am deeply honoured and delighted to be awarded this Fellowship by my peers. The American Studies is a very supportive community, and has always encouraged my research areas of the American South, women writers and - in recent years - transatlantic cultural studies.”

Date: 3 May 2011

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