Lauren Shohet Named First Chair Holder of the Luckow Family Endowed Chair in English Literature

Lauren Shohet Named First Chair Holder of the Luckow Family Endowed Chair in English
Lauren E. Shohet, Ph.D., a professor of English at Villanova, has been appointed the first holder of the Luckow Family Endowed Chair in English.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University is pleased to announce that Lauren E. Shohet, Ph.D., a professor of English at Villanova, has been appointed the first holder of the Luckow Family Endowed Chair in English Literature. The Chair is designed to support a nationally recognized scholar and highly-regarded teacher, enhancing the scholarly reputation of the department, college, and university, as well as advancing the education of Villanova literature students, both undergraduate and graduate. Dr. Shohet will hold the chair for five years.

“The Luckow Family’s vision in endowing this Chair acknowledges literature and literary studies as a vibrant resource for coming to grips with today’s proliferating media, writerly voices, and belief systems,” Dr. Shohet said.

Dr. Shohet specializes in early-modern English poetry and drama, the history of material texts, and the theory of literary form. She is the author of Reading Masques: The English Masque and Public Culture in the Seventeenth Century (Oxford University Press, 2010), and of many articles and essays on adaptation, form, reading, and works of Milton, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and early-modern women poets. She is the recipient of fellowships and prizes from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Huntington Library, and the Shakespeare Association of America.

“I teach and study literature because it sponsors conversations: between the present and the past, between forms (like sonnets) and historical events (like revolutions), between scholarly analysis and popular debate, between selves and others, between ‘what’ and ‘what if,’” Dr. Shohet said. “I see my role as drawing out ever more of the voices that have entered these exchanges and recruiting new ones to join them. I seek to open out ways that the canonical texts of English literature that I cherish can illuminate vital questions of wide interest from perspectives unique to literary studies."

Through her work as Chair holder, Dr. Shohet hopes to pursue a number of channels for drawing international perspectives together with the English Department’s work, especially to augment English majors’ and graduate students’ opportunities to consider international dimensions of their studies. Currently, Dr. Shohet is a Senior External Fellow at the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies in Germany.  

Furthermore, Dr. Shohet views the endowed chair as “a coordination point” for department colleagues experimenting with a wide variety of instructional ideas specific to the discipline.

“I hope to explore ways that teachers and scholars in our department can mine opportunities of interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity (undergirding such exciting new areas of study as literature and the constitution of the human, or narrative and cognition, or network theory and literary studies) in ways that draw on our traditional expertise,” Dr. Shohet said.

“Dr. Shohet is a superb teacher who puts a great deal of intelligence, time, and creativity into her teaching, including teaching writing,” said Evan Radcliffe, Ph.D., chair of the Department of English. “And her teaching is intertwined with her scholarship, which is consistently original, careful, and critically sophisticated; she is alive to historical and philosophical issues even as she pays close attention to the details and formal properties of the literary texts she studies. She is also an excellent colleague.” 

Dr. Shohet earned her Ph.D. in English Literature in 1995 from Brown University, and came to Villanova’s Department of English that same year, after a Visiting Assistant Professorship at Tufts University.  She holds bachelor’s degrees in English and Comparative Literature from Oberlin College and in harpsichord performance from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.

About the Luckow Family

Through their personal interest and The Luckow Family Foundation, Robert W. and Audrey Luckow have distinguished themselves as philanthropists who have generously supported a variety of worthy causes. In addition to providing critical resources to Villanova through endowing the Chair in English and supporting the University’s Annual Fund, their gifts have touched the lives of many in significant ways, from ensuring access to top-quality health care to providing spiritual, recreational, and educational opportunities for children in need.

Beyond their kind financial support, Mr. and Mrs. Luckow have contributed to the vitality of the University through their former service on the Parents Executive Committee, the lead parent volunteer group within University Advancement’s Parent Program, which works with Villanova’s Office of Student Life, Career Center, and Enrollment Management to create strategies to reach more parents and involve them more closely in the life of the University.Through the establishment of The Luckow Family Endowed Chair in English and The Luckow Family Endowed Fund for Scholarships in Education, the Luckow family has bolstered the innovative, mission-driven programs that serve to define the Villanova experience, distinguish the College and the University, and provide students with a solid foundation of Augustinian values and knowledge.