Jean Lutes, PhD

Jean Lutes, PhD

Jean Lutes, PhD, professor of English, is the Luckow Family Endowed Chair in English Literature in Villanova’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She earned her BA from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and her MA and PhD from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Lutes’ research examines late 19th and early 20th-century American fiction, with emphases on women's writing, journalism, gender theory, and the recovery of marginalized texts and authors. Her first book, Front Page Girls: Women Journalists in American Culture and Fiction, 1880-1930 (Cornell University Press, 2006), argues that the gritty, male-dominated vision of newspaper work associated with the rise of literary realism in the United States has obscured a vibrant alternative tradition of women’s reporting, which practiced material embodiment and emotional engagement rather than objectivity and detachment. Dr. Lutes’ second book, Around the World in Seventy-Two Days and Other Writings (Penguin Classics, 2014), is the first edited collection of writings from daredevil stunt reporter Nellie Bly.

Dr. Lutes is also co-editor of Gender in American Literature and Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2021), a collection that spans five centuries and features 21 essays by distinguished and emerging scholars. Work in the archives has long been central to Dr. Lutes’s scholarship. With the help of student researchers, she has been recovering a lost short story collection by Black author, educator and racial justice advocate Alice Dunbar-Nelson. The work has evolved into The ’Steenth Street Project—a Black digital humanities initiative co-founded with Brigitte Fielder, PhD, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Denise Burgher, doctoral candidate at the University of Delaware. Currently, Dr. Lutes is researching and writing about the evolution of the newspaper personal advice column, which was invented by American newspaperwomen in the late 19th century.

Outside of the classroom, Dr. Lutes is committed to sustainability efforts, serving on the steering committee of Villanova’s Institute for Climate Justice and Sustainability. She has previously chaired the English Department’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee and co-directed the Gender and Women’s Studies program at Villanova.

About the Luckow Family Endowed Chair in English

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. In particular, they established the Luckow Family Challenge with their daughter, Stefanie ’06 CLAS, a matching gift program that has supported more than 40 endowed scholarships across the University.

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.