Citation for Marjorie Garber
Presented by Sue E. Houchins, associate professor of African American studies, for the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters
President Hansen, I am honored to present Marjorie Garber.
At Bates, we seek to cultivate in our students a capacity for critical assessment and humanistic understanding. Today we recognize a scholar whose incisive observations bridge the boundaries of the literary canon and contemporary popular culture.
Marjorie Garber’s literary scholarship and criticism have made her an essential resource for the study of William Shakespeare. In four books she examines the life and works of Shakespeare through the lenses of dreams, gender, sexuality, and cultural representation as she considers the reasons why Shakespeare, more than any other writer in the English language, has endured across the centuries. In her masterful book, Shakespeare After All, Professor Garber offers scholars and general readers alike a comprehensive and eminently readable study of all of Shakespeare’s thirty-eight plays.
Professor Garber’s work is not confined to the Elizabethan Age. She has written important works of cultural criticism that draw upon her prodigious intellectual acumen. These works, which always hark back to language and literature as the foundations of culture, include insightful and provocative studies on cross-dressing, bisexuality, and home ownership as a metaphor for love and sex. In her book on bisexuality, she challenges the prevailing paradigm of sexual identity. She has also written penetrating critiques of academic culture, the organization of the disciplines, exploring the directions knowledge will take as we seek to more fully understand our world.
For her lucid and erudite scholarship, and for her belief that all aspects of culture deserve and need the scholar’s careful consideration, I present Marjorie Garber for the degree Doctor of Humane Letters.
Marjorie Garber, you are a true public intellectual, and your wide-ranging cultural explorations reveal an original and learned mind.
Therefore, by the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees, I hereby confer upon you the Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities which here and everywhere pertain to this degree.