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Eckerle Earns Faculty Research Award

Julie Eckerle in her office
Jenna Ray
Publication date: 
March 19, 2018
  • On her own and with collaborators, this professor of English is changing what we know about women's lives and writing along with what we think about ourselves.
  • Research is vital to Eckerle and to her teaching.
  • Thought for the whole—the picture outside herself—is a touchstone of Eckerle's career.

Professor of English Julie Eckerle has earned the University of Minnesota, Morris Faculty Distinguished Research Award. On her own and with collaborators, Eckerle is changing what we know about women's lives and writing along with what we think about ourselves, our public personas, and the role of scholarly work at an undergraduate teaching institution.

"[Eckerle] is an internationally recognized scholar whose work is universally lauded...and is described as 'game changing','" notes the selection committee. "One of her books is used regularly both in classrooms and by scholars. Her service to her academic field is impressive, as is her commitment to engaging and collaborating with upcoming scholars."

A Pioneering Scholar

It's fitting that Eckerle, a scholar of Renaissance women's life writing, be the third woman to receive this award. She is, after all, casting light on lives that quite literally have been written into the margins of history. Her work shapes not only our sense of complex historical moments, but also of ourselves. Whether we write diaries or emails, letters or Tweets, we all engage in life writing. And an understanding of how people use words to represent themselves, Eckerle argues, helps us better see ourselves and whom we choose to be each day.

"In any given moment you're using language to construct a particular image of self, and that's an important thing to be aware of," she says. "Even though I'm looking at 16th and 17th century texts, the lesson is about the link between writing self and understanding self and presenting self: those lessons are useful every day of our lives as we learn to read language, even our own."

The Classroom Connection

Research is vital to Eckerle and to her teaching, as she believes the research ultimately benefits her students. Engagement in scholarly work energizes her. It also helps her build networks she can use to her students' advantages, for research opportunities or graduate school applications.

"I come of the school of thought that says the more active an individual is in his or her scholarship, the better teacher he or she can be," Eckerle says. "It's the interplay that makes what we do so effective here."

Women's Life Writing and Circles

Thought for the whole—the picture outside herself—is a touchstone of Eckerle's career. A collaborative scholar, she often partners with authors and editors: a move that is characteristic of the circles in which she moves and works. One of her models for this approach has been the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women, an international, interdisciplinary organization that supports female scholars as well as the study of early modern women, among other things.

"My career has involved a lot of collaborative writing and research, particularly within women's circles," says Eckerle. "I only got here because of the women I've worked with. Women need other women in this profession."

Eckerle is the 19th recipient of the Faculty Distinguished Research Award. She will accept her award at the UMM Faculty and Staff Recognition Dinner on April 26.

About Eckerle

Eckerle has taught English at Morris since 2007. She holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, a master of arts in English Literature from the University of Kentucky, and a bachelor of arts in English and journalism from Franklin College. Eckerle published Romancing the Self in Early Modern Englishwomen's Life Writing in 2013 and has co-edited Genre and Women's Life Writing in Early Modern England (2007) and Women's Life Writing and Early Modern Ireland (forthcoming 2019).

About the Faculty Distinguished Research Award

Established in 2000, the Faculty Distinguished Research Award recognizes sustained research and/or artistic productivity of a UMN Morris faculty member over the course of a career.