Susan Rubin Suleiman is the C. Douglas Dillon Professor of the Civilization of France and professor of comparative literature at Harvard University. She has published books and articles on contemporary literature and culture, as well as poetry and autobiographical works. For the past few years, her work has focused on personal and collective memory and history, especially of World War II and the Holocaust. Her new book Crises of Memory and the Second World War will be published by Harvard University Press in 2006.
At the Radcliffe Institute, Suleiman will work on a new project—sparked by her forthcoming book—that will be devoted exclusively to the problem of childhood trauma. Suleiman will discuss work by writers, filmmakers, and visual artists in Europe, Israel, and the United States and will also conduct personal interviews with child survivors of the Holocaust who have engaged in significant artistic work. The broad theoretical frame and multidisciplinary approach of the study should also be applicable to other instances of historical trauma experienced in childhood.
Suleiman obtained a BA from Barnard College and a PhD from Harvard. Suleiman has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a Rockefeller Resident Fellowship in the Humanities and the Study of Culture, and several National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships. In 1992, she was decorated by the French government as an officer of the Order of Academic Palms (Palmes Académiques). She has served as an elected member of the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association and as vice president and president of the American Comparative Literature Association.