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Judith C. Brown
(? - living) U.S.A.

Judith C. Brown



Judith C. Brown, former dean of the School of Humanities and professor of history at Rice University, is vice president for academic affairs and provost at Wesleyan University. She serves as Wesleyan's chief academic officer, providing intellectual leadership to implement its strategies in all areas of teaching and scholarship. She oversees policy, budget and personnel matters within Academic Affairs, which in turn oversees the work of Wesleyan's various academic and co-curricular units.

At Rice, Brown has played a leading role in formulating the university's strategic plan, as well as in library and space planning. As dean of the School of Humanities, she worked to support the internationalization of curriculum, as well as to improve the quality and funding of graduate programs. She expanded the mission and the financial base of Rice's Center for the Study of Cultures, which promotes interdisciplinary research, and established programs to sponsor the appointment of postdoctoral scholars and distinguished visiting scholars. In 1997 Brown founded a Center for the Study of Languages to encourage innovative approaches to language education, expand opportunities for language learning across the curriculum, and increase students' participation in study and work abroad.

Brown received her B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of California at Berkeley in 1968 and 1971, respectively, before earning her Ph.D. in history from the Johns Hopkins University in 1977. She was appointed assistant professor of history at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, and in 1982 she went to Stanford, where she was promoted to tenure in 1985 and to full professor in 1991. She went to Rice in 1995 as dean of the School of the Humanities, as well as Allyn and Gladys Cline Professor of History.

Brown's own scholarship primarily concerns the culture and society of Renaissance Italy. Her first book, In the Shadow of Florence: Provincial Society in Renaissance Pescia (1982) explores the social, economic and political effects of Florentine imperialism. Her second book, Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy (Oxford University Press, 1986, subsequently translated into nine languages), investigates attitudes toward gender and sexuality using an early, documented case that began as an ecclesiastical inquiry into a nun's claims of mystical experiences, including the appearance of the stigmata. Brown is currently at work on a study of "The Political Economy of Cosimo de Medici I," the first grand duke of Tuscany and a patron of the arts who built the Uffizi palace to consolidate his government's offices.


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