English's Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina Named 2023-2024 UMass Amherst Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellow
Paul Murray Kendall Chair in Biography and Professor of English Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina has been named one of three recipients of the 2023-2024 Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowship Awards.
The fellowship provides tenured professors with an opportunity to focus on their research or creative activities with a one-year release from teaching and service duties in addition to a $3,500 cash award from the office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement. Conti fellows are chosen based on their record of outstanding accomplishments in research and creative activity and on their potential for continued excellence.
An internationally acclaimed scholar widely known for her involvement in British literary and cultural studies, Holbrook Gerzina's award-winning work often explores forgotten lives, reaching beyond the field of literary studies and has made significant contributions to scholarship in history, art history, and African American studies.
Holbrook Gerzina has dedicated her career to illuminating the lives of others as the author or editor of nine influential books, with two more in progress. Her work, which is both exacting and visionary, brings to light unknown facets of the lives of well-known figures as well as the lives of those overlooked by history.
“I’m fascinated by people’s lives and how they lived them,” she says in a 2021 interview that highlighted her as a UMass Amherst Spotlight Scholar.
Her prowess is widely acknowledged: Holbrook Gerzina has received a Fulbright Scholar award and two National Endowment for the Humanities grants. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017 and to the American Antiquarian Society in 2019, and is in demand as a speaker, panelist, and podcaster in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Her recent UMass Amherst honors include recognition as a 2022-23 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer and a 2021 Spotlight Scholar.
Most recently, an updated edition of her book Black London was published in the U.K. under the new title "Black England: A Forgotten Georgian History," with a foreword by Zadie Smith.