CLAS names Professor Claire Sponsler the M. F. Carpenter Professor in English

Apr 10, 2015

SponslerDean Chaden Djalali of the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has announced the naming of Professor Claire Sponsler as the M. F. Carpenter Professor in English.

"I am very happy to announce the appointment of Professor Sponsler to the M. F. Carpenter Professorship," Djalali said. "Her contributions to our college and university, and to her discipline on a national and international level, are extraordinary and make her very deserving of this recognition."

Sponsler’s work centers on medieval literature, with a special interest in the overlapping areas of book history, performance, and cultural studies. Her books include The Queen’s Dumbshows: John Lydgate and the Making of Early Theater (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014); John Lydgate: Mummings and Entertainments (Middle English Texts Series, 2010); Ritual Imports: Performing Medieval Drama in America(Cornell University Press, 2004), which won the Barnard Hewitt prize from the American Society for Theatre Research; East of West: Crosscultural Performance and the Staging of Difference (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000; co-edited with Xiaomei Chen); and Drama and Resistance (Minnesota University Press, 1997). She has also written numerous articles and reviews. Sponsler directed a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Institute on “Ritual and Ceremony from Late Medieval Europe to Early America” at the Folger Shakespeare Library in the summer of 2010. Her research has been supported by an NEH Fellowship and other grants and awards, including a 2013-14 National Humanities Center Fellowship. She has taught at the George Washington University and the Bread Loaf School of English and is a former chair of the Department of English.

The Carpenter Professorship was established with funds donated to the University of Iowa Foundation by the late Millington F. Carpenter, who earned a doctoral degree in English from Iowa in 1924. Carpenter was for many years an English instructor in the University High School on the University of Iowa campus, and rose to associate professor and head of English at that school. In 1950, he began teaching literature in what was then known as the College of Liberal Arts, and retired in 1957. The Millington F. Carpenter Professorship in English was established in 1963; Carpenter died in 1967. 


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa is a comprehensive college comprising the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. More than 16,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students study each year in the College’s 39 departments, led by professors at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all UI undergraduates through the General Education Program, and confers about 70 percent of the UI's bachelor's degrees each academic year.