University of Pittsburgh
December 10, 2006

Two Pitt English Professors Win Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize From the Modern Language Association

This is the second consecutive year Pitt faculty have won this prestigious award; Pitt is the only university ever to have back-to-back winners Honor to be bestowed Dec. 28 for their book, "Archives of Instruction: Nineteenth-Century Rhetorics, Readers, and Composition Books in the United States"
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PITTSBURGH-Jean Ferguson Carr and Stephen L. Carr, associate professors in the University of Pittsburgh Department of English, and their coauthor Lucille M. Schultz, professor of English at the University of Cincinnati, will receive the 26th annual Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize from the Modern Language Association (MLA) of America for their book, "Archives of Instruction: Nineteenth-Century Rhetorics, Readers, and Composition Books in the United States" (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005). The Carrs and their colleague will be recognized at the MLA's annual convention Dec. 28 in Philadelphia.

This is the second consecutive year a Pitt faculty member has won the Shaughnessy Prize; Pitt is the only university ever to have back-to-back winners. Last year Pitt Professor of English David Bartholomae, chair of the Department of English in Pitt's School of Arts and Sciences, received the award, which recognizes outstanding work in the fields of language, culture, literacy, or literature with strong application to the teaching of English.

"That Pitt faculty members have won the prestigious Shaughnessy Prize two years in a row reflects our English department's national reputation for excellence," said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. "Professors Jean Ferguson Carr and Stephen Carr hold distinguished records of University service. Both have made significant contributions to their fields, and now both have been recognized for their scholarship and collaborative methodology in 'Archives of Instruction,' a work made possible, in part, by our own University's historic John A. Nietz collection of 19th century American schoolbooks. We are fortunate that Jean and Stephen have made Pitt their professional home, and we congratulate them for their outstanding work."

"I am delighted that Stephen, Jean, and their coauthor have received this premier recognition," said N. John Cooper, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. "I am especially pleased by the value that this recognition places on the research by Jean and Stephen into historical reading practices in the United States. Such research makes an important contribution to the debate on how to teach students to write effectively."

The selection committee noted in its choice of "Archives of Instruction" that "few are willing or able to conduct serious and exhaustive research into textbooks…. This book helps us situate our practices historically, offering insights into how both theory and practice have evolved and…how our pedagogical practices…affect our students."

Ferguson Carr, who has been a director of Pitt's composition program, teaches courses in 19th-century American literature and literacy, composition and pedagogy, history of the book, and women's studies. She coedits the University of Pittsburgh Press' Pittsburgh Series in Composition, Literacy, and Culture.

Ferguson Carr, who said the research for "Archives of Instruction" was enhanced by the Hillman Library Nietz American textbook collection of more than 16,000 textbooks, is a faculty advisor for 19th-Century American Schoolbooks-the digital archive featuring 140 books online, hosted by Pitt's Digital Research Library.

The textual coeditor of "The Collected Works of R.W. Emerson," Vol. II and III (Harvard University Press, 1979, 1983), Ferguson Carr also has published essays on Dickens, Jane Austen, autobiography, 19th-century women writers, and literacy.

She is one of the first women to graduate from Williams College and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, receiving the Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She earned the Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees in English at the University of Michigan. Among Ferguson Carr's honors are the Florence Howe Prize in Feminist Scholarship and Pitt's Chancellor's Diversity Award.

Carr teaches courses in literature and composition that focus on issues of literacy, literary education, and the interrelationships of literature and the arts across the 18th and 19th centuries. He has served as director of Pitt's literature program, acting chair of the English department, and on various University committees.

Carr's "The Circulation of Blair's Lectures" appeared in "Rhetoric Scholarly Quarterly"(Brigham Young University Department of English, 2002). His early work on William Blake's illuminated printing has developed into research in the cultural circulation of texts, access to print culture, and the history of the book.

He received the Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Williams College, where he also was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He earned the Master of Arts degree in English and the Ph.D. degree in English language and literature at the University of Michigan.

The MLA, the largest and one of the oldest American learned societies in the humanities (est. 1883), promotes the advancement of literary and linguistic studies. The Shaughnessy Prize was established by action of the MLA Executive Council in 1979 as a memorial to one of the most widely respected scholars and teachers in the field of writing.