English professor Jennifer Ruth's interest in China began when she and her husband adopted a daughter from China. Following the adoption, Dr. Ruth began to devour information concerning the relationship between China and Britain – the country whose Victorian period she specializes in – and the 19th and 20th century history of China during the late Ching dynasty.
Although Professor Ruth's accomplishments are varied, her most recent and perhaps most exciting is her trip to China as a Fulbright scholar. During her time there, she lectured on Michel Foucault and the concept of neoliberalism to students at Nanjing University, Maoming University, Ginling College, and Nankai University.
Professor Ruth's work in China followed the publishing of her book, Novel Professions, in 2006. Within the book, Professor Ruth explores the creation of a professional class in Victorian England by examining the literary works of Charlotte Bronte, Anthony Trollope, and Charles Dickens. She also uses examples from various novels to demonstrate how these authors aided in the advancement of concepts such as intellectual labor.
Professor Ruth's work on the professional led to an interest in her own profession, academia and the status of professors. She is concerned about the shrinking space for intellectual freedom in the classroom, in research, and in university governance as more and more faculty are not given the opportunity to earn tenure.
Professor Ruth plans to return to Beijing next summer and to continue her examination of the evolution of the relationship between China and Britain.
Jennifer Ruth, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English
Neuberger Hall M414