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Mary Louise Pratt

professor, social and cultural analysis, Spanish, NYU

Mary Louise Pratt received her B.A. in Modern Languages and Literatures from the University ofToronto in 1970, her M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1971, and her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Stanford University in 1975. Pratt has received numerous honors and awards during her 27 years in academia including Guggenheim Fellowships, Pew Foundation Fellowships, and NEH grants. She served as the President of the Modern Language Association in 2003. Pratt's arc of expertise extends through Latin American Literature and Latin American Studies, into comparative literature, linguistics, postcolonial studies, feminist and gender studies, anthropology and cultural studies. Her seminal publications within these disciplines include: Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (1992), an explanation on the discursive formation of Latin America and Africa as formulated by metropolitan writers; it has been called one of the most widely influential works of the last decade. Her other publications include the article "Humanities for the Future: Reflections of the Stanford Western Culture Debate," which was reprinted three times. Another article, "Arts of the Contact Zone" had nine reprints and has been dubbed a contemporary classic by scholars within the field. Her 1977 single authored text, Toward a Speech Act Theory of Literary Discourse established Pratt as leader in the field of culture criticism. Professor Pratt's most recent work as a critic and scholar broach the most vital and important questions shaping the present and the future of humanities, in specific, Pratt stresses the dynamic relations between high culture and popular movements, between gendered narratives and official legends, between national politics and global markets. She is a firmly grounded Latin Americanist, comparatist and linguist with an interdisciplinary and imaginative breadth of knowledge.