Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a Pulitzer Prize-winning professor currently teaching at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), was offered a joint professorship in the women's studies committee and the history department last week.
Ulrich said yesterday that she does not know whether she will accept the appointment but plans to make a decision within the next two weeks.
She said she is not sure whether she wants to leave a "very pleasant and comfortable environment" which she has "built over a period of years" at UNH.
If Ulrich accepts the appointment she would be the first female Americanist ever tenured in the history department.
She would ideally come to Harvard next fall if she decides to take the position, history department Chair, Thomas N. Bisson said yesterday.
"She's a really brilliant scholar, the greatest historian of women in her generation," said Associate Professes, of History Ellen Fitzpatrick, who teaches History 1602, "American Women's History."
"It couldn't be a better thing," Fitzpatrick added. "Students love
If she came Ulrich would likely teach Women's Studies 10a, "Roots of Feminism," said Juliet Schor, the head tutor of the women's studies committee.
"The implications are very positive," Schor said. "History is a central discipline in women's studies, and we have long wanted to have an American historian" in women's studies.
Bisson lauded Ulrich's reputation as a teacher and scholar.
"We think this would be a very good, strong appointment," he said.
"We need more teaching in early American history and more teaching of women's history."
"She's a very talented historian," Bisson added.
"She has won many prizes for her books. She is a very creative and imaginative scholar. We believe she brings those qualities to her teaching."
Ulrich won a Pulitzer Prize for her 1990 book A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812. She specializes in American the social history before 1820, especially the social history of New England