Epps Leaves Romance Studies, WGS for Cambridge

Professor Bradley S. Epps, director of undergraduate studies in romance studies and director of graduate studies in women, gender, and sexuality, will leave Harvard next year to chair the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Cambridge University starting in 2013.

Epps said that he was elated to be elected to the position.

“It is a very respected chair, arguably one of the most in Hispanism, my discipline,” he said.

He cited his academic passion for Spanish as the primary reason for his forthcoming departure and said that after 21 years of teaching at Harvard, “it’s a good time for me to face new challenges.”

Epps, who formerly chaired the WGS department, teaches classes in the disciplines of both romance studies and WGS, but will focus more closely on Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan at Cambridge.

“I will indeed be going back to my first love, my base, which is Spanish literature and culture,” he said.

Susan R. Suleiman, acting chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, said that she “feel[s] extremely sad that he’s leaving us but full of congratulations and pleasure that he got this prestigious position.”

According to Suleiman, Epps is a “charismatic teacher” who was “singlehandedly” responsible for bringing Catalan to greater prominence in the department. In addition, Epps spearheaded the creation of the romance studies concentration track, where students can combine studies in two or three romance languages. His academic interests include 19th and 20th century Spanish and Latin American language, culture, and urban studies, and recently, he has conducted substantial research on Spanish cinema and visual arts.

“He has been an outstanding citizen of the department,” Suleiman said, calling Epps a “prolific scholar.”

Although he said he is excited to be a short plane ride away from Spain, Epps said he will miss the close interactions he had with students at Harvard.

“I love my students, my undergraduates and my graduates,“ Epps said.

Itziar Rodriguez de Rivera, who has taken several classes, including an independent study, with Epps and is currently one of his dissertation advisees, said that Epps is “very approachable” and “very enthusiastic.”

“He puts a lot of passion into his work,” she said.

—Staff writer Nikita Kansra can be reached at nkansra01@college.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Sabrina A. Mohamed can be reached at smohamed@college.harvard.edu.

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