Ph.D., Univ. of California, Berkeley (1985)
M.A., Univ. of California, Berkeley (1978)
B.A., Harvard Univ. (1976)
Barbara M. Benedict, who was raised in Mauritius, London, the Seychelles, and Berkeley, earned her B.A. cum laude in British History and Literature from Harvard University, and her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. Hired at Trinity College in 1984, she acted as Departmental Chair for five years, and now holds an endowed College Chair as the Charles A. Dana Professor of English. For Professor Benedict, literature is a variegated, rich, complex triumph of imagination and artistry, asking for both close attention and wide context. Teaching, similarly, is an art that commands the teacher to give personal attention to each student’s insights, while also painting a vivid picture of literary history. Her pedagogy thus blends class discussions of texts in detail with lectures and varied writing assignments that include free-ranging research into history and culture. For Professor Benedict, literature best unfolds its beauty and meaning for students when understood as the achievement of a cultural instant that reaches out to all human experience.