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William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Religious Studies
She was named the first R. Jean Brownlee Endowed Term Professor in the School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Matter is a Lindback Award-winning teacher and a widely published scholar whose work encompasses both the history of the interpretation of the Bible from the Middle Ages to the present, and studies of women in early modern Italy. Her books include Mind Matters: Studies of Medieval and Early Modern Intellectual History in Honour of Marcia Colish, edited with Cary J. Nederman and Nancy Van Deusen (Brepols, 2009); Law and the Illicit in Medieval Society (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), edited with Ruth Mazo Karras and Joe Kaye; Creative Women in Medieval and Early Modern Italy (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994) edited with John Coakley; The Voice of My Beloved: The Song of Songs in Western Medieval Christianity (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990). She is also known for her critical edition of Paschasii Radiberti's De partu Virginis (1985) and is the author of numerous articles and chapters in journals and books published here and abroad. A 1971 alumna of Oberlin College, Dr. Matter took both M.Phil. and M.A. degrees at Yale in 1975, and her Ph.D. there a year later. She joined Penn in 1976 as an assistant professor, became associate professor in 1982, and was promoted to full professor in 1990. Among her other prizes have been Yale's Whiting Fellowship for the Humanities, 1975-76, and two National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowships, held in 1979 and 1988. Another major assignment Dr. Matter held at Penn was to direct the Women's Studies Program in 1981-83 and during that time to interview, for the Program's Oral History Project, two women who helped shape women's presence at the University: Dr. Althea Hottel and Dr. R. Jean Brownlee.