“Reflections on Diversity:” Highlights from the Eugene Chen Eoyang papers

“I began thinking about diversity in an almost visceral way.  It puzzled me why people forget their diverse origins time and time again…”

-Eugene Eoyang, The Coat of Many Colors: Reflections on Diversity by a Minority of One

Eugene Chen Eoyang is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and of East Asian Languages and Cultures and was a part of Indiana University for more than twenty years, teaching in both the Department of Comparative Literature and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures.

The Coat of Many Colors: Reflections on Diversity by a Minority of One, 1995

Born on February 8, 1939, in Hong Kong, Dr. Eoyang came to America at a young age with his family and attended school in New York.  He received his B.A. in English Literature from Harvard University in 1959, his M.A. with high distinction in English Literature from Columbia University in 1960, and his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Indiana University in 1971.

Dr. Eoyang worked as an editor at Doubleday & Company before coming to Indiana University in 1969, eventually becoming a Professor of Comparative Literature and of East Asian Languages and Cultures, as well as chair of the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department.  In 1985, he founded the East Asian Summer Language Institute at Indiana University, which he was director of for five years.  In addition, Dr. Eoyang is a former board member and chair of the Kinsey Institute, as well as Associate Dean for the Office of Research and Graduate Development at Indiana University.

Newspaper highlighting the publication of The Coat of Many Colors: Reflections on Diversity by a Minority of One, January 29, 1995

This Indiana University Archives exhibition, open through February 14, 2018, hosted by the Office of the Bicentennial, examines both the institutional teaching and personal research of Dr. Eoyang, highly focused on the areas of translation theory and practice, Chinese literature, Chinese-Western literary relations, globalization, cross-cultural studies, and literary theory.

Some of the items featured in this exhibit include photographs, presentation notecards, conference booklets, correspondence, conference papers, and book publications.  These materials will provide the viewer with an inside look into the diverse work and outreach of an internationally renowned scholar in the field of comparative literature and translations.

“If the rainbow has been part of American’s neglected past, and if it is the unrecognized backdrop for America’s present, it will also be a critical part of America’s future…The multicultural rainbow is in America’s past, present, and future.  The rainbow is no sentimental symbol: it is the American reality.”

-Eugene Eoyang, The Coat of Many Colors: Reflections on Diversity by a Minority of One

East Asian Summer Institute, Earlham College, undated; Pictured: Eugene Eoyang, third row from top, fifth from left

The entirety of the Eugene Chen Eoyang papers has been processed and can be viewed in person by appointment by contacting the IU Archives!  To learn more about this exhibition, refer to the brochure or view the exhibition in person at:

The Office of the Bicentennial

Franklin Hall 200

Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.; weekdays

601 E. Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405

New Finding Aid! Susan Gubar papers, 1975-2011

The distinguished feminist scholar and literary critic, Susan Gubar, retired last year as Distinguished Professor Emerita of English after teaching at IU for 37 years. The Susan Gubar papers have been processed and the collection is now available for research.

Susan Gubar with a copy of The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women: The English Tradition, 1986.

The Gubar papers cover a wide range of topics which are often interwoven: feminist theory, gender politics, literary theory and criticism, fashion studies, science fiction studies, race studies, film studies, Holocaust studies, and the importance of Judas in the history of Western civilization. Nearly all of her published work is represented in the collection, including copies of her books, articles from obscure publications to the well-known, and foreign language versions of her work.

The collection provides insight into the development of the women’s movement through the late 1970s to the present. A substantial number of clippings represent the response to Gubar’s work from a wide range of sources. The reviews and letters show changing attitudes towards the women’s movement and illustrate the impact of Gubar’s work.

Among correspondence with colleagues and friends, the Important Papers and Valuable Letters folders include letters from celebrated writers, such as Carolyn Heilbrun, Ursula Leguin, Toni Morrison, and Adrienne Rich. There are several exchanges with Sandra M. Gilbert, Gubar’s long-time collaborator and friend. One poignant letter is from Erica Jong, who described being moved to tears by the publication of The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women: The Tradition in English because it would have been unthinkable for such a book to exist when she was a student. Jong wrote that the anthology “represents the triumph of the movement in a special way. It means that our collective vision now enters the academy as a presence, a force, a named thing. (It is named; therefore it exists.)”

Poem by Ursula Leguin for Susan Gubar and Sandra M. Gilbert, 1985.
Another unique item is a poem written by Ursula Leguin for Susan Gubar and Sandra M. Gilbert in 1985, upon the publication of The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women: The Tradition in English. It reads:


O Gilbert and Gubar
O Gubert and Gilbar
O Sandra and Susan
O Sansan and Sudra
I chant you this mudra
I love you forilbert
for putting togubar
the Norton Antholo
or Anthony Nortolog
of literatilbert
of gubarature
by women by women
from cover to cover
I read her I love her
the trenglish addition
by women by women
by you and by me and by her and by us and by God
it is wonderful
wonderful we are
and you are O you are
O Gilbert O Gubar!

Exuberance radiates from the Gubar papers, particularly from her work as an educator. From documents concerning the organization of conference panels and lecture series it is easy to sense the excitement generated by the exchange of ideas. A number of publications in the collection include observations and notes made by Gubar in the margins. The collection makes evident the boundless scope of Gubar’s interests and also how much she considered and valued what others produced, whether they were colleagues in the field or individuals outside the academic community.

If you want to learn more about the Susan Gubar papers, please refer to the finding aid and contact the IU Archives!