Inaugural Lynda S. Hart Teaching Awardees

May 1, 2020

The Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program, together with the Alice Paul Center, are pleased to announce the inaugural winners of the Lynda S. Hart Teaching Award: Sophie Hochhäusl (faculty) and Davy Knittle (graduate student). These awards are named in honor of Penn Professor of English Lynda Hart, who taught the first queer theory course at Penn, “Feminist Theory: Queering the Literary: Theories and Fictions,” in 1995.

The Lynda Hart Teaching Award recognizes teachers who have cultivated a learning environment that facilitates, encourages, and engages feminist critique and who prioritize inclusive classroom practices. The inaugural winners exemplify the mission of GSWS: to cultivate an inclusive learning environment that values and prioritizes inclusion, equity, and diversity through research, teaching, advocacy, activism, and community engagement, and to create a space that is affirming of all identities, including trans and non-binary identities.

Sophie Hochhäusl is an Assistant Professor for Architectural History and Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining the Faculty at Penn she was the Frieda L. Miller Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Sophie is interested in the discourse on collectivity, dissent, and difference in architecture. Her scholarly work centers on modern architecture and urban culture in Austria, Germany, and the United States with a focus on intersectional feminism and gender studies, spatial histories of dissidence, labor theory, and environmental history. 

The committee was impressed by Sophie's unique and much-needed interventions in the field of architecture concerning the inclusion of feminist, queer, and trans theory and the subversion of antiquated modes of assessment predicated on mastery and genius. Sophie's pedagogical practice to encourage her students to "speak into evidence" facilitates thoughtful discourse that draws on a range of multidisciplinary and creative methods and recognizes the lived experiences of students as a source of knowledge. Congratulations, Sophie! 

Davy Knittle is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in English who works in the fields of feminist, queer, and trans theory, environmental humanities, and multiethnic U.S. writing. His dissertation, "Queer with the City: Race, Environment, and the Poetics of Urban Change," uses literary accounts of gender, sexuality, and kinship as lenses for reading the relationship between natural and built environments in the globalizing U.S. city. His critical work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in Women's Studies Quarterly, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Planning Perspectives, and Modern Language Studies.

The committee was struck by how each of Davy's two nominators emphasized the creativity he brings to the classroom by drawing on multidisciplinary topics and methods, his dedication to mentoring students outside of the classroom, and his commitment to making the classroom a site of radical inclusion. Drawing on in-depth of knowledge of feminist scholarship, queer and trans theory, disability studies, and the environmental humanities, Davy practices intellectual generosity that invites engagement from students across disciplinary boundaries. Congratulations, Davy!