Peel, Ellen 1951-

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Peel, Ellen 1951-


Born 1951. Education: Radcliffe College, Harvard University, A.B., 1973; Yale University, M.Phil., 1979, Ph.D., 1982. Attended the Goethe Institute, Staufen, Germany, 1979.


Office—San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave., San Francisco, CA 94132. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, literary scholar, and educator. University of Cincinnati, assistant professor, 1983-89, associate professor, 1989; San Francisco State University, assistant professor, 1990-92, associate professor, 1992-99, professor, 1999—. University of California, Berkeley, Bain Research Group, affiliated scholar, 1995; Institute for Research on Women and gender, visiting scholar, 1995, 2001-02. Cambridge Computer Associates, Cambridge, MA, technical writer and editor, 1973-75. Presenter and lecturer at panels, academic conferences, and symposia. Massachusetts Feminist Federal Credit Union, cofounder and publications editor, 1974-75.


Modern Language Association, International Comparative Literature Association, American Comparative Literature Association, Women's Caucus in the Modern Languages, Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association, Société des Études Staëliennes, Doris Lessing Society, Phi Sigma Iota (International Foreign Language Honor Society), Phi Beta Kappa.


University of Cincinnati, University Research Council Travel Grant, 1984, 1986, and 1988, and Taft Grant, 1984-85; San Francisco State University, Research and Professional Development Award, 1991, and Affirmative Action Faculty Development Award, 1992;


Politics, Persuasion, and Pragmatism: A Rhetoric of Feminist Utopian Fiction, Ohio State University Press (Columbus, OH), 2002.

Contributor to books, including Feminism, Utopia, and Narrative, edited by Libby Falk Jones and Sarah Webster Goodwin, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1990; Approaches to Teaching Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji, edited by Edward Kamens, Modern Language Association (New York, NY), 1993; Women of Other Worlds: Excursions through Science Fiction and Feminism, edited by Helen Merrick and Tess Williams, University of Western Australia Press (Nedlands, Western Australia), 1999; and He Said, She Says: An RSVP to the Male Text, edited by Mica Howe and Sara Aguiar, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (Madison, NJ), 2001.

Contributor to journals and periodicals, including Reader, American Literature, Twentieth Century Literature, Critique, Doris Lessing Newsletter, Comparative Literature Studies, Let's Go: Europe, Harvard Independent, and Cincinnati Romance Review.

Second Wave (a feminist periodical), staff writer and editor, 1974-75.

Essay reviewer for periodicals, including PMLA, Studies in the Novel, LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory, and National Women's Studies Association Journal, 1990-2002.


Writer and literary scholar Ellen Peel is professor of comparative literature, world literature, and English at San Francisco State University. She is a prolific contributor to books and periodicals, as well as a frequent presenter of papers and academic works at conferences and symposia. As a scholar, she specializes in eighteenth and nineteenth-century fiction from France and England; in twentieth-century fiction from England and the United States; in literary theory and criticism, with an additional focus on narrative, feminist, psychoanalytic, reader response; in women's literature; in science fiction and utopian literature; and surveys of Western and world literature, according to her curriculum vitae on the San Francisco State University Web site.

In Politics, Persuasion, and Pragmatism: A Rhetoric of Feminist Utopian Fiction, Peel "sets out to examine the techniques of persuasion used in feminist utopian fiction and, in particular, the rhetorical devices employed" to direct readers toward feminist thought, even without their full awareness that they are being steered toward exposure and acceptance of such ideas, commented Chris Ferns in Utopian Studies. She pays particular attention to three feminist utopian narratives: Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness, Monique Wittig's Les Guérillères, and Doris Lessing's The Marriages between Zones Three, Four, and Five. Though Peel favors the type of feminist persuasion she identifies in her study, she acknowledges that some might find the exposure of the techniques unwelcome or a betrayal of the feminist cause. She willingly accepts the risks inherent in the book, Ferns reported, noting that "since studying such techniques may assist in both the reading and writing of feminist fiction, it is seen as a risk worth taking."



American Literature, September, 2005, Kenneth M. Roemer, "Astrofuturism: Science, Race, and Visions of Utopia in Space," review of Politics, Persuasion, and Pragmatism: A Rhetoric of Feminist Utopian Fiction, p. 646.

Comparative Literature Studies, summer, 2005, Erin McKenna, review of Politics, Persuasion, and Pragmatism, p. 246.

Modern Philology, November, 2005, Marleen S. Barr, review of Politics, Persuasion, and Pragmatism, p. 291.

Utopian Studies, winter, 2006, Chris Ferns, review of Politics, Persuasion, and Pragmatism, p. 254.


San Francisco State University Web site, (July 16, 2008), author curriculum vitae.