Professor Julie Andresen Tetel Becomes Professor Emerita of English

Beginning with the new school year Professor Julie Andresen Tetel transitioned to Professor Emerita of English with the Duke English Department.   Professor Tetel initially joined the Duke English Department faculty as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in 1987.    

Tetel completed her undergraduate degree right here at Duke University before attending the University of Illinois – Urban Champaign for her M.A.  Professor Tetel received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Between 1985 and 1997 she published sixteen historical novels with mass-market publishers. In 1997 she founded her own publishing company, with two imprints: Generation Books (non-fiction) and Madeira Books (fiction).  In 2005 she was the recipient of the Traditional Fulbright Scholarship, Council for International Exchange of Scholars Award. During her tenure at Duke, Tetel has not only taught in the English Department but also for Duke Linguistics and Cultural Anthropology.  She served as the director of Duke Linguistics from 2006-09.  

When asked about her time with the Duke English: “I can say that I always loved my students and colleagues at Duke and had a consistent sense that I was very privileged to be working there. The scholarship I accomplished, in particular, Linguistics and Evolution. A Development Approach (Cambridge University Press) and Languages in the World. How History, Culture, and Politics Shape Language (Wiley Blackwell) could only have been undertaken in a university setting that gave me such freedom.” 

To quote English Professor Melissa Malouf, “This is true: a conversation with Julie is like a blood transfusion or the best kind of mind-f**k. “

One of Prof. Julie Tetel Andresen’s students, 2019 English graduate, Glenn Huang, shared the following about his time as one of her students “I had Julie for two courses during my time at Duke: ENG290S: Writing the Novel, and ENG204: English Historical Linguistics. She also served as my advisor for my distinction project.  Throughout my time studying with Julie, what always struck me was her ability to empathize and understand. Specifically, in my work writing fiction, both in our creative writing class and in my creative distinction project, she was, from a dozen pages of writing and a haphazardly worded explanation, able to understand my intentions and goals with each character whether or not those intentions had made their way onto the page. She was able to quickly and easily see my vision and push me to better convey that vision to my readers.

Beyond just understanding what I wanted, Julie also had a knack for empathizing with my characters in a way that even I couldn’t, despite having created them. Our conversations during the year I wrote my thesis often revolved around uncovering hidden motivations and qualities in my characters that they had seemingly developed without me. I couldn’t always see them, but Julie could. 

Outside of academics, Julie was also a great supporter and mentor. My senior year, she encouraged me to choose not a corporate career, not even a career in our shared field of English, but as an elementary school teacher, something I knew in my heart that I wanted but was feeling very nervous about committing to. Duke would not have been Duke to me without her, I would not be me without her.”

In May of 2015, Professor Tetel was featured in the DukeToday series “Take Note” for her expertise in the study of languages. In the article “Vanishing Languages” address the fact that the number of languages is dissolving globally.  In this article she speaks of the importance of languages:  “Languages tells us about biology, our sociology, our environment.”   In the Fall of 2015, the book “Languages in the World: How History, Culture and Politics Shape Language” which she co-authored with Phillip Carter was released and the authors donated all profits to the Endangered Language Fund which works to conserve languages that are on the verge of extinction.

Right before the release of her 25th romance novel "Love After All" in 2016, Professor Julie Tetel contributed an article to the February 15 edition of Salon, “Virgins and heroes:  It took a while, but romance novels finally learned that no means no” in this article Professor Tetel takes a look at how romance novels picture love, women, and sex.  For those who do not know Tetel has published twenty-five historical and contemporary novels with her first fiction novel being published in 1985, "My Lord Roland".

Duke English Professor Dominika Baran reflects on how Professor Tetel has influenced her teaching and thinking styles: “Julie has been a tremendous influence on my thinking about both teaching and writing, and about the connections between teaching and research. Julie often said that she would design courses based on what she wanted to learn about, directions in which she wanted to expand her expertise and research interests. This fed into her work as she would discover new interdisciplinary connections, and it also allowed her to engage in the learning process with her students more immediately. I have often thought about this as I consider designing new courses. Julie has taught me to explore new topics in the classroom, and to bring my research into the classroom and allow myself to learn from that process.” 

The English Department will forever be grateful for Professor’s Tetel’s contributions to the department and look forward to following her and her future works.  However, she is not done sharing her wisdom with today’s youth, this academic year 2019-2020, she will a Visiting Professor at Florida International University, in Miami, FL. 

 “Once again, I feel a great privilege to be teaching in this new setting ”.  – Professor Julie Andresen Tetel