Penny Gill

Professor Emeritus of Politics
The European Union; European politics; political theory

Penny Gill taught European politics and comparative politics at Mount Holyoke for more than three decades. In 2001, the date of her thirtieth anniversary at MHC, Gill received the Mount Holyoke College Faculty Prize for Teaching. The citation noted Gill's "accessibility, concern for each student, love of her subject, and infinite patience," and also cited her instrumental role in organizing Pasts and Presences in the West, a yearlong, interdepartmental survey course for first-year students. The citation reads, in part, "Pasts and Presences testifies to Penny's passionate interest in pedagogy, in finding new ways to goad students into asking fundamental questions of themselves and their society while exposing them to a broad sweep of human experience."

Gill's research interests focused on the European Union, its relationship to the larger processes of globalization, and the processes of state formation in Brussels. She has published papers, among others, on several aspects of Norwegian politics, including the Labor Party, the recruitment of political leaders into the Norwegian elite, and the impact of protective legislation on women; Birgitta of Sweden; an oral history of a German-American immigrant woman; and the Rule of St. Benedict.

Gill participated in the Lyon Lecture series, speaking to groups of alumnae in Rochester and Minneapolis on "Globalization and Its Discontents," which is also the title of a new first-year seminar she began teaching in 2003. Gill has been actively involved in reshaping the first-year curriculum.

Following her graduate studies at Yale University in the 1960s, Gill went to Norway on a Fulbright Fellowship to research the Norwegian Labor Movement (1967–1968). She has made frequent trips to Britain, Scandinavia, and the continent since.

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