Advertisement

Afro-Am Signs on Author, Jazz Artist

Kincaid, Davis to Come Next Year

As part of an effort to boost the size and diversity of the Afro-American Studies faculty, author Jamaica Kincaid and jazz musician and composer Anthony Davis will come to Harvard next year as visiting professors, department chair Henry Louis Gates Jr. said yesterday.

Kincaid, author of At The Bottom of the River and Lucy, will teach for both the English Department and the Afro-American Studies Department, said Gates, who is DuBois professor of the humanities. Davis, who composed the opera "X" about the life and times of Malcolm X, will teach for the Music Department and the Afro-American Studies Department, Gates said.

Gates added that the DuBois Institute has offered an year-long fellowship to Stanford Professor George M. Frederickson, author of The Arrogance of Race and The Black Image in the White Mind.

These short-term offers come at the same time the Afro-Am department begins searching for scholars to fill two tenured posts. Gates said two other departments will jointly sponsor these positions.

The Afro-Am department is seeking a scholar who will teach African literature in conjunction with the Comparative Literature Department, according to Gates. A second professor, affiliated with the Divinity School, will teach religion and history.

Gates said that while both searches are in their initial stages, he hopes that professors will be appointed by next January.

Noting the advantages of sharing professors between departments, Gates said he hopes Afro-Am will make junior and senior appointments in the near future with the History Department, the Music Department and the Fine Arts Department.

With joint offers, "we can make twice as many," Gates said.

Each joint appointment takes up only half ofeach slot that the department is allotted forfull-time faculty members.

Gates also pointed out that faculty memberswith affiliations in other departments andgraduate schools will help integrate the Afro-Amdepartment with the rest of the University.

"I see Afro-American studies as central to theFaculty of Arts and Sciences, not marginal orperipheral to it," he said.

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences JeremyR. Knowles said he agrees with Gates' strategy forstaffing the Afro-Am department. Knowles said itis "very sensible to maximize the effectiveness ofthe department....It will create amulti-disciplinary department."

Gates said he and Afro-Am Head Tutor K. AnthonyAppiah are trying to find ways of sharingintellectual resources, from cross-listing coursesto making joint appointments.

"We are always looking for courses to listbelow the line," said Appiah, who is professor ofAfro-American studies.

Gates said he wants the Afro-Am department toaddress two sets of intellectual interests:comparative African and African-American studies,and comparative American and African-Americanstudies.

He said this material makes the department'sfocus different from those of "some of the morewell-known Afrocentrists, some of whom also have atendency toward anti Semitism."

"These are the people whom our work critiques,"Gates said.

In addition, Gates said the appointment of moreAfro-Am affiliated professors will help theUniversity achieve greater diversity among itsfaculty.

"The new administrators are deeply committed tomaking it possible for departments to make thesekinds of appointments, throughout the college andthrough Afro-American studies," he said

Advertisement