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Vol.24, No. 01 Sept. 4, 1998

British Author Caryl Phillips Joins Barnard College Faculty

Caryl Phillips, the award-winning British writer and literary scholar, whose prodigious body of work "maps the psyche of Western culture"--as one critic said--has been appointed the Henry R. Luce Professor of Migration and Social Order at Barnard College in New York City.

A novelist, playwright, screenwriter and reviewer, Professor Phillips joins the College's Department of English to teach creative writing and contemporary British fiction. Professor Phillips--whose own work explores such universal themes as colonialism, racism, rootlessness and identity--will lead Barnard's interdisciplinary programming efforts on diasporas and the social consequences of migration.

"It gives me great pleasure to welcome Caryl Phillips to Barnard," said Barnard College President Judith R. Shapiro. "I am grateful, too, to The Henry Luce Foundation for making his appointment possible.

"Professor Phillips joins us at a particularly fortunate moment," she said, "for Barnard's own commitment to the important and complex subject of migration can already be seen by the distinctive work being conducted by members of our faculty--across the entire curriculum. I am confident that as a highly regarded writer and well-known public intellectual, Professor Phillips will add both focus and great excitement to this strong foundation."

The purpose of the foundation's Henry R. Luce Professorship Program is to challenge colleges and universities to experiment with innovative, integrative, and interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

Professor Phillips is the author of six novels, including Cambridge, Crossing the River--which was short-listed for The Booker Prize--and, most recently, The Nature of Blood. His non-fiction work includes The European Tribe and the anthology, The Extravagant Strangers: A Literature of Belonging, which he edited. His plays have been produced on the London stage, and he has also written and produced documentaries on James Baldwin, Curtis Mayfield, Rosa Parks, Johnnie Cochran, and Paul Robeson.

A reviewer for The New Republic and The New York Times, he is, in addition, a regular contributor to the London-based Financial Times, specializing in literature and sports.

Among Professor Phillips' awards are fellowships from the Guggenheim, Lannan, and Rockefeller foundations; the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, and the James Tate Black Memorial Prize. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Faber Caribbean Series, a member of the Council of the American Pen, and on the editorial boards of numerous publications.

Born in St. Kitts, West Indies, Professor Phillips was raised in Leeds, England. He received a English Literature and Language from Oxford. Professor Phillips holds an honorary Master's Degree from Amherst College and an Honorary Doctorate from Leeds Metropolitan University. He joins Barnard from Amherst College, where he was Professor of English and Writer-in-Residence since 1990. He has also taught at universities in Sweden, India, Ghana and Singapore.

Barnard College is an independent liberal arts college for undergraduate women, affiliated with Columbia University and located in New York City.