Gates Ponders Move to Princeton; Chicago Scholar Joins Harvard’s Ranks
The head of Harvard’s Afro-American studies program, Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., says he will decide this summer whether he will follow his colleague Dr. Anthony Appiah to Princeton University.
Last month, Princeton appointed Appiah as a full professor in the university’s philosophy department (see Black Issues, Feb. 14).
“Anthony Appiah has left four institutions so that we could be together,” Gates told The Star-Ledger. “Maybe it’s my time to pay that friendship back.”
Gates says he would welcome the chance to build a strong Black studies program at Princeton. And Princeton spokeswoman Marilyn Marks says the university was considering expanding its Black studies program into a full degree-granting department.
At Harvard, several members of the Afro-American studies department have been at odds with university president Dr. Lawrence Summers. Summers reportedly rebuked Dr. Cornel West for recording a rap CD, for leading a political committee for the Rev. Al Sharpton’s possible presidential campaign and for allowing grade inflation in his introductory Black studies course.
West says he had been “dishonored,” and threatened to leave for Princeton. Acquaintances have said there is little chance that West, who is on leave recovering from prostate cancer, will return to Harvard.
Appiah, the only professor who has made the move, says he had no grudge against Summers and left for personal reasons.
Three days after Appiah announced his departure, Harvard announced it had hired Dr. Michael C. Dawson, an expert in Black political behavior, from the University of Chicago.
Dawson, who is considered one of the top scholars of Black politics, its relationship to urban poverty, and other cultural issues, accepted a dual appointment at Harvard as a professor of government and Afro-American studies. He will start in July.
“I very much look forward to joining one of the premier research centers in Afro-American studies,” Dawson told the Chicago Tribune.
Dawson, director of the University of Chicago’s Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, says the job will give him new opportunities to study the effect of information technology on society because he also will be able to work with people at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dawson said he had been happy at Chicago but was leaving for several reasons, including Harvard’s offer to hire his wife, Dr. Alice Furumoto-Dawson, an epidemiologist and research associate.
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