May 15, 1997
Vol. 16, No. 17

current issue
archive / search

    Toni Morrison named Visiting University Scholar

    May 29 lecture will mark beginning of new relationship Toni Morrison, the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton and a Nobel laureate and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, has been named a Visiting University Scholar. She will celebrate this new relationship with the University by presenting a lecture at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 29, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. The lecture is free and open to the public.

    "Toni Morrison is one of the most distinguished writers and thinkers of our time," said Philip Gossett, the Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor in Music and Dean of the Humanities Division.

    "Her extraordinary explorations of the African-American experience have profoundly influenced our perception of race and history in America and throughout the world. At the same time, she has established herself in her essays and lectures as a quintessential public intellectual. I am simply delighted that later this month and for several years to come she will regularly share her art and her insight with students and faculty at the University of Chicago," Gossett said.

    Morrison will come to Chicago as a Visiting University Scholar for six weeks a year for three years, beginning in 1998. She will participate in workshops, seminars and conferences and will also give public lectures.

    "Toni Morrison is excited to be part of such an intellectually vibrant place," said Homi Bhabha, the Chester D. Tripp Professor in the Humanities and a friend of Morrison's. "She has often said that Chicago is her Paris."

    Morrison, the first African-American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, is known for her novels detailing the black American experience. They include The Bluest Eye, Sula, Tar Baby, Jazz, Song of Solomon (winner of the National Book Critics award in 1977) and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Beloved. She has also written literary criticism and several collections of essays, including Playing in the Dark. She edited the recent collection Race-ing Justice, EnGendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas and the Construction of Social Reality.

    Morrison gave the 1996 William Vaughn Moody Lecture at the University and was named the 1996 Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities by the National Endowment for the Humanities. She was previously a senior editor at Random House for 20 years.