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University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456, www.uic.edu/depts/paff

July 16, 2001 Contact:Anne Dybek (312) 996-8279; adybek@uic.edu


Dwight McBride, professor and scholar of African-American studies and English literature, has been appointed head of the department of African-American studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

"I am delighted that Dwight McBride will assume the leadership of the department of African-American studies," said Stanley Fish, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "He brings to the post an incredible reservoir of energy, an impressive blend of academic scholarship and excellent teaching skills coupled with a passion for the subject matter and a clear vision of what the department's direction should be."

"I don't see this job as a task, but rather as an opportunity," said McBride of his new role at UIC. "I want to help build a vital intellectual community in African-American studies and integrate it into the natural resource of the city of Chicago itself."

McBride explained that this is a particularly interesting time for African-American studies because the field is changing. "I believe African-American studies should focus on producing scholarship and working in and with the black community on practical and political concerns."

To accomplish this, McBride said the department will need to engage those in the community who care about African-American studies. "We have to work harder to show people how African-American studies can be useful to them."

A distinguished scholar, McBride served as a professor of English at UIC for two years. Prior to joining UIC in the fall of 1999, he was a member of the English faculty at the University of Pittsburgh from 1996 to 1999.

McBride has published widely in the areas of race theory and black cultural studies. He is the editor of "James Baldwin Now" (NYU Press, 1999); coeditor with UIC colleague Jennifer DeVere Brody of a special issue of Callaloo: A Journal of African-American and African Arts and Letters titled "Plum Nelly: New Essays in Black Queer Studies" (Winter 2000); coeditor of the forthcoming "Black Like Us: A Century of Queer African American Literature" (Cleis Press); and author of "Impossible Witnesses: Truth, Abolitionism, and Slave Testimony" due out this fall with NYU Press.

Both "James Baldwin Now" and "Plum Nelly" received special citations (December 2000) from the Crompton-Noll Award Committee of the Modern Language Association.

McBride is currently working on a book of his own essays titled "Can the Queen Speak? and Other Essays;" a manuscript on poet Phillis Wheatley titled "Poetics, Politics, and Phillis Wheatley;" and a collection of works by Melvin Dixon titled "Melvin Dixon's Critical Essays: A Reader."

He earned a bachelor's degree in English and Afro-American studies from Princeton University and a master's and doctorate degree in English literature from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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