The Shackouls Honors College played host to one of the nation’s leading Shakespearian Scholars earlier this month.
Dr. Kim F. Hall, Lucyle Hook Chair and Professor of English and Africana Studies at Barnard College, spent two days interacting with students of the Honors College. Hall, along with Honors faculty members and students, attended a traveling production of Shakespeare’s Othello and later discussed the performance with students over tea.
Hall also gave a public lecture entitled “Othello Was My Grandfather: Shakespeare and Race in the African Disapora.” Her talk explored the significance of Shakespeare in general and Othello in particular for late 19th and early 20th century Black abolitionists, intellectuals, and entertainers, such as Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, and Henrietta Vinton Davis.
“Dr. Hall’s work has pushed scholars in the field of Shakespeare studies to pay more attention to questions of race in the early modern period,” said Dr. Eric Vivier, Assistant Professor of English and Faculty Fellow in the Honors College. “She also did a wonderful job pushing students at Mississippi State to think about the ways that Shakespeare’s ambivalent depiction of race in Othello still matters for us now. She is, in short, a big deal, and we were so happy to have her on campus.”
Hall is the author of two books, including Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a National Humanities Center Fellowship, a faculty Fellowship at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship at the Newberry Library in Chicago. She was named one of 25 "Women Making a Difference in Higher Education and Beyond" by Diverse Issues in Higher Education for 2016 and is listed in Who's Who of American Women as well as Who's Who among African Americans.
Hall’s visit was in conjunction with the University’s annual Lyceum Series. The events were co-sponsored by Mississippi State University’s Shackouls Honors College, the College of Arts & Sciences, the Department of English, the African American Studies Program, the Institute for the Humanities, the Department of Sociology and the Race in America Lecture series.