Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison will give a free lecture at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10, in Shriver Hall Auditorium on the Homewood campus of the Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore.
Morrison's appearance celebrates the creation of the university's Center for Africana Studies, established in fall 2003 in response to interest from students and faculty and as part of the university's efforts to "diversify the intellectual footprint on campus," said Daniel Weiss, the James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.
"Africana studies was in many ways an obvious opportunity for us not only because it's a lively and vibrant area of intellectual interest, but even more important, we have a foundation here of accomplished faculty with a genuine commitment to this," Weiss said. "We are building on strength, which is something we like to do at Hopkins." Undergraduates may pursue a major or a minor from the center, which has a threefold focus — African studies, African-American studies and the study of the African diaspora. Its course offerings are cross-listed with disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.
Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. She is the author of eight major novels — The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, Jazz, Paradise and Love — all of which have received extensive critical acclaim. She received the National Book Critics Award in 1978 for Song of Solomon and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Beloved. Both novels were chosen as the main selections for the Book of the Month Club in 1977 and 1987 respectively. Morrison is also the author of four children's books, numerous essays and lyrics commissioned by Carnegie Hall. She has degrees from Howard and Cornell universities. Among the institutions where she has held teaching posts are Yale, Bard College and Rutgers. The New York State Board of Regents appointed her to the Albert Schweitzer Chair in the Humanities at the State University of New York at Albany in 1984, a post she held until 1989. Morrison is currently the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University, a position she has held since 1989.
"We're delighted to have her coming to join us to celebrate this event," Weiss said. "We wanted to have someone whose work reflects the highest aspirations of the school and the program and hers certainly does that. We wanted to have someone who would bring visibility to what we've created here because this is just the first step of a much longer process to build a presence for Africana Studies on our campus."
The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and reservations are required. To obtain tickets, call (866) 628-9892. Members of the media seeking more information about the Center for Africana Studies should contact Amy Cowles at 443-287-9960. A digital photo of Morrison and her complete bio are available to the media upon request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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