The University of Chicago Magazine April 1996
Return to April 1996 Table of Contents


Much was made in the media regarding the decision by U of C sociologist William Julius Wilson to join Harvard's faculty this fall. Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times were among those covering the story, while two student newspapers, the Maroon and Free Press, gave it banner-headline treatment. According to the Chicago Tribune, Wilson turned down Harvard four times over the past two decades. His decision to say yes now, he said, was partly based on the appeal of Harvard's Department of Afro-American Studies (Wilson will have a joint appointment in Harvard's Kennedy School of Government)--organized by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and joined by an elite group of African-American scholars, including Cornel West. Wilson told the Tribune that he'd struggled with the decision "because I've been happy here. This is a great university. But I'm at a different point in my life."

If the loss of wilson was a painful one for Chicago, the cover story of the March 22, 1996, Chronicle of Higher Education was a reminder of the abundance of pluses on its ledger sheet of intellectual power. The story focused on the University's recent recruitment of a virtual Who's Who of top humanities and interdisciplinary scholars--including Arjun Appadurai, AM'73, PhD'76; Homi Bhabha; Dipesh Chakrabarty; Jean Bethke Elshstain; Sander Gilman; Miriam Hansen; Wy Hung; Jonathan Lear; and Martha Nussbaum. In explaining his decision to join the U of C, Bhabha--whose controversial work provides a cornerstone of postcolonial theory and multiculturalism--told the Chronicle, "One of the very interesting things about Chicago was that there was a whole range of stellar individuals, whether you agreed with them or not." No argument there.--T.A.O.

In this department:

Photographs from campus:

Plus items For the Record.

Go to: Return to April 1996 Table of Contents