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Return to UIC a 'homecoming' for new LAS dean

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Dwight McBride
Dwight McBride: chair of African American studies at Northwestern University since 2002.

Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

Dwight McBride, former head of African American studies at UIC and current chair of African American studies at Northwestern University, was named dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The appointment is effective Aug. 16.

McBride will succeed Christopher Comer, who has served as dean since August 2004 after the retirement of dean Stanley Fish.

Comer will continue at UIC as professor of biology, neuroscience and bioengineering.

McBride is the Leon Forrest professor of African American studies and professor of English and communication studies at Northwestern.

He was a UIC faculty member from 1999 to 2002, beginning as an assistant professor of English and African American studies and advancing to associate professor in 2001. He was head of the department of African American studies at UIC from 2001 to 2002 before accepting his current appointment at Northwestern.

“Colleagues who welcomed me so openly during my visits to the campus have already made my imminent return to UIC feel like a homecoming,” McBride said.

“It is my goal as dean to focus on our highest aspirations and dreams, building talent and making concerted efforts to help us move forward.”

As chair of Northwestern’s African American studies department, McBride directed a renovation of the program that included extensive revisions of the undergraduate curriculum, recruitment of leading scholars and increasing the number of black studies core and affiliated faculty members.

He also oversaw an ambitious plan that led to the department becoming the seventh university in the country to offer a Ph.D. in African American studies.

McBride has published numerous books, essays, articles and edited volumes that examine connections between race theory, black studies and identity politics.

His most recent publication is the co-edited volume A Melvin Dixon Critical Reader, a collection of critical essays on literature and life from the African American activist, artist and scholar.

Why I Hate Abercrombie and Fitch: Essays on Race and Sexuality, a collection of his personal essays offering contemporary cultural criticism, was a nominee for the 2006 Lambda Literary Award and the 2006 Hurston-Wright Legacy Award.

In 2005, McBride garnered the Best Special Issue Award from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals for the special issue of Public Culture he co-edited, 100 Years of the ‘Souls of Black Folk’: A Celebration of W.E.B. DuBois.

He is the editor of James Baldwin Now and co-editor 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. Both works received special citations in 2000 from the Crompton-Noll Award Committee of the Modern Language Association for their significant contribution to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies.

McBride’s other works include Black Like Us: A Century of Lesbian, Gay and Bi-Sexual African American Fiction, a co-edited volume that earned the 2002 Lambda Literary Award for best fiction anthology, and Impossible Witnesses: Truth, Abolitionism, and Slave Testimony.

He is co-editor of The New Black Studies Series published by the University of Illinois Press.

He is working on two book manuscripts, Poetics, Politics, and Phillis Wheatley and White Lies in the Republic: Race Sexuality and Politics.

From 1996 to 1999, he was assistant professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. He has held other teaching appointments at University of California, Irvine, Occidental College and the University of California, Los Angeles.

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

With more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Liberal Arts and Sciences is UIC's largest college. It comprises 21 departments and programs and offering more than 60 undergraduate major fields of specialization, 40 minors, nearly 70 graduate degrees at the masters and doctoral levels and more than 1,000 courses. The college features programs in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

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