Kim Hall

Lucyle Hook Chair, Professor of English and Africana Studies

Kim F. Hall is the Lucyle Hook Chair of English and a Professor of Africana Studies at Barnard College. Her research and teaching cover Renaissance/Early Modern Literature and Culture, Critical Race Theory, Black Feminist Studies, Slavery Studies, Visual Culture, Food Studies, and Digital Humanities. She was born Baltimore, Maryland and holds a doctorate in sixteenth and seventeenth century English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania.  

Her book, Things of Darkness, published in 1996 by Cornell University Press, used a black feminist approach to interpret Renaissance literature.  This groundbreaking work on racial discourses in sixteenth and seventeenth century Britain helped generate a new wave of scholarship on race in Shakespeare and Renaissance/Early Modern texts. Her second book, Othello: Texts and Contexts (Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2006) offers readers visual and verbal textual materials that illuminate themes in Shakespeare’s play Othello: The Moor of Venice. She is currently working on two book projects: Sweet Taste of Empire, which examines the roles of race, aesthetics and gender in the Anglo-Caribbean sugar trade during the seventeenth century and a new project, Othello was My Grandfather: Shakespeare and the African Diaspora, which discusses Afrodiasporic appropriations of Othello.

She is noted for her collaborative approach to both learning and scholarship as well as her commitment to intellectual and professional diversity. In 2014, IMATS recognized her as Barnard's first Library Partner of the Year and in 2015 she won a Tow Award for Innovative Pedagogy for The Digital Shange Project. This project uses the Shange Papers at Barnard to produce student and faculty generated teaching materials on Barnard College alumna and feminist icon, Ntozake Shange, author of for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf. The first phase of the project is The Worlds of Ntozake Shange, a special issue of Scholar & Feminist Online devoted to Ntozake Shange (BC ’70): it includes original scholarship by nationally known scholars as well as the videos, "Her Pen is a Machete: The Art of Ntozake Shange" and "Moving Across Disciplines and Genres: Teaching Shange."

Professor Hall held the Thomas F.X. Mullarkey Chair in English, the first chair in the humanities while at Fordham University and came to Barnard College in 2006 to direct the Africana Studies program. Under her stewardship, the Africana Studies Program at Barnard conducted the college's first cluster hire in Africana Studies, which became the center of Africana departmentalization. She developed the program’s new focus on Africana Gender Studies and co-edited with Christine Cynn, Rewriting Dispersal: Africana Gender Studies. She also directed the college’s Middle Passage Initiative, which gives students opportunities to engage in dialogue across the Atlantic about the history of the Middle Passage and the literary response to that history. Under the auspices of that project, she led student trips to Accra, Ghana and Charleston, South Carolina.

She is a past chair of the Shakespeare Division of the Modern Language Association and a former Trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America. 
Professor Hall has won several prestigious fellowships, including an NEH fellowship at the Newberry Library in Chicago and an ACLS fellowship.  She is listed in Who's Who of American Women as well as Who's Who among African Americans and appeared on the cover of the Hood College alumnae magazine. She is also an avid quilter who was named “Quilter of the Month” at the Seminole Sampler Quilt Shop in Baltimore, Maryland.


Selected Publications

Othello: Texts and Contexts (St. Martin's Press, 2006)

" 'Extravagant Viciousness': Slavery and Gluttony in the Works of Thomas Tryon," in Writing Race Across the Atlantic World, ed. P. Beidler and G. Taylor ( New York: St. Martin's/Palgrave Press, 2005)

"Othello and the Problem of Race" in Blackwell Companions to Shakespeare: The Tragedies, ed. R. Dutton and J. Howard (London: Blackwell, 2003)

"Early Modern Women Writing Race" (with G. Kennedy) , in Teaching Tudor and Stuart Women Writers (Options for Teaching), ed. M. Hannay and S. Woods (MLA Publications: 2000)

" 'These Bastard Signs of Fair': Literary Whiteness in Shakespeare's Sonnets," in Post-Colonial Shakespeares, ed. A. Loomba and M. Orkin (London: Routledge, 1998)

"Beauty and the 'Beast' of Whiteness: Teaching Race and Gender," Shakespeare Quarterly 47:4 (Winter, 1996)

Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1995).

Shakespeare and Renaissance literature
Black feminism
Critical race theory
Material culture
Depictions of race in literature


411 Barnard Hall

FALL 2015
By appointment at

Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
B.A., Hood College

In the News

Prof. Hall is offering a barnd new course on the work of Ntozake Shange.

New faculty members strengthen the Africana studies program and establish new courses of study. Read more about these renowned scholars.

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