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Selwyn Cudjoe Named to the Carlson Professorship in Comparative Literature at Wellesley College

June 10, 2010

WELLESLEY, Mass. – Selwyn Cudjoe, professor and chair of the Africana Studies Department at Wellesley College, has been named the Margaret E. Deffenbaugh and LeRoy T. Carlson Professor in Comparative Literature at Wellesley.

Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe

"In pioneering the study of Caribbean writers, as well as African-American and women writers, Selwyn has changed the way we think about these important, and previously undervalued, facets of the multi-cultural body of literature in English," said Andrew Shennan, provost and dean of the college.

After teaching at several universities including Harvard and Cornell, Cudjoe came to Wellesley in the fall of 1986. He was appointed to a full professorship in 1990, and from 1995 to 1999, served as the fourth Marion Butler McLean Professor of the History of Ideas. He teaches courses on the African-American literary tradition, African literature, black women writers and Caribbean literature. His most recent course is "Blackness in the American Literary Imagination."

In April 1988, Cudjoe coordinated the first major conference on women writers of the English-speaking Caribbean. An associate of the Department of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University, he received his second National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 1994 to organize a summer seminar on Caribbean literature for secondary school teachers. Held at Wellesley College, the six-week seminar attracted teachers from Africa, the Caribbean and across the United States.

He is the author of several publications, most recently Caribbean Visionary: A.R.F Weber and the Making of the Guyanese Nation (2009). A producer and host of television programs for Trinidad and Tobago Television, he wrote the documentary, "Tacarigua: A Village in Trinidad," produced by Cornell University. He completed a second documentary, "Caribbean Women Writers," that premiered at Wellesley College in 1994, and is in the process of completing a third documentary on A.R.F. Webber, the subject of his most recent book, with DoubleBack Productions in Washington, D.C.

Born in Tacarigua, Trinidad, in the West Indies, Cudjoe received a B.A. in English and an M.A. in American literature from Fordham University and a Ph.D. in American literature from Cornell University.

Rachel Jacoff, recently retired professor of Italian studies, served as the first Carlson Professor at Wellesley from 2001 to 2010.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 75 countries. For more information, go to