Michael Eric Dyson will join Vanderbilt University’s faculty next year, according to a press release that school officials published on Vanderbilt’s website this week.
The Tennessee Star asked former Vanderbilt professor Carol Swain to comment.
Swain said she didn’t have much to say about the topic.
“I would say he has exactly the kind of profile that Vanderbilt finds attractive in a black faculty member,” Swain said.
“His position on issues of race would be perfectly consistent with the direction of the university.”
Swain went on to call Dyson “a highly visible public intellectual who has been at a number of different universities and I’m sure he will bring new energy to the campus.”
Dyson, on his Twitter, has praised former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a “feminist icon” and a “justice warrior in the truest sense.” He has also encouraged people to vote to aid progressive causes.
Dyson will join Vanderbilt as Centennial Chair and University Distinguished Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies in the College of Arts and Science and University Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Society in the Divinity School. He is scheduled to do so in January, the press release said.
Dyson is currently a professor of sociology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and a contributing opinion writer at The New York Times. In addition, he serves as contributing editor at The New Republic and The Undefeated, a website from ESPN.
A native of Detroit, Dyson earned a Ph.D. in religion from Princeton University. Throughout his career, he has held teaching positions at the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, the Chicago Theological Seminary and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, among others, the Vanderbilt press release said.
Vanderbilt Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said in the press release that Dyson has “a proven ability to empower students and transform lives.”
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Michael Eric Dyson” by Michael Eric Dyson. Background Photo “Vanderbilt University Campus” by Vanderbilt University.