Academic journal article African American Review

Claudia Tate: In Memoriam

Academic journal article African American Review

Claudia Tate: In Memoriam

Article excerpt

Claudia Tate, Professor of English at Princeton University and longtime advisory editor to African American Review, succumbed to small-cell lung cancer in Fair Haven, New Jersey, on 29 July 2002. She was fifty-five years old. Tate was a brilliant scholar of American, women's, and African-American literature. An innovative thinker, she specialized in psychoanalytic literary criticism and cultural studies.

Tate received her bachelor's degree in English and American Literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1968. As one of a handful of black women entering the graduate program in the Harvard English department in 1969, she joined a pioneering cohort of scholars at Harvard who laid the groundwork for the field of African-American studies. In English they included Nellie Y. McKay, Arnold Rampersad, and Cheryl Wall. Tate received a Ph.D. in English and American literature and language from Harvard University in 1977. She belonged to the faculty of Howard University for twelve years before joining George Washington University in 1989, and then the Princeton faculty in January 1997.

Claudia Tate's first book, Black Women Writers at Work (1983), a collection of interviews with a broad range of authors, introduced writers such as Toni Cade Bambara, Kristin Hunter, Gayl Jones, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, and Sherley Anne Williams to a wide readership. In her second book, Domestic Allegories of Political Desire: The Black Heroine's Text at the Turn of the Century (1992), Tate turned her attention to the domestic fiction of African-American women in the post-Reconstruction era. …

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