The Quotable Black Scholar: Kobena Mercer
Kobena Mercer (b. 1960)
Universities reflect the history of race relations in the two countries; because the US was a segregated society, official institutions have had to deal with race in a way they haven’t in Britain.
It’s hard for me to find an institutional niche home in Britain, partly because my work cuts across disciplines, and I’ve found an audience here. But the tradeoff is that while America recognises work like mine as a legitimate area of study, the culture is still dealing with a legacy of segregation.
–Kobena Mercer, quoted in a “Gifted, Black…and Gone,” from “Race Issues in the UK: A Special Report, The Guardian, May 30, 2000
Biographical Notes: Kobena Mercer is a writer and cultural critic living in London, England. He earned a B.A. in Fine Art with honors from the St. Martins School of Art. He earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of London Goldsmiths’ College. He is the author of Welcome to the Jungle: New Positions in Black Cultural Studies, a groundbreaking study on the image of the Black male in U.S. and British popular culture and. Mercer has edited and contributed to a several essay collections, including Discrepant Abstractions, Cosmopolitan Moderisms, and others.He has also published a great number of articles and reviews in both scholarly and mainstream publications.
Mercer has taught at Middlesex College, NYU, UCLA, and UC Santa Cruz. He has served as a Senior Fellow at NYU’s Vera List Center for Art and Politics, a Society for the Humanities Fellow at Cornell University, and a Humanities Research Institute fellow at the University of California, Irvine. Mercer has received numerous honors and awards, and in 2006 he became one of the first recipients of the Clark Prize in Arts Writing (with Linda Nochlin and Calvin Tompkins).
Posted by Ajuan Mance