Neil Roberts Named Williams College W. Ford Schumann Faculty Fellow

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., January 31, 2018—Williams College has announced the appointment of Neil Roberts, associate professor of Africana studies, as the W. Ford Schumann Faculty Fellow in Democratic Studies. Roberts will assume the position beginning on July 1, 2018.

The Schumann Faculty Fellow works to promote campus dialogue on the subjects of democracy and civic responsibility. In addition, one of the foundational elements of the endowment is the W. Ford Schumann Visiting Professorship. During his tenure as faculty fellow, Roberts will work to identify and recruit candidates for that position.

“I am excited to start my term this summer as the W. Ford Schumann Faculty Fellow,” Roberts says. “I plan to facilitate discussions throughout the Williams community by bringing to campus Schumann Visiting Professors as well as organizing public lectures and forums. By exploring in a global context the idea of democracy and the intersecting notions of civic responsibility and freedom, we are able to arrive at greater clarity on the meaning and practice of democracy.”

Roberts has been a member of the Williams faculty since 2008, and is affiliated with the political science and religion departments in addition to Africana studies. He has served as chair of the religion department and college lecture committee, and is president of the Caribbean Philosophical Association, an international organization.

Roberts’ teaching and scholarship ranges from modern and contemporary political theory to Afro-Caribbean thought, African-American philosophy, critical theory, the politics of race, and concepts of freedom. He is the author of the award-winning book Freedom as Marronage, the collaborative work Journeys in Caribbean Thought, and several edited and coedited collections. His latest volume, A Political Companion to Frederick Douglass, is forthcoming in spring 2018.

W. Ford Schumann Visiting Professorship in Democratic Studies was endowed in 2000 by the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, formerly the Florence and John Schumann Foundation, with a gift of $2.5 million. The Schumann family gave an additional $500,000 to support the W. Ford Schumann Faculty Fellowship.


Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.



Published January 31, 2018