Williams Names 2001-02 Bolin Fellows

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

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Sept. 13, 2001–Darby English and Tanya Mears have been appointed Gaius Charles Bolin Fellows for 2001-02 at Williams College. English is a doctoral candidate in the graduate program in visual and cultural studies at the University of Rochester. At Williams, he has been appointed Bolin Fellow in Art and American Studies. Mears is a doctoral candidate in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has been appointed Bolin Fellow in African-American Studies.

Named in honor of the first African American to graduate from Williams, the Gaius Charles Bolin Fellowship for Minority Graduate Students seeks to encourage the pursuit of college teaching careers among gifted minority students. Then-President Francis Oakley established the fellowship in 1985, a century after Gauis Bolin was first admitted to Williams. After delivering “a stunning oration” at the Poughkeepsie High School, Bolin was encouraged to apply to Williams by his high-school principal, who had graduated from Williams in 1867. Following his Williams graduation, Bolin established a successful law practice in Poughkeepsie and throughout his life remained devoted to family, rearing four children after the death of his wife, and to furthering the rights of African-Americans.

Bolin Fellows spend an academic year-in-residence at Williams, teaching one one-semester course while completing their dissertation work.

English received his B.A. from Williams in 1996, with a double major in art history and philosophy. This year at Williams he will teach “Representing Cultural Contradiction in Contemporary Art and Criticism.” While at the University of Rochester, he had been a teaching assistant, coordinator of graduate student teaching workshops, and co-curator of an exhibit at the Harnett Gallery. He was the 1998 recipient of the Celeste Hughes Bishop Prize for Distinction in Graduate Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Rochester. He has worked at WCMA, the Clark Art Institute, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. His work will be published in the forthcoming “New Perspectives in African-American Art History” and in “Kara Walker.”

Mears received her B.S. in history from Tuskagee University. She will teach “The Pre-Civil War Slave Narrative as a Genre” in the spring. Mears has spent the past four summers doing research at an archaeological dig at The Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson in Tennessee. Archaeologists at the homestead hope to learn more about slave life. Mears is the recipient of a number of honors and awards, including the University of Connecticut Top 100 Minority Students of the State of Connecticut Award, the Connecticut Young Playwrights Award, the University of Connecticut Study-Abroad Programs Scholarship, and the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies Research Grant for 1999 and 2000.


Published January 13, 2001