Kim F. Hall

Lucyle Hook Chair

Professor of English and Africana Studies

Kim F. Hall is the Lucyle Hook Chair of English and a Professor of Africana Studies at Barnard College. Her research and teaching cover Renaissance/Early Modern Literature and Culture, Critical Race Theory, Black Feminist Studies, Slavery Studies, Visual Culture, Food Studies, and Digital Humanities. She was born Baltimore, Maryland and holds a doctorate in sixteenth and seventeenth century English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania.  

Her book, Things of Darkness, published in 1996 by Cornell University Press, used a black feminist approach to interpret Renaissance literature.  This groundbreaking work on racial discourses in sixteenth and seventeenth century Britain helped generate a new wave of scholarship on race in Shakespeare and Renaissance/Early Modern texts. Her second book, Othello: Texts and Contexts (Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2006) offers readers visual and verbal textual materials that illuminate themes in Shakespeare’s play Othello: The Moor of Venice. She is currently working on two book projects: Sweet Taste of Empire, which examines the roles of race, aesthetics and gender in the Anglo-Caribbean sugar trade during the seventeenth century and a new project, Othello was My Grandfather: Shakespeare and the African Diaspora, which discusses Afrodiasporic appropriations of Othello.

She is noted for her collaborative approach to both learning and scholarship as well as her commitment to intellectual and professional diversity. In 2014, Barnard Library and Academic  Information Services  (BLAIS) recognized her as their Inaugural Library Partner of the Year and in 2015 she won a Tow Award for Innovative Pedagogy for The Digital Shange Project. This project uses the Ntozake Shange Collection at Barnard to produce student and faculty generated teaching materials on Barnard College alumna and feminist icon, Ntozake Shange, author of for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf. The first phase of the project is The Worlds of Ntozake Shange, a special issue of Scholar & Feminist Online devoted to Ntozake Shange (BC ’70): it includes original scholarship by nationally known scholars as well as the videos, "Her Pen is a Machete: The Art of Ntozake Shange" and "Moving Across Disciplines and Genres: Teaching Shange."

Professor Hall held the Thomas F.X. Mullarkey Chair in English, the first chair in the humanities while at Fordham University and came to Barnard College in 2006 to direct the Africana Studies program. Under her stewardship, the Africana Studies Program at Barnard conducted the college's first cluster hire in Africana Studies, which became the center of Africana departmentalization. She developed the program’s new focus on Africana Gender Studies and co-edited with Christine Cynn, Rewriting Dispersal: Africana Gender Studies. She also directed the college’s Middle Passage Initiative, which gives students opportunities to engage in dialogue across the Atlantic about the history of the Middle Passage and the literary response to that history. Under the auspices of that project, she led student trips to Accra, Ghana and Charleston, South Carolina.

She is a past chair of the Shakespeare Division of the Modern Language Association and a former Trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America. 
Professor Hall has won several prestigious fellowships, including a National Humanities Center Fellowship, a faculty Fellowship at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, an NEH fellowship at the Newberry Library in Chicago and an ACLS fellowship.  She was named one of 25 "Women Making a Difference in Higher Education and Beyond" by Diverse Issues in Higher Education for 2016 and is listed in Who's Who of American Women as well as Who's Who among African Americans. She is also an avid quilter who was named “Quilter of the Month” at the Seminole Sampler Quilt Shop in Baltimore, Maryland.


Selected Publications

with Peter Erickson, Eds. Shakespeare Quarterly. special issue on Early Modern Race Studies. 67.1 (2016). 

The Worlds of Ntozake Shange.” S & F Online. Kim F. Hall, Monica L. Miller and Yvette Christiansë, Eds. 12.3-13.1 (Summer 2014/Fall 2014) Live in July 2015.

 “Rewriting Dispersal: Africana Gender Studies.” Scholar & Feminist Online.  Christine Cynn and Kim F. Hall. Eds. 7.2 (Spring 2009). 

“’Use Words, Not Your Body’: The hunger that has no name,”  Women and Performance: a Journal of Feminist Theory 18:2 (2008):  169-180. Nominated for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Outstanding Article Award.

Othello: Texts and Contexts (St. Martin's Press, 2006)

Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1995).

Academic Focus: 

Shakespeare and Renaissance literature
Black feminism
Critical race theory
Material culture
Depictions of race in literature


The Worlds of Ntozake Shange & Digital Storytelling
Food, Ethnicity and Globalization
Black Women in America
Early Modern Women Writers
Critical Race Theory
Atlantic Crossings: The West Indies in the English Imagination
The Middle Passage
Renaissance Drama

Awards & Honors: 

Named "25 Women Making a Difference in Higher Education and Beyond" by Diverse Issues in Higher Education  (33.3) 10 March 2016.

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend Award (2016)

Schomburg Faculty Fellowship  (Fall 2016)           

National Humanities Center Fellowship (Spring 2017)

Barnard College Presidential Research Award (2016)

Tow Award for Innovative Pedagogy, Barnard College (2015)

Black Graduation Faculty Honoree, Columbia University (2015)

Inaugural Faculty Partner of the Year awarded by Barnard Library & Academic Information Services (BLAIS) staff.

Mellon funded Barnard Teaches: Real Place + Digital Access grant for “The Worlds of Ntozake Shange & Digital Storytelling” course

President’s Committee on Online Learning grant for Digital Shange project.


411 Barnard Hall

on Twitter: @ProfKFH



Office Hours: 

On leave for the 2017-18 academic year


Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
B.A., Hood College

Related Web Sites: 

In the News

Studying at Barnard means access to graduate-level research opportunities that few undergraduate liberal arts colleges provide.

Prof. Kim F. Hall, a leading researcher in Renaissance and early modern studies and critical race theory, will commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death by participating in the Folger Institute’s Shakespeare Anniversary Lecture Series. 

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