Appiah and Haxby named senior faculty members

Princeton NJ -- The Board of Trustees Jan. 26 appointed two scholars to the faculty as full professors, effective Sept. 1, 2002. They are: Kwame Anthony Appiah, named as the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values; and James Van Loan Haxby, appointed as professor of psychology.

Appiah, currently the Charles H. Carswell Professor of Afro-American Studies and of Philosophy at Harvard University, specializes in moral and political philosophy, African and African-American studies, literary theory and criticism, and issues of personal and political identity, multiculturalism and nationalism. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1991, after holding faculty positions at Duke, Cornell and Yale universities.

His writings include numerous scholarly books, essays and articles along with reviews, short fiction, three novels and a volume of poetry. Along with Princeton Provost Amy Gutmann, Appiah wrote "Color Conscious: The Political Morality of Race" (Princeton University Press, 1996), which won the Annual Book Award of the North American Society for Social Philosophy, the Ralph J. Bunche Award of the American Political Science Association and the Gustavus Myers Award for the Study of Human Rights. His book, "In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture" (Oxford University Press, 1992), was honored by the African Studies Association, the Cleveland Foundation and the Modern Language Association.

Appiah also is co-editor, with Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., of the 3,000-article "Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience" and the Encarta Africana CD-Rom. His most recent projects are a second set of Tanner Lectures in Human Values (a lecture series presented by several universities around the world) and an annotated collection of proverbs from his homeland, Asante, Ghana, on which he collaborated with his mother.

Appiah received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at Clare College, Cambridge University.

"I believe that, of all the universities in the world, Princeton is the one where I have the best chance of doing the work, as a scholar and teacher, that I want to do," he said. "I have the deepest respect for the faculty and the traditions of the philosophy department and of the Center for Human Values, each of which strikes me as providing quite extraordinary colleagues with whom to pursue the questions that engage me."

Haxby has been a researcher at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., since 1982. Currently, he is a research psychologist and chief of the Section on Functional Brain Imaging in the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition at the National Institute of Mental Health, which investigates the human brain systems that control visual perception, attention and memory. He also has been a senior staff fellow, a research psychologist and chief of the Neuro-psychology Unit in the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging.

Haxby has published more than 125 articles in medical and scientific journals on topics such as visual cognition, perception and memory. He and his colleagues recently published a study in which they were able to tell what kind of object a person was viewing -- a face, house or scissors, for example -- by the pattern of brain activity evoked.

A graduate of Carleton College, Haxby was a Fulbright-DAAD Scholar at the Universität Bonn. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Among other honors, Haxby has received the National Institutes of Health Director's Award and is an external scientific member of the Max Planck Society.

At Princeton, Haxby will be active in the Center for the Study of Brain, Mind and Behavior, an interdisciplinary research center that investigates how the physical mechanisms of the brain give rise to functions of the mind, such as perception, moral behavior and logical thought.

"I look forward to working with the superb graduate and undergraduate students that Princeton is known for and to being challenged by their fresh perspectives," said Haxby, noting that the NIH, while larger than Princeton, has no students. At Princeton, he plans to continue his research in visual cognitive neuroscience, particularly his work in the social aspects of face perception, such as the ability to perceive and interpret small changes in expression during social interaction.

President Tilghman said she was "delighted to welcome both of these scholars to Princeton."

"Anthony Appiah brings even greater distinction to our philosophy department, to our Center for Human Values, and to our distinguished and growing work in African-American studies," she said. "Jim Haxby will strengthen our work in brain imaging and cognition, an area that has become a focus of our psychology department and that promises to tell us a great deal about the complex questions surrounding why people think and act as they do."


February 4, 2002
Vol. 91, No. 14
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