Ramazani Chosen for Illustrious Academic Society

Jahan Ramazani, University Professor and Edgar F. Shannon Professor of English, has been elected into the American Philosophical Society, just the 10th UVA faculty member asked to become a member of the oldest academic society in the United States.

Benjamin Franklin founded the American Philosophical Society in 1743 for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge.” Today, the society furthers that mission by recognizing and engaging “leading scholars, scientists, and professionals through elected membership and opportunities for interdisciplinary, intellectual fellowship,” its website says.

The latest list of 37 scholars and scientists, who will be formally inducted in November, also includes UVA alumnus Francis Collins, acting science adviser to President Biden; former director of the National Institutes of Health; and before that, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Ramazani has published six books about modern and contemporary poetry in English, starting with Irish poet WB Yeats and expanding his scholarship to poets in postcolonial countries in Africa and the Caribbean, besides American, Irish and British writers. His latest book by him, “Poetry in a Global Age,” came out in 2020.

Also an editor, he is now working on the 11th edition of “The Norton Anthology of English Literature,” having worked on three previous editions, among them, “The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry.” The US State Department recently featured Ramazani on its ShareAmerica websitewhere he said many contemporary poets “are interacting with our world, whether listening to hip hop or reading philosophy, [and] they draw on high and low culture and mix them up in fascinating ways.”

Ramazani joins current UVA society members poet Rita Dove, the Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing, elected in 1996; and historian Alan Taylor, Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor of History, elected in 2020. Previous UVA professors elected to the American Philosophical Society – and now retired – include English professor Jerome McGann (2014), computer scientist Anita K. Jones (2010), philosophy professor Cora Diamond (2007), engineer William Wulf (2007) and English professor Patricia Meyer Spacks (1996). In addition, mathematician Edward J. McShane was elected in 1959, and Edwin Alderman in 1925.

The current American Philosophical Society membership comprises 818 resident members and 157 international members.

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