Robert F. Reid-Pharr is a professor of studies of women, gender, and sexuality and of African and African American studies at Harvard University.
As a Radcliffe fellow, Reid-Pharr is completing a draft of “James Baldwin: The Making of an American Icon.” Drawing heavily on archival materials housed at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Houghton and Beinecke Libraries of Harvard and Yale Universities, the book is conservatively biographical in that it follows the story of Baldwin’s life from birth to death. At its core, however, the work is an attempt to understand how Baldwin achieved his fantastic celebrity status and why his image continues to be so compelling to the public.
Reid-Pharr holds a PhD in American studies and an MA in African American studies from Yale University. He is the author of four books: Conjugal Union: The Body, the House, and the Black American (Oxford University Press, 1999); Black Gay Man: Essays (NYU Press, 2001); Once You Go Black: Choice, Desire, and the Black American Intellectual (NYU Press, 2007); and Archives of Flesh: African America, Spain, and Post-Humanist Critique (NYU Press, 2016). His essays have appeared in, among other places, African American Review, American Literature, Art in America, Callaloo, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Women & Performance. Reid-Pharr’s writing has been honored by the Publishing Triangle and the Modern Language Association. In 2015, he was inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars, and he is the recipient of a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship.