Scholar Patricia Akhimie Named Director of the Folger Institute

Dr. Patricia Akhimie, Director of the RaceB4Race Mentorship Network and Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University-Newark, has been named Director of the Folger Institute following a national search. She will lead the Folger’s scholarly programs and fellowships, supporting new and established forms of scholarship in the early modern humanities and making new connections with working scholars and the public. She succeeds Dr. Kathleen Lynch.

“Over almost two decades, as a student, scholar, and teacher, I have found in the Folger a scholarly second home. I’ve experienced this place as both welcoming and, in the best ways, challenging. I know the Folger as a place of both camaraderie and rigorous intellectual exchange,” says Dr. Akhimie. “I look forward to the reopening of the Folger’s doors, and to welcoming new and returning students and scholars to the library and the Institute. I am eager and genuinely honored to help hold this space of opportunity, inquiry, and collaboration, where we can ask big questions and confront difficult problems by deepening knowledge of and strengthening connections between our shared past and present.”  
Dr. Akhimie is the editor of the Arden Othello (fourth series), a landmark edition and play within Shakespeare studies, and the forthcoming collection, The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Race. She is also working on a monograph about race, gender, and editing early modern texts. She is the author of Shakespeare and the Cultivation of Difference: Race and Conduct in the Early Modern World (Routledge 2018) and co-editor, with Bernadette Andrea, of Travel and Travail: Early Modern Women, English Drama, and the Wider World (University of Nebraska Press 2019). 
Dr. Akhimie’s research areas include Early Modern Critical Race Studies, Early Modern Literature, Renaissance Drama, Shakespeare, Textual Editing, Early Modern Travel Writing, Conduct Literature, Comics and Graphic Novels, Gender, and Colonialism. Her research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the John Carter Brown Library, and the Ford Foundation.
Her public-facing work includes projects with, an online education company; the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival; the Royal Shakespeare Company; the Public Theatre; and the PBS series Great Performances. She is actively involved with RaceB4Race as an executive board member, presenter, and conference organizer. 
In 2021, Dr. Akhimie received the Warren I. Susman Award for Excellence in Teaching from Rutgers University for outstanding and innovative performance in both the physical and virtual classroom. She has been on the Rutgers faculty since 2011. She holds a Ph.D., a M. Phil., and a M.A. in English from Columbia University, as well as an M.F.A in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. in English from Princeton University.  
“Dr. Patricia Akhime brings a powerful mix of academic knowledge and institutional experience to the position of Director of the Folger Institute,” says Folger Director Dr. Michael Witmore. “She will be a thoughtful, engaged leader who deepens the fifty-year history of academic research that has unfolded at the Institute, but will also expand our range of inquiry to include creative work and humanities programming for the public. In Patricia Akhime, we have a thinker who can see to the far horizon of humanities- and arts-based inquiry. I look forward to where she and the team she leads will take us.”
Dr. Akhimie begins as the Folger Institute’s Director in summer 2023. 


The Folger Institute is the scholarly hub of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Founded in 1970 the Institute gathers interdisciplinary communities for collections-based research and discussion. It offers fellowships, scholarly programs, and other projects, most recently the Before ‘Farm to Table:’ Early Modern Foodways and Cultures collaborative research initiative, which was supported by the Mellon Foundation, and the Critical Race Conversations series which has been viewed more than 25,000 times online. Together with colleagues across the Folger, the Institute brings public audiences together with scholarly ones to discover more about the cultures and legacies of the early modern world and the ways in which they continue to be vitally relevant in the 21st century.

Folger Shakespeare Library is the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the ultimate resource for exploring Shakespeare and his world. The Folger welcomes millions of visitors online and in person. We provide unparalleled access to a huge array of resources, from original sources to modern interpretations. With the Folger, you can experience the power of performance, the wonder of exhibitions, and the excitement of path breaking research. We offer the opportunity to see and even work with early modern sources, driving discovery and transforming education for students of all ages. During our multiyear building renovation, join us online and on the road.
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