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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications


Robert S. Knapp, professor of English at Reed College, has been named to the Reginald F. Arragon Chair in the Humanities.

Knapp, whose professional specialty is early modern literature in England, is the author of Shakespeare: The Theater and the Book (Princeton University Press, 1989). He wrote a chapter on academic drama in the new book Companion to Renaissance Drama, edited by Arthur Kinney (Blackwell, 2002), and has contributed numerous articles to scholarly journals; he is working on a book called Circe's Rod: Shakespeare and the Disciplines of Culture. Knapp has been a mainstay and at various times chairman of three courses in Reed's humanities program since he joined the faculty in 1974. He has directed and participated in several institutes and seminars sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he has been a fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Knapp is also active in the Reed community, recently serving on the community affairs committee and the college computing policy committee. He earned his Ph.D. at Cornell University, his M.A. at the University of Denver, and his B.A. at the University of Colorado.

"Rex Arragon's role in establishing the humanities at Reed College is duly honored by establishing this chair," wrote acting president Peter Steinberger. "Knapp's extraordinary scholarship and many years of distinguished undergraduate teaching in the humanities and the English department make him a wonderful choice."

The Reginald F. Arragon Chair in the Humanities was established this spring with a $2,000,000 gift from Reed alumnus James C. March '77, a retired partner of WJM Technologies, a computer software company founded in 1988. March's gift honors the late Reginald F. Arragon, Richard F. Scholz Professor of History emeritus. Arragon taught at Reed from 1923 to 1962 and is generally acknowledged as the founding father of the Reed humanities program.

Humanities at Reed-which stretch from the required course in the freshman year through courses in early modern Europe (Humanities 210), modern European humanities (Humanities 220), the Han and Song eras in China (Humanities 230), and senior symposium (Humanities 411)-form a basis for teaching and learning that encapsulates the character and mission of the college itself. Humanities classes establish a common intellectual experience that has united Reed alumni from all eras. The Reed humanities program teaches students the basics of Reed's conference class system and helps students learn how to deal with different ways of thinking-both through other students from various intellectual and cultural backgrounds and the various fields of study represented in humanities-as well as how to think through problems and articulate their thoughts clearly, both in speaking and in writing.

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