James Basker

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Professor James G. Basker is an American scholar, writer, and educational leader.


He studied English at Harvard College (Phi Beta Kappa) and Cambridge University, and graduated from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, with a D. Phil in English. Basker is currently the Richard Gilder Professor in Literary History at Barnard College, Columbia University, having previously taught at Harvard, Cambridge and NYU.[1] He is also the president of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, founder of the Oxbridge Academic Programs and a Fellow of The Society of American Historians. He was elected to the board of the American Association of Rhodes Scholars in 2007.


Basker’s scholarly work focuses on 18th Century literature, specifically the life and writings of Samuel Johnson and the history of slavery and abolition. Among his books are Amazing Grace: An Anthology of Poems about Slavery (Yale University Press, 2002), Tobias Smollett (University of Delaware Press, 1988), Tradition in Transition (OUP 1996, edited with Alvaro Ribeiro SJ), Early American Abolitionists (Paperback, 2005), The Adventures of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollet (Georgia University Press 2012, edited with Paul-Gabriel Bouce and Nicole A. Seary) and The Library of America Volume 233 America Antislavery Writings: Colonial Beginnings to Emancipation (Library of America, 2012).


Dr. Basker currently lives in New York City with his wife, Angela Vallot. Their two daughters, Anne Vallot-Basker, 21 and Katherine Vallot-Basker, 17 are currently attending the American University of Paris, and Milton Academy, respectively.


  1. ^ "James Basker". Barnard College profile. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 

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