News | May 25, 2024

Folger Shakespeare Library Appoints Dr. Farah Karim-Cooper as Director

Sarah Lee/Folger

Dr. Farah Karim-Cooper

The Folger Shakespeare Library’s Board of Governors has announced that they have appointed Dr. Farah Karim-Cooper as the new director of the 92-year-old institution following a 10-month international search. 

Karim-Cooper currently serves on the executive leadership team at Shakespeare’s Globe as the Director of Education (Higher Education & Research). She is Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Kings College London and the author of popular commercial, trade and scholarly publications. Karim-Cooper succeeds Michael Witmore, who has served as director since 2011 ad will begin in her new role as the Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library on October 7.

“We were impressed with Farah’s deep, diversified track record and experiences, which traverse the world of Shakespeare studies, performance, collections, media, and connecting with a variety of audiences,” said Board Chair D. Jarrett Arp. “She has a well-earned reputation as an inclusive, thoughtful, and engaging leader. Farah is a natural fit to guide the Folger as we welcome the public, increase our visibility, and build for the Folger’s second century.”

Karim-Cooper served as President of the Shakespeare Association of America from 2021-2022 after serving five years on their Board of Trustees. Her most recent book, The Great White Bard: How to Love Shakespeare While Talking About Race (2023) was voted a top book of 2023 by Time Magazine, NPR, and The New Yorker. In 2018 she founded and curated the Globe’s Shakespeare and Race Festival and conceived and curated the Antiracist Shakespeare Webinar series from 2021-2024. She is an executive board member for RaceB4Race, a consortium of scholars and institutions working on issues of race in premodern literature, history, and culture. In the UK, she founded the first ever Early Modern Scholars of Colour network.

She also spearheaded and now serves as Co-Director of the Shakespeare Centre London, a major research partnership between Shakespeare’s Globe and King’s College London. 

“After twenty years at Shakespeare’s Globe developing a scholarly profile while leading research, education, collections and public programming, this role is the natural next step on my lifelong journey with Shakespeare,” Karim-Cooper said. “I am truly honored to uphold its founding mission while forging new ways to demonstrate how Shakespeare’s work speaks to our moment.