Robert Tignor, a member of Princeton’s history faculty for more than four decades and department chair for 14 years, died Dec. 9 at age 89. Tignor’s teaching, research, and writing explored the colonial and post-colonial histories of Egypt, Kenya, and other parts of the Middle East and Africa. He directed the Program in African Studies for nearly a decade and, as history department chair, broadened Princeton’s course offerings in international studies. Tignor also chronicled the work of colleague and Nobel laureate W. Arthur Lewis in a 2006 book that examined Lewis’ foundational role in development economics.
Russell Banks, a novelist who taught creative writing at Princeton for nearly two decades, died Jan. 7 at age 82. A two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, Banks was known for writing fiction with working-class themes. Two of his novels, Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter, were adapted for film, and both earned Oscar nominations in 1998. After the awards ceremony, Banks told The Vancouver Sun that a writer at the Oscars was like a human on Mars but added, “And yet, who could turn down a trip to Mars?”