Associate Professor of English, African American, and American Studies
Director, Summer Institute for Literary and Cultural Studies (SILCS)
Primarily a scholar of African American literature and culture, I examine how a range of writers employ literature to represent meaning-making in African American experience and how the making and operation of literary traditions constitute key sites of African American cultural production. Building on several conference presentations and chapters in two edited volumes, my current research examines the Harlem Renaissance’s artist-audience discourse and collaborations between African American writers and other artists.
Ph.D., University of Michigan
M.A., Temple University
B.A., Florida State University
In addition to completing my manuscript, "The New Negro is Reading": Black Writers on the Harlem Renaissance's Other Literary Audience, I am also re-reading the life and words of one of the 20th century's most important writers--James Baldwin. I first read Baldwin seriously during my undergraduate years . . . Another Country just left me overwhelmed with its honesty and vision of a complex, interracial America. Now, I am considering Baldwin the man as much as his work. In doing so, I examine how Baldwin's individual mastery and artistic collaborations complemented one another. I've also been writing a biographical reflection on Baldwin's life and those of three of his contemporaries, Buford Delaney, Richard Bruce Nugent, and Bayard Rustin. But all of this work on Baldwin began with a book chapter that I just completed that reads two speeches by Barack Obama and Eric Holder as echoing Baldwin's presence during the Civil Rights era, especially his advocacy of racial dialogue.
"The (New?) 'Rap on Race': Historicizing Calls for Racial Dialogue in the Early Years of Barak Obama's Presidency" in Reading African American Experiences in the Obama Era: Theory, Advocacy, Activism (New York: Peter Lang, 2012).
"Between Black Gay Men: Artistic Collaboration and the Harlem Renaissance in Brother to Brother" in The Harlem Renaissance Revisited: Politics, Arts and Letters (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010).
Review, Founding Fictions of the Dutch Caribbean: Cola Debrot's "My Black Sister" and Boeli van Leeuwen's A Stranger on Earth, translated by Olga E. Roger and Joesph O. Aimone, Wadabagei: A Journal of the Caribbean and Its Diasporas v11.2 (2008).
Review, They Tell Me of a Home, College Language Association Journal (March 2008).
20th century American literature, its criticism, and its histories:
- English 401 Senior Seminar, "Collaborations in 20th Century African American Literature and Culture" (fall 2006); "Harlem Renaissance as a Usable Past" (fall 2007).
- English 349 Harlem Renaissance and Modernity
- English 347 Contemporary African American Fiction.
- English 290 Approaches to Literature and Culture.
- English 256 Cultural Diversity in US Fiction since 1945.
- English 209 African American Literature and Culture.
- English 101 College Writing, "Writing about Black Popular Culture" (fall 2003, spring 2004); "Writing about College" (fall 2004); "Writing about HOUSE Music" (fall 2005, spring 2007); "Writing about Rivalry" (fall 2007); "Writing about the 'Rap on Race'" (spring and fall 2010).
- First Year Seminar "'Reading' a Renaissance."
Work In Progress
"Bearing the Weight of Inheritance in Topdog/Underdog and A Raisin in the Sun" (article under review)
"The New Negro Is Reading": Black Writers on the Harlem Renaissance's Other Literary Audience (book manuscript in progress)
"Embodied Memorials: James Baldwin, Richard Bruce Nugent, and Bayard Rustin" (article in progress)
Co-director (with former Assoc. Dean of Students Claudia Bell), Wheaton College production of Ntozake Shange's for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf (2004).
Seth Cosimini (English), "Building New Motherships: Artistry, Science Fiction, and the Hip Hop Concept Album"; director.
Lauren Provost (English), "Postcolonialism and Anglo-Saxon Literature: A Dialogue" (spring 2010); reader.
William Levenson (American Studies), "Fate, Faulkner, and the Fallen South: The Burden of History in Yoknapatawpha County"; reader.
Adara Meyers (English), "Emily Eden, Mary Carpenter, and the Gendered Mechanisms of Empire" (spring 2008); reader.
Ashley Smith (Anthropology), "'How Indian Are You Anyway?': The Abenaki of the Northeast and the 'Indian Problem" for the 21st Century" (spring 2008); reader.
Alexandre Asancheyev (English), "Social death and civil rights: Theorizing three black subjects" (fall 2004); director.
Martin Chang, "Cane's Canonical Status" (spring 2011); Christopher Hank, "'History' in 20th Century American Fiction"(spring 2007); Timothy Johnson, "Critical Pedagogy" (spring 2007); Ashley Smith, "A Canon of Native American Fiction" (spring 2007); Melissa Lozano, "Miami"s Latinidad" (fall 2006); Ryann Galloway, "Black Women Directing Arts Institutions" (spring 2005); Sean Kelly, "American Men Writing Memoir"(spring 2004).