Professor; Co-Director, Civil Rights Digital Library Initiative
Park Hall 129

I earned an M.A. and Ph.D. from Emory University. I held a General Sandy Beaver Teaching Professorship (2005-08), and I am a very recent recipient of the Martha Munn Bedingfield Excellence in Teaching Award from the Department of English (2014).  I have taught courses in African American and Multicultural American Literature at the University of Georgia for twenty-three years, from First-Year Odyssey and Honors seminars to large undergraduate lecture sessions to graduate classes serving M.A. and PhD students. 

In 2012 I was named the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Society and Culture at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  My fourth scholarly book is a single-authored study titled Love, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery: William and Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory, which was published by the University of Georgia Press in May 2015. My three previous books are: Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem: African American Literature and Culture, 1877-1919 (New York University Press, 2006), a collection of fifteen original essays co-edited with Professor Caroline Gebhard of Tuskegee University; a teaching edition of the 1860 memoir Running 1,000 Miles for Freedom: The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery (University of Georgia Press, 1999); and another collection of original essays, co-edited with Suzanne Miller, titled Multicultural Literature and Literacies: Making Space for Difference (State University of New York Press, Series on Literature, Culture, and Learning, 1993). I am working on a fifth book and sixth book.  One is an annotated edition of the memoir Twice Sold, Twice Ransomed (1926) by the African American evangelist couple Emma and Lloyd P. Ray, which has been approved for publication in West Virginia University Press's series called Regenerations: African American Literature and Culture, co-edited by the distinguished professors John Ernest and Joycelyn Moody. The other is a collection of original scholarly essays on African American print production from 1880-1900, for the new Cambridge University Press series titled African American Literature in Transition, which I am co-editing with my longtime collaborator Caroline Gebhard.

In addition, I have published scores of essays, most recently appearing in the following peer-reviewed books and journal: The Cambridge Companion to  the Literature of American Civil Rights (2015), The Oxford Handbook of the African American Slave Narrative (2014), Protest and Propaganda: W. E. B. Du Bois, The Crisis, and American History (Missouri, 2014), MELUS 38.1: "Cross-Racial and Cross-Ethnic Collaboration and Scholarship" (Oxford, Spring 2013), Sapphire's Literary Breakthrough: Erotic Literacies, Feminist Pedagogies, Environmental Justice Perspectives (Palgrave, 2012), Gender and Lynching: The Politics of Memory (Palgrave, 2011), and  The Cambridge History of the American Novel (2011). 

My national leadership has included service as Co-Chair of the Modern Language Association's Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession, Chair of the Women's Committee of the American Studies Association, Advisory Board Member and Consultant Reader for the Society for the Study of American Women Writers, and Editor and Co-Founder with Layli Phillips Maparyan of Womanist Theory and Research, formerly The Womanist, which was supported by a Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowship.  In 1999 I created the listserve, MISIS-L: Multicultural Studies in the American South, which is still active after sixteen years.  

Currently, I am a Co-Director of the Civil Rights Digital Library Initiative (CRDL), initially funded by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  Since 2006 I have supervised graduate students and undergraduates to conduct research and write for the CRDL website entitled Freedom on Film: Civil Rights in Georgia, to publishing and present jointly authored scholarly essays on the long Civil Rights Movement, and to conduct research and write about distinguished African Americans from Georgia such as the writer-filmmaker Joseph Richardson Jones (1900-1948) and composer Robert Allen "Bob" Cole (1868-1911) .  We are interviewed in the two-hour documentary How We Got Over (2009), hosted by Andrew Young, former U.N. Ambassador and Mayor of Atlanta.  We earned an EMMY for this program, in the category of Television Crafts Achievement Excellence: Technical Achievement, from the Southeast Regional Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (2010).  In 2008 we earned the Award for Excellence in Archival Program Development from the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board.  In 2010 we earned a national award, the Helen and Martin Schwartz Prize for Public Humanities Programs, and in 2011, an Award for Excellence in Research Using the Holdings of an Archives from the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board.  

My specific areas of research interest are nineteenth- and early twentieth-century African American literature, early African American print culture, the literature and film of the Civil Rights Movement, multiplatform storytelling and digital humanities archives, project- and place-based learning, and contemporary Black feminist/Womanist literature.   


Office hours:

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My Research Areas and Approaches